9 months ago
By Joan Torres

The wait for the self-driving future is coming to an end. The earliest real-world applications of autonomous vehicles will arrive in 2018.

Starting in Phoenix this year, a small number of commuters will be riding in driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans as part of a trial conducted by Waymo, the self-driving car unit owned by Google’s parent company. For the first time, ordinary people just trying to get to work will be interacting with autonomous vehicles. Waymo has promised to broaden the test to a wider market soon.

Other major players will spend this year preparing for the imminent introduction of driverless vehicles. By 2019, General Motor Co. expects to deploy electric Chevy Bolt robot taxis in big U.S. cities. Uber Technologies Inc. has also pledged to launch a fleet of self-driving Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles in that time frame. Tesla Inc. missed a self-imposed deadline for a coast-to-coast driverless excursion by the end of 2017, but Chief Executive Officer Elon Mu...

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