While Android users have been able to use smartphones to hail an autonomous ride from Waymo since April of 2019, iPhone users have been forced to take an inconvenient visit to the company’s website to get a link to download the app.
- Apple smartphone users can now sign up to participate in Waymo’s programs through an app instead of having to detour through the internet.
- By allowing more people easy access to experience self-driving cars, Waymo helps create a positive public perception for autonomous technology.
As reported by Wired, Apple devotees got their Waymo app last December. Now they can download it and sign up to take part in Waymo’s pilot programs from their smartphone. Wired notes, just because you have the app on your phone doesn’t guarantee a ride, but it does get you on a waitlist.
The Waymo Firefly earned the title of first fully self-driving car on public roads. (Photo: Waymo)
Waymo wants your feedback
Those lucky enough to get chosen will probably start off in Waymo’s early rider program, the place where it tests new features such as connecting your phone wirelessly in the car. Participants are required to provide feedback and sign a non-disclosure agreement. If you graduate, Waymo will transition you into Waymo One, where you are entitled to invite a guest to accompany you on the ride.
Right now, the program is only open to Arizona residents, and operates within a territory that includes parts of Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. The cars run 24/7 and just like Uber, riders pay for the ride.
Although other companies are developing autonomous cars, Waymo was the first to test one in the wild. Back in 2015, it achieved the world’s first fully self-driving ride on public roads in Austin, Texas. The car, called the Firefly, didn’t have a steering wheel or pedals – and the passenger was legally blind!
WHY THIS MATTERS
Many people are skeptical about self-driving cars. By allowing the public to experience them in real-world conditions, Waymo is demonstrating autonomous technology works and can be trusted.