Now you can test out Google's driverless cars as Waymo opens first public trials

Lynsey Barber
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It's full speed ahead for Waymo's public trials (Source: Google)

Google has hit a major milestone in its efforts to bring driverless cars to the roads, opening it's trials to the public for the very first time.

Anyone can now apply for its early rider programme - though the one catch for anyone hoping to get involved is that you'll have to be in Phoenix Arizona.

Waymo, Google's autonomous vehicle tech off-shoot, has called for hundreds of people in the city to put the pedal to the metal so it can gain feedback.

Read more: The UK's driverless car plans just stepped up a gear

"We want as many people as possible to experience our technology, and we want to bring self-driving cars to more communities sooner," said John Krafcik, Waymo's chief executive.

And this isn't just a one-off ride: it wants people to be able to use them on an on-going basis in their daily lives.

"We'll learn things like where people want to go in a self-driving car, how they communicate with our vehicles, and what information and controls they want to see inside."

It will also add another 500 mini vans to its fleet, a six-fold increase Waymo said.

Read more: Look out London! A driverless shuttle has arrived in the capital

Waymo's vehicles have racked up an astonishing 300 years of driving experience in the eight years it's been working on them, making them by far the most experienced of all the companies working on the technology. But this is the first time the public have been invited to take part in giving them a test run.

Many car companies and other tech companies are working on the technology and Waymo is embroiled in a lawsuit against Uber, which it has accused of stealing its intellectual property related to the technology.

In the UK, ambitious plans to get self-driving cars on our roads ramped up a gear, with new government funding going to groups of academics, tech companies and public authorities.

WATCH: Waymo's self-driving car

One lucky family have already been giving Waymo a go for the past month. Here's what they had to say.

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