Waymo is now accepting early rider applications for its self-driving cars

In the same week Uber is talking flying cars and a Google's co-founder is showing off his own, Alphabet's Waymo is now accepting applications for its self-driving cars early rider program.

Waymo began as Google's self-driving car project but was spun out as its own company under Alphabet, Google's parent company. Now, Waymo is operating an early rider program in Phoenix, Arizona, letting regular folks sign up to use the company's minivans for their transportation needs.

While having a self-driving car at your beck and call sounds awesome – Waymo is encouraging riders to take as many trips as possible – Waymo is getting something out of the program, too. 

The company is looking to gather information that will shape how its cars work, including where people like to travel in a self-driving car, how they interact with the vehicles and what controls and information they want displayed inside the vehicles.

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