The Waymo Early Riders program is giving people in Arizona the chance to test the company's fleet of self-driving cars for free. Those living in the Phoenix metropolitan area are the only ones eligible for the program. If selected participants will be allowed to (and encouraged to) make use of the company's self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Lexus RX450h SUV. Waymo has already selected a handful of people for the program, which include couples and a family with multiple children.
The Waymo Early Riders initiative is unique in that it is bringing autonomous car beta testing to the public. Very few companies, with the exception of Uber, have done this. The reason is simple: You don't want to poison the well of public opinion with a buggy beta product. The launch of the Waymo Early Riders program could mean that the company is farther along than previously thought.