Autonomous Car: Five Services Already Open to the Public

Autonomous vehicles are designed to transport people or goods without the need for human collaboration, being guided by sensors and artificial intelligence. Although it may seem futuristic, companies in the automotive industry such as Ford and Toyota are already investing heavily in vehicles of this type. Some services with this technology are already available to the public.

Although it is a little distant in some parts of the world, it is already possible in some countries, for example, to take a bus without a driver. Techidence has prepared five services with autonomous cars already open to the public.

1. Walmart Delivery

Ford Walmart

Ford, in partnership with Walmart, has launched a delivery service using autonomous vehicles in Miami, Austin, and Washington, USA. Still, in the testing phase, it is available for three of the chain’s units, but the number is expected to increase. The expectation is to expand the service in the future to large urban conglomerates, reducing costs for the company and allowing more delivery options for customers.

The autonomous driving technology was developed by Argo AI. Founded in 2015 by former Google and Uber employees, the company produces both the software and hardware for autonomous vehicles.

2. Public Transportation

Mobility Forus

In Norway, the company Mobility Forus provides free transport service in the cities of Koppelen and Svanholmen via small, fully autonomous electric buses. Due to the country’s legislation, an operator from the company is present inside the vehicle during the entire trip. To use the transport, there is no need to book, just wait at one of the six points available.

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The Norwegian company aims, with the help of autonomous technology, to make transportation more accessible, sustainable, and intelligent. The service, however, takes place in a small space, and the buses run at a maximum of 20 kilometers per hour, due to the country’s rules. However, the expectation is that longer routes will be possible in the future.

3. Robotaxi in Germany

Moovit

In September 2021 Mobileye, an Intel group company, announced the deployment of level 4 autonomous cars, i.e. without drivers, as an app-based transportation service. In partnership with Sixt SE (which owns the Moovit brand), the vehicles began rolling through the streets of Munich.

Among the reasons for choosing the German country to host the project is that Germany is the cradle of motoring, and it is only right that it is also where cars will take the next step technologically. In addition, the country was the first in the world to authorize the development of Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

4. Ice-cold transportation

Toyota Proace

The same Norwegian company we mentioned has developed a solution for the cold months. During this period, walking a few hundred meters is not an easy task, and with this in mind, Mobility Forus has been running a transport service in the city of Bodø since February this year – using Toyota Proace autonomous vehicles.

This is the longest snow-weather route using autonomous vehicles in the world, with a length of 3.6 km. The route links the city’s central terminal with Nordland Hospital, fulfilling a long-standing request from the city’s residents. The company’s autonomous transportation service complements the public transportation that already exists in the region.

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5. Tour without a driver

Waymo

If you live in San Francisco in the United States, then you can use Waymo’s service to get around in an autonomous car. All you need to do is download the Waymo One mobile application. The system is in its final testing phase and there is no charge for the rides, as long as you agree to share your experience with the company to improve the service.

In the testing period, the ride is done under the supervision of a real driver inside the car. However, the tendency is to have a 100% autonomous service soon.

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