Waze has begun real-world testing of their carpooling application. Called Waze Rider, the app allows for users to hitch a ride with driver headed the same direction.
The company is currently testing the app with select companies in the San Francisco Bay Area with over 25,000 people using Waze Rider. Initial testing was done with Google, owners of the navigation app, along with Adobe, UCSF and Walmart's Global eCommerce division. Those who want to be part of Waze Rider testing may also sign up through Waze's website.
Once officially launched, Waze Rider works by connects riders and drivers with nearly identical commutes based on their home and work addresses. The platform then connects carpool partners from the same local community which, according to Waze, makes carpooling with neighbors and colleagues much easier. As for payment, riders and drivers share the cost of gas for the trip. Ride payment is set in advance and money is transferred from riders to drivers automatically.
This is Alphabet's (Google parent company) first time entering the car-sharing service business. Waze Rider is similar to other ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft but specially catered for each rider and driver instead of drivers looking around for a fare. With the tech giant also investing in autonomous driving technologies, Waze Rider may eventually be incorporated in their self driving cars. This should send shivers down the spines of the two largest ride sharing service provides.
While Alphabet's Google Ventures subsidiary invested $250 million in Uber in 2013 which also included adding prompts to book rides via the service within Google Maps. The tech giant also has a board seat in Uber held by David Drummond, its Senior Vice President for Corporate Development. Uber has been developing its own mapping and driverless-car tech which could possibly compete with Alphabet's own development.