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You can now test drive Google’s self-driving cars

Waymo Self-Driving Car Public Test

The day some of you have been waiting for is finally here: you can now test drive Google’s self-driving cars. Before you get too excited though, you should know that you don’t get to keep the car, and that the pilot program is only available in Pheonix, Arizona.

Waymo, which is what Google’s self-driving car division is now known as, has offered test driving opportunities to some residents in the Phoenix area. But the company is now opening the program to the public, which means anyone can apply to test out one of the company’s futuristic cars.

In a blog post, Waymo explained that a handful of Phoenix residents have been testing the self-driving car for the past month, and that the program is now expanding to cover more people. “Over the course of this trial, we’ll be accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs who want to ride in and give feedback about Waymo’s self-driving cars,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.

Waymo also announced that it’s adding some 500 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its fleet, on top of the existing 100 models that it began testing on public roads earlier this year. The company says that while it accumulated millions of miles of self-driving experience so far, it wants to learn even more about the main beneficiary of the technology, the human inside the vehicle.

“Now, with this program, we’re turning our attention to the people who will benefit from this technology,” the CEO said. “We’ll learn things like where people want to go in a self-driving car, how they communicate with our vehicles, and what information and controls they want to see inside.”

A video telling the story of some of the first Waymo testers is embedded below.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.