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Waymo is expanding the number of its driverless cars in Arizona.

Arizona Republic

PHOENIX – Waymo will allow the general public to download an app and catch a ride in a fully autonomous van — with nobody behind the wheel — in the weeks ahead.

It will be the first time average Janes and Joes can order a ride in the conspicuous Pacifica minivans that buzz around public roads in Chandler, Arizona, and other East Valley cities the way they might use a service like Lyft or Uber.

The launch of this new phase of Waymo’s car service, which begins with a smaller step on Thursday, marks a significant milestone in the company’s march toward offering a fully autonomous ride service.

Waymo, like Google, is a division of California-based Alphabet Inc. The company brought autonomous vehicles to Chandler in 2016 and has incrementally expanded both the area where the