Waymo unveils new features in fully autonomous ride-hailing service

2:42 PM, Mar 25, 2021
Waymo March.jpg

Waymo’s fully autonomous ride-hailing service, Waymo One, just got a lot cooler with recent service upgrades and in-car features.

“We’re always looking at ways we can enhance the rider experience through various features in the app and within the car itself,” said Waymo Product Manager Ryan Hendrickson.

Hendrickson’s team at Waymo introduced new features to its ride-hailing service based on the feedback it has received from users. Waymo One has operated in the Phoenix East Valley since 2018 and recently made its service available to the public with no autonomous specialists in the car when it arrives to pick up the passenger.

Hendrickson said a few updates riders can expect to see in Waymo One include a redesign of the in-car passenger screen, a unique feature that allows riders to easily follow their trip’s progress along the route; customizable dashboard ID for easier visual recognition of a hailed vehicle; new options for personalizing in-car audio; and the ability to add multiple stops on a single trip.

New in-car displays

New in-car displays

The in-car screens are the main source of information for riders in Waymo One vehicles, sharing what the Waymo Driver – the name Waymo uses for its fully autonomous driving systems – is thinking and seeing. The in-car screens give riders an added layer of comfort, as it lets them know how the technology is navigating the world.

“These screens have evolved over the last few years and we’re always incrementally working to make them more flexible and intuitive,” Hendrickson said.

Car ID: Your name here

Car ID: Your name here

A new Waymo One feature will now allow riders to choose a unique two-letter ID and color scheme to be shown on their car’s dashboard, visible through the windshield, at pickup to help them more easily identify which Waymo vehicle is theirs.

“In my app, I could select my initials, in my case ‘RH,’ and every time I hail a Waymo ride, the car I get will display those initials through a screen placed on the dash,” Hendrickson said. “This is especially helpful at night when it’s dark outside or when riders may be getting picked up in a busy area where there could be multiple cars waiting.”

Your ride, your playlist

Your ride, your playlist

Waymo’s team has learned that riders love to listen to music while riding with the Waymo Driver, and now riders will be able to play their own audio – anything from podcasts to audio books and music streaming services – inside the vehicle.

“This is a really exciting feature that gives our riders even more freedom and personalization options as they ride with Waymo,” Hendrickson said.

One journey, multiple stops

One journey, multiple stops

Waymo consistently heard from riders that they would love to be able to make multiple stops during their trips for things like running errands and dropping kids off at school, to name a few. Based on this feedback, Waymo is launching a multi-stop feature that allows riders to plan trips that may include multiple destinations with varying times between each stop.

“This is extremely valuable not only in a place like Phoenix, where many riders are used to relying on having their own personal car for the duration of their errands, but also in other more urban cities, where residents regularly use ride-hailing services to run errands and do similar activities,” Hendrickson said.

Start riding anytime

Those in the Phoenix East Valley who are interested in experiencing Waymo One can download the Waymo One app in the App Store or Google Play, create an account, and start riding anytime.

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