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More driverless taxies coming to Austin in the fall

The cars will primarily drive around Downtown Austin, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin and Hyde Park.

AUSTIN, Texas — Heads up, Austin drivers: More driverless vehicles will soon be hitting the streets.

Waymo, the autonomous driving tech subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, announced it will be expanding its fleet to Austin starting in the fall.

Austin will be the fourth major U.S. city Waymo will operate in. The company already has autonomous fleets in Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The cars will primarily drive around Downtown Austin, as well as Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin and Hyde Park. It is unclear if those will be the only areas the vehicles will travel within, or if they will also operate in other areas of Austin on a more minimal basis.

“Austin is one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in the country, and we’ve found that the Waymo Driver is adapting to its complex cityscape incredibly quickly. Autonomous vehicles make transportation safer, greener and more accessible, and we can’t wait for Austinites to experience these benefits for themselves,” Saswat Panigrahi, Waymo's chief product officer, said in a Thursday news release.

Waymo will be the third company to launch driverless cars in Austin. Cruise LLC began operating in the City last fall, while Volkswagen announced it would begin testing its fleet in July, with a plan to allow 10 cars onto Austin streets by the end of 2023.

However, the vehicles have come under some criticism, as an incident in January and subsequent incidents have highlighted their struggles navigating the more complex roadways in Austin.

People interested in riding in one of Waymo's driverless taxies can sign up for the waitlist.

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown.

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