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Cool tech, crazy turns: A reporter's take on driverless cars

Waymo recently launched the United States' first large-scale ride-hailing service with autonomous vehicles that don’t have human backup drivers. AP photo.
Posted at 11:25 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 14:25:00-04

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — Waymo recently launched the United States' first large-scale ride-hailing service with autonomous vehicles that don’t have human backup drivers.

The ride-hailing program in suburban Phoenix serves hundreds of passengers each week, and offers prices in line with Uber and Lyft. The minivans are equipped with remote-sensing technology and can detect people, vehicles and other objects from several hundred yards away.

But Waymo and other developers face a broad challenge in trying to bring autonomous cars to the masses: adapting the technology to human behavior, and getting riders to feel at ease in a vehicle without a person behind the wheel.