One year ago, Waymo became the first and only company in the world to launch a public self-driving ride-hailing service. We now have thousands of people using it in their everyday lives across the Metro Phoenix area and have enjoyed seeing how they rely on the Waymo Driver to get them where they need to be, whether that’s work, the grocery store, or a fun night out.

To mark this milestone, we want to take a moment to reflect on our first year of Waymo One, share some news around our app, and look ahead to what’s to come for the service in 2020 and beyond.

Waymo One year in review

In the last year, we’ve accomplished a lot and learned even more. Through customer surveys and feedback, we hear a lot about what our riders expect from self-driving technology and how we can continue to improve our service to meet those expectations.

Here are 3 things we’ve learned from our Waymo One riders this year:

> Where they’re going: The majority of Waymo One rides happen in the late afternoon into the evening, and our riders are using the service to do everything from commuting to work and school to running errands and visiting family and friends. Other common Waymo One use cases include going out on a date night, shopping at the local mall, or getting to the gym.

> Why they love using it: Not only do our riders love playing a role in shaping self-driving technology, contributing to a safer future, and the consistency of the Waymo One experience, they also enjoy the fun features we have in our car. In the past year, we’ve added things like: music so riders can rock out, dark mode to make screens dimmer at night, a zoom feature so riders can take a closer look on the screen at what the car is seeing, and a map view that allows riders to see where they are along their route. There are also functional features our riders like, including how easy it is to connect with Rider Support in the car or through their app.

> How we can improve the rider experience: One area we’ve dedicated a lot of time to improving this past year has been pickups and dropoffs. Since there is no driver to call, text, or wave to, we have to ensure our pickup and dropoff locations are precise and well-communicated to riders. Some ways we’ve continued to make this experience even smoother over the past year include making it easier to fine-tune your pickups and dropoffs in the app and improving our recommended pickup and dropoff spots.

Sign up to ride with your iPhone

The Waymo app is now available on the App Store, making it easier to sign up to ride in one of our fully self-driving cars. All U.S. iPhone users can search and download the Waymo app from the App Store and join the waitlist to ride. Once accepted from our waitlist, those located in our Metro Phoenix service area will be able to hail a Waymo ride around town. Riders will continue to be invited to join our early rider program first before moving into Waymo One.

Interested riders can also visit our website (www.waymo.com) to sign up, and Android users can download the app from Google Play, which we launched back in April, to sign up to ride with us.

This year, we’ve added a number of new features to the Waymo app to better serve our riders. For example, we simplified our ordering flow to make it faster and easier to request rides. We also added an option to honk the car’s horn from the app, which provides another way for riders (including those with low vision) to find their car at pickup.

The road ahead for Waymo One

We’ve accomplished a lot this past year, but we’re never finished learning. We’ll continue to improve and expand our product offering in 2020 by welcoming more members of the public into Waymo One, introducing new features and capabilities into the service to make the experience even more delightful for our riders, and continuing to responsibly scale our fully driverless operations in our early rider program and begin offering that experience to more of our riders.

Finally, we want to thank our incredible community of riders and supporters for joining us on this journey to bring self-driving technology to the world. We can’t wait to see where we go together next year and beyond.

Author: Dan Chu, Waymo - Chief Product Officer