The company Waymo, a subsidiary of Google-Alphabet, will offer an expanded range of its robotaxis service, self-driving cars without a driver, in Phoenix, Arizona.

"We expect this service to be very popular," said boss John Krafcik.

One more step into the future: Waymo is preparing to offer its robotaxis service, autonomous driverless cars, more widely in Phoenix (Arizona), where the company has already been testing its industry-leading vehicles since 2017.

The number of races offered without a person at the front will initially be limited, but "in the near future, 100% of our races will be completely driverless", announced John Krafcik, the boss of the Alphabet subsidiary (parent company from Google), in a statement Thursday.

A 12 hectare covered area

An increasing number of passengers will be able to order a car on the Waymo app, see it arrive without a driver, and thus travel in an area of ​​12 hectares in Phoenix.

"We expect this service to be very popular, and we appreciate our users' patience as we increase the availability of our vehicles," said John Krafcik.

Until now, this possibility was reserved for a limited number of people, who had signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

And yet, only 5 to 10% of the races were offered to them completely independently.

From Thursday, users of Waymo One, its shopping program with an operator behind the wheel, now have access to driverless taxis.

A step ahead

Waymo currently has a few thousand monthly passengers, under NDA or Waymo One.

But within a few weeks, the general public will also be able to download the application and travel in cars that drive themselves.

The dream - or nightmare - thus takes shape little by little, starting with suitable places, with smooth and straight roads, a lot of visibility, a low risk of bad weather and favorable authorities.

Waymo has gained a leg up on other companies in the race, such as Tesla and Uber.

An Uber self-driving car was involved in a fatal crash in March 2018, forcing most groups involved in the technology to reassess their safety systems.