If you’re in Texas, you could see a self-driving car from Waymo on the road soon.
In a blog post, the company announced that will start operating in Austin, Texas again. Waymo has already been in Austin before when Steve Mahan became the first person to ride in an autonomous vehicle back in 2015. Today, the company announced that it is coming back to bring its fully autonomous fleet to the city.
Waymo says that it will be deploying its fifth-generation driver, which uses the Jaguar I-PACE platform, in many areas around the city including “central and East Austin, including downtown, Rainey Street, Clarksville, Bouldin Creek, the Market District, Holly, and the Capitol.”
Nathaniel Fairfield, a software engineer at Waymo, says that Austin is an ideal city for testing the fleet due to it being similar to San Fransisco and Pheonix where the company’s fleet is currently deployed.
“A lot of the experiences you encounter on Austin’s roads are useful for what we’re already doing in San Francisco and Phoenix. All three are fast-changing cities with busy downtowns that host a ton of live events. But there’s also a uniquely Austin flavor—not just the pedicabs, or the bats and all the squirrels, but the pedestrian traffic on The Drag, navigating weekend traffic around Sixth Street, or the way the road layouts change between neighborhoods.”
Waymo says that it will begin testing its fleet in Austin “in the coming months.” The announcement comes as the company also revealed it will retire its hybrid fleet and switch completely to Jaguar’s electric vehicle.
As Waymo’s self-driving cars expand to Austin, Tesla continues to face a recall due to crash concerns with its Full Self-Driving Beta. The company has paused the installation of the beta for new users until it releases a new version to address the issues.
Update on March 31, 2023, at 3:16 PM EST: Updated the story to clarify that Waymo is testing its fleet in Austin and will not yet provide rides for customers.