Waymo Racks Up 8 Million Autonomous Miles On US Roads As It Readies Commercial Ride Hailing Service

Waymo's autonomous vehicle fleet has been piling on the miles ever since the program was first initiated by Google back in 2009. According to the company, its cumulative total for miles driven has swollen to 8 million to date.

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To put that figure in perspective, it took six years from the time the Google's first autonomous vehicles took to the road until it crossed the one million threshold. The two million mile mark was reached just over a year later the miles have been racking up ever since. Remarkably, Waymo's miles-driven tally has was at "just" 5 million in February of this year.

You can chalk up Waymo's rapidly advancing autonomous odometer and experience in the field to the fact that it has over 600 vehicles in its current fleet. These consist mainly of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans that can shuttle around a whole family if need be. Waymo's fleet is expected to grow significantly as the company announced back in May that it has secured a deal with Fiat-Chrysler to obtain another 62,000 minivans.

While the Pacifica is a mere plebeian people mover, Waymo has also contracted with Jaguar to add 20,000 all-electric I-Pace self-driving crossovers to its fleet as well. 

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"Imagine a world where you can take a self-driving minivan to the baseball game with family, and a self-driving I-PACE home after a night out — in both cases, a car perfectly suited for your needs," said the Waymo Team back in late March. "That’s the world we’re building."

With Uber's self-driving operations taking a serious blow after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian, Waymo has largely stayed out of the [negative] spotlight due to its superior obstacle avoidance technology and experience. Despite the fact that Waymo's fleet is far larger than any other competitor in the field, the company has only minor fender benders on its rap sheet -- most of which were of no fault its own.

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Waymo eventually plans to use its growing autonomous vehicle fleet to launch a commercial ride hailing service. It could happen as early as later this year according to reports. The company also wants to eventually apply the lessons that it has learned to transform other industries such as public transportation and trucking (logistics).