CHANDLER, AZ — Waymo. Have you taken a ride yet?
The company behind the fully autonomous vehicles has been test-driving people around the Valley for a full year, a significant milestone for the up-and-coming technology.
Sure, some may be hesitant to give autonomous vehicles a try, but ABC15 talked to a mom in Chandler who loves the technology so much that it's now part of her weekly routine.
"When WAYMO started testing around here and we saw these vehicles, I was a tiny bit obsessed I would say," Sophia Lovasz told ABC15's Marc Thompson.
She first tried Waymo in the spring when her own car broke down
"I'm so relaxed in that car, sometimes I take naps," she said with a laugh.
She said she now uses Waymo some three times a week. Sometimes it's to transport her three children to and from their various activities or for her to run errands.
"We take it grocery shopping, to restaurants," she said.
She's been documenting her trips — giving people a first-hand account — by making videos on TikTok or LinkedIn. Once, she went viral with many people asking questions about how the car drives on its own.
There is a "comfort curve," she said, referring to the time it takes to get used to a driverless ride, but she said she got used to it after a few trips.
"I was very surprised at how smooth the entire ride was," she said.
"Our kids love taking the Waymo. It's like being in the belly of a robot. That's what our youngest daughter would say," she said.
For her, Waymo is less expensive than other ride-share services, such as Uber and Lyft. But, she said there are other advantages beyond that.
"It doesn't bring its baggage along with it," she said. "I don't have to worry about it being drunk or high. The car consistently follows traffic rules 100% of the time, and it errors on the side of safety."
So far, her longest trip has been 23 minutes long.
She now wishes that Waymo would expand their service further in the Valley, perhaps to take her from her home in Chandler to her job in Tempe.
"If this could go everywhere we needed it to go, I would not buy another car," she said.
In Phoenix, Waymo has named the project, Waymo 1, and is using the data from trips and rides to improve the car's system for when they eventually expand to more densely populated cities, such as San Francisco, California.
Safety is of the utmost importance, the company said. You can view their safety reports at https://waymo.com/safety.