Waymo removing backup drivers from its autonomous vehicles

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Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid undergoing testing in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Oct 08, 2020 9:34 AM By CATHY BUSSEWITZ AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Waymo is allowing the general public to hitch a ride in its driverless autonomous vehicles in Phoenix, expanding a service it had been quietly offering to a select group of riders for the past year. The service launches to the general public Thursday. The vehicles, which will have no back-up drivers behind the wheel to take over in sticky situations, will serve an area of 50 square miles. There won't be anyone watching remotely who can take over in an emergency and drive the car. Before the coronavirus struck, which reduced demand for rides, Waymo was providing 1,000 to 2,000 rides in autonomous vehicles per week. Most of the rides had a backup driver behind the wheel, but 5% to 10% of the
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