Waymo launches a limited version of driverless ride-hail in Austin this week

The autonomous vehicle company expects to be able to offer driverless rides to the general public by August.


Waymo uses GPS maps and sensor data to operates its vehicles.

Photo via Waymo

Waymo’s driverless cars returned to Austin streets yesterday — sans humans.

The autonomous vehicle company, one of several players using ATX as a testing ground for the futuristic technology, officially opened up driverless rides to Waymo employees Wednesday ahead of launching to the general public later this year.

At that time, Austin will become Waymo’s fourth hub for driverless ride-hail, following similar services in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Of note: Austin was the site for Waymo’s first-ever fully self-driving ride.

Autonomous vehicles — which operate using cameras, radar, GPS, and lidar sensors — are no strangers to Austin roadways: more than a dozen companies have previously operated or plan to operate AVs in ATX.

This includes California-based Cruise, which paused all driverless operations nationwide last fall after an accident with a pedestrian in San Francisco.

Lyft launched autonomous rides in Austin in 2022, and Volkswagen also has plans to bring a self-driving fleet in ATX.

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