NEW YORK -- Waymo is planning to launch the world's first commercial robotaxi service in early December, a person familiar with the plans told Bloomberg.
The service will operate under an entirely new brand and compete directly with Uber and Lyft.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet, is keeping the new name a closely guarded secret until the formal announcement, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven't been made public.
"Waymo has been working on self-driving technology for nearly a decade, with safety at the core of everything we do," the company said in an emailed statement.
A Waymo spokesperson declined to comment on the name of the new service or timing of the launch.
It's a big milestone for self-driving cars, but it will not exactly be a "flip-the-switch" moment. Waymo is not planning a splashy media event, and the service will not be appearing in an app store anytime soon, according to the person familiar with the program. Instead, things will start small, perhaps dozens or hundreds of riders in the suburbs around Phoenix, covering about 100 square miles.