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'JJRicks Rides with Waymo': Arizona YouTuber records 70 self-driving car rides

If you’ve noticed a lot more Waymo cars driving around Phoenix lately, you’re not alone.

The autonomous vehicle company is expanding from its east Valley pilot site with plans to offer driverless service in San Francisco as well as, eventually, downtown Phoenix.

The east Valley testing began with humans behind the wheel before evolving to driverless rides in 2020. Then, last month, Waymo expanded fully autonomous rides to San Francisco and said it plans to soon offer service in downtown Phoenix.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to ride in one of these driverless cars, Joel Johnson is something of an expert.

Johnson is an autonomous tech enthusiast and has spent the last year or so riding in and documenting his rides in Waymos in the east Valley.

You might better know him as JJRicks; he has a series of 70 videos now on YouTube called “ JJRicks Rides with Waymo” that feature everything from smooth rides to funny mishaps to taking his mom in a fully self-driving car.

The Show spoke with him about the videos and asked how he’s seen the technology change since he first started riding in Waymos.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.