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Waymo’s robotaxi service is now available to tens of thousands of people in San Francisco

Photo by AFP / AFP TV / AFP via Getty Images

Waymo is opening up its robotaxi service in San Francisco to tens of thousands of people across 47 square miles of the city — a significant expansion of the company’s driverless ridehail operations.

Last August, Waymo and its driverless rivals won approval from California regulators to operate their commercial service 24/7. The vote was a significant win for the tech industry, which has been battling criticism that its robot cars occasionally obstruct emergency vehicles and cause traffic jams.

Growing the number of people who want to pay Waymo for trips is incredibly important for the company, which spent at least $1.1 billion on autonomous vehicles between 2009 and 2015 — a figure that has assuredly grown exponentially in the…

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