In 2012, Sergey Brin made a bold prediction. Within five years, Google's co-founder claimed, members of the public would be able to ride in cars that drive themselves. Not everybody took Brin seriously at the time, and not only because he was going through a phase of wearing the peculiar Google Glass headset at every public appearance. Google had been testing driverless cars for just three years, and few knew how much progress the company was making. However, it turns out that Brin's prediction was off by only a year. Last week, Waymo, a subsidiary of the search company's Alphabet parent that was spun off from Google two years ago, launched a commercial driverless taxi service to the public. In an area of Phoenix, Arizona, people can now open an app on their smartphone, select a destination and, within a few minutes, have a driverless car arrive to take them there. The future, it seems, has arrived. Well, not quite. Several important caveats apply. Only a select group of riders - 40...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.