Robotaxi hopefuls work to overcome their rivals’ sins

A dwindling number of self-driving car companies are striving to earn the public’s trust, a challenge complicated by their competitors’ mistakes.

Why it matters: High-profile incidents like the dragging of a pedestrian by a Cruise robotaxi last October have shaken public confidence in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology.

The big picture: The mission hasn’t changed: to make transportation safer and more accessible while reducing congestion and pollution.

Driving the news: Waymo began offering its driverless taxi service to riders in Los Angeles last week, and said it will do the same in Austin, Texas, in the coming months.

As in Phoenix and San Francisco, Waymo is proceeding cautiously, offering the service first to employees, then to select “”early riders”” before opening it to the general public.

What’s next: By the end of 2024..Waymo plans to have public robotaxis running in four major cities.

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