Driverless taxis to be available in Phoenix 'in weeks'

2020/10/12 21:42

Today's Vocabulary

1. intervening (adj)
happening between two times or between other events or activities

2. barriers (n) 
a long pole, fence, wall, or natural feature, such as a mountain or sea that stops  from going somewhere

3. service (n) 
a government system or private organization that is responsible for a particular type of activity, or for providing a particular thing that people need


4. circumstances (n) 
a fact or event that makes a situation the way it is

5. halted (v)  
to (cause to) stop moving or doing something or happening

6. fleet (n)
a number of buses, aircraft, etc. under the control of one person or organization

7. incentive (n)
something that encourages a person to do something

Driverless taxis to be available in Phoenix 'in weeks'

People in Phoenix, Arizona will soon be able to order a driverless taxi, as Google expands its Waymo service. Vehicles with no human driver on board were previously tested by a select group of Waymo customers, before the pandemic halted the service.

The driver-free cars will initially be available only to friends and family of those early Waymo adopters, but will extend to all app users within weeks. The service comes two years later than originally promised.

The cars will be remotely monitored, with vehicle operators intervening in extreme circumstances – such as a road ahead being closed.

Waymo has around 600 cars in its fleet, but it did not say how many of these would operate in the new service.

Before the pandemic, driver-free vehicles provided 5-10% of rides (out of 1,000-2,000 rides per week) in the designated zone around Phoenix. Later this year, the firm hopes to reintroduce rides with in-car vehicle operators, with barriers between the front and rear passenger seat, to ensure they are Covid-safe.

Chris Jones, an automotive analyst at research firm Canalys, said Waymo was currently the clear leader in driverless technology, and now had to persuade people to get in a car without a human driver.

Coronavirus may prove an incentive.

The next stage for the firm will be expanding its services to other cities around the US, he added. Waymo is currently running tests in around 25 locations.


  1. What did you think when you read the headline?
  2. What do you think of the idea of driverless taxis?
  3. Would you feel safe in a self-driving cars?

“Driverless technology offers a promising new option for staying mobile and active in a safe, affordable way.”

Kelsea Morse Manly