At Voyage, we’re working to bring about a world where anyone, anywhere can summon a totally driverless and extremely affordable car to their doorstep. Today marks a big step towards accomplishing that mission: We have deployed our first self-driving taxi service at The Villages, a retirement community in San Jose, CA.

This amazing community has over 4,000 residents, 15 miles of challenging road, and tons of points of interest. Residents can summon one of three Voyage self-driving cars, and travel effortlessly and autonomously around the community.

You can read an in-depth article about our deployment in The New York Times, and watch our video below to meet some of our first passengers.

The Villages, San Jose

Voyage brings communities closer with self-driving cars. We connect every home to every point of interest in a community at the touch of a button. Think restaurants, libraries, community centers, fitness classes, places of worship, and much more.

Our communities are wonderful places, but wherever you have roadway, chaos awaits! The Villages is no exception, with numerous intersections, crosswalks, lanes, roundabouts, construction, pedestrians, U-turns, one-way streets, animals, cars, and much more. By deploying in such a complex community and driving many miles within it each day, we are rapidly learning and iterating on our self-driving car.

“I like that. We made a good stop there,” Ms. Jackson said. “I stop for them. They say we don’t have to, but I do.”

Meet Bev

Best of all, by deploying in communities like The Villages, we also get to solve real problems for over 4,000 people, like Beverly Clifford. Bev was Voyage’s very first passenger, and we have been incredibly lucky to hear her inspiring story. As a blind resident of The Villages, Bev encounters daily friction with transportation. To get around, Bev relies heavily on her husband and their car, so if her husband isn’t free, neither is Bev. With Voyage’s Voiceover-enabled iPhone app, Bev can now summon a self-driving taxi to her doorstep and travel freely in the community.

“I have driven with sighted people that probably do a worse job than a self-driving car. I am a science fiction reader, I really believe this is coming, and will be safe.” – Bev Clifford

We are so grateful to have the opportunity to learn from Bev, our inaugural passenger, and can’t wait to hear from our future passengers in communities all around the world.

Big Things Start Small

Today, Voyage communities are retirement and residential communities, but it won’t be long until we connect the ultimate community: cities. We believe there’s a clear path for Voyage to power an ultra low-cost transportation network, and that potential for positive change is why our team is so excited to come to work everyday.

Deploying in a small community is the fastest way to deliver truly driverless cars to the largest communities on the planet. By starting small, we can iterate and deliver on a product with a speed and focus that we just couldn’t do on public streets. This is how great products are built. Facebook famously refined their product in a small market (college students), enabling them to move faster than any of their competition before taking over the world.

Though we have our first deployment under our belt, we still have an immense number of challenges ahead of us at both The Villages and future communities. But I know we have the best possible team to overcome each and every one of them. Our product-oriented and algorithm-obsessed team of Voyagers are working like crazy to bring extremely affordable transportation to the world. We can’t wait to serve you in a community near you!

“I thought it was great,” Ms. Jackson said. “I wasn’t fearful.”