Waymo halts self-driving car fleet due to coronavirus

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, all Waymo services and testing are on hiatus.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
Waymo One
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Waymo One

Waymo will suspend the majority of its operations that involve the public.


Following news that  Waymo has curtailed its fleet of self-driving car prototypes in California and Arizona, the company has grounded its entire fleet amid the coronavirus outbreak in the US until April 7, Waymo said on Tuesday.

The self-driving division of Alphabet first said on March 17 it would cooperate with all CDC guidelines as governments from the local to federal level work to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes. That meant any Waymo One rides with a human backup driver were no longer possible.

But those part of the early rider program could still hail a self-driving Waymo without any human backup driver. The company began to remove human safety drivers from some of its vehicles late last year. With the latest direction, even Waymo self-driving cars operating without a human backup driver were called back home.

With the totally driverless cars, Waymo hoped to carry out delivery services in the community, but as with many industries, the coronavirus has made operational goals a moving target. The decision also suspended all tests surrounding Waymo's trucking services and prototypes.

Watch this: A ride on public streets in Waymo One

Waymo's autonomous Pacifica cruising through Castle

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First published March 17.