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Editor’s note: Today marks one year since we opened up Waymo One fully autonomous rides to any member of the public in Metro Phoenix. Since then, we’ve served tens of thousands of rider-only trips for thousands of riders, including John, who has taken more than 400 rides over the past year. Not only is this more than any other Waymo One rider has taken, it's also more fully autonomous rides than anyone in the world has ever done! With such an honor, we wanted to talk with him for our latest Why I Ride and hear more about how he feels about Waymo One, with one year and hundreds of trips under his belt.

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When you think about the people behind the Waymo Driver, you might think of the engineers writing the software algorithms or developing our state-of-the-art hardware. But there’s another group that deserves a lot of credit too: our riders.

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The school year is quickly approaching and students will be sitting in a class once again, whether at home or in person. In fact, some students are already back in session! Some classes will completely absorb them in the material and others will have them wondering “when will I ever use this information again?” or “ how will I use this in the real world?” Well, it’s time to put an end to those age-old questions! We talked to three Waymonauts across the company about what foundational knowledge they learned in high school that they still use today at Waymo.

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In 2018, we shared our plans to work with Valley Metro, the Phoenix Metro area’s regional public transportation authority, to explore mobility solutions in a first-of-its-kind study that would use autonomous driving technology to complement the city’s existing transit network.
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Today, we’re excited to share the next step in our journey in the City by the Bay, with the kickoff of our Waymo One Trusted Tester program.

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Here’s our autonomous driving system—the Waymo Driver—in San Francisco earlier this year. It’s the kind of journey we’ve made tens of thousands of times since we first started driving autonomously in the city in 2009. As the Waymo Driver navigates dozens of vehicles and pedestrians, it’s met with a huge variety of other road users—from double-parked vehicles whose riders can hop out at any second, to scooters cutting across traffic even when they have a red light.

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These past few months have been busy for Waymo Via. We’ve been ramping up our testing to help advance our fifth-generation Waymo Driver on Class 8 trucks, hauling freight for carriers’ top customers, and continuing our ongoing work with Daimler Trucks to develop a robust L4 redundant vehicle platform. To help support all of these initiatives, we’re scaling up our operations across Texas, Arizona, and California, and today, we’re sharing a few exciting updates on our progress.

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