Google’s robotic spinoff launches ride-hailing service

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s self-driving car spinoff is finally ready to try to profit from its nearly decade-old technology.

Waymo is introducing a small-scale ride-hailing service in the Phoenix area that will include a human behind the wheel in case the robotic vehicles malfunction.

The service debuts Wednesday and marks a significant milestone for Waymo, which began as a secretive project within Google in 2009. Since then, Waymo’s cars have robotically logged more 10 million miles on public roads in 25 cities in California, Arizona, Washington, Michigan and Georgia while getting into only a few mostly minor accidents.

The company is initially operating the new service cautiously, underscoring the challenges still facing its autonomous vehicles as they navigate around vehicles with human drivers that don’t always follow the same rules as robots.

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