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Alphabet: How Will Waymo’s Self-Driving Taxi Impact Uber?

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Mar. 13 2018, Published 11:39 a.m. ET

Waymo got clearance to roll out driverless cars on the roads

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) autonomous car development company Waymo has finally gotten a green light in Arizona to put its driverless taxis on the streets. Waymo’s self-driving, ride-hailing service will be the first commercial autonomous cab service in the United States, set to launch in Phoenix, Arizona, later in 2018.

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Alphabet and Fiat Chrysler

Waymo has been testing its driverless cars in Phoenix for almost a year, allowing passengers to book vehicles through an app (application) that’s similar to the Uber app. Waymo’s driverless cars have already covered more than 4 million miles. The company initially purchased 600 minivans from Fiat Chrysler to test in five US states, including Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; Detroit, Michigan; and Kirkland, Washington. In January 2018, Waymo extended its deal with Chrysler and purchased thousands of Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans as it plans to bring driverless cars to cities outside the United States.

Pressure on Uber and General Motors

The launch of Waymo’s taxi service would stir up more competition for Uber and Lyft, whose significant stake is with General Motors (GM) in the US ride-hailing market. According to Second Measure, an analytics platform, Uber owns more than 70% of the US ride-hailing space. Waymo’s ride-hailing service could affect Uber’s market share.

Ford (F), Toyota Motor (TM), and General Motors have also been showing an interest in driverless vehicles in the high-growth, ride-hailing market.

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