Waymo is rolling out self-driving vans for the first time without anyone behind the wheel, the company’s next step in its quest to bring automated vehicles to consumers.

Over the next few months, the company, spun off from Google and based in Mountain View, Calif., will offer driverless rides in its souped-up fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans to members of the public.

“What you’re seeing now marks the start of a new phase for Waymo and for the history of this technology,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a speech in Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesday. “Fully self-driving cars are here.”  

Waymo already has been offering rides since April to a group of Phoenix-area residents enrolled in an “early-rider program.” But until now, the cars have had human monitors in the driver’s seat, just like other autonomous test cars driven on public roads by General Motors, Ford, and Uber, among other companies.

In a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Waymo reported that its self-driving cars needed to be “disengaged,” or have a human driver take over, 124 times in 2016. That’s over nearly 636,000 miles of driving. The number of disengagements per 1,000 miles dropped to 0.20 from 0.80 the year before, according to Waymo’s filing.

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Consumer Reports has recommended that testing data be shared with federal regulators, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; state governments that are responsible for safety on the highways; and the public.

“What this means in the bigger picture is self-driving technology is moving really fast,” says William Wallace, a policy analyst in Washington for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. “But we’re concerned that companies may be racing to be the first instead of racing to be the safest.”

Waymo’s assessment that its self-driving vehicles are safe enough for the public hasn’t been verified by an independent third party, Wallace points out.

“All validating data should be shared with NHTSA, with the states, and with consumers,” he says. “We haven’t seen that yet.”

Waymo believes its technology is now good enough to take the test driver out of the equation, though there will be a Waymo employee in the backseat during the driverless rides. There is a “stop” button.

The vehicles will be limited at first to the 100 square miles that encompass the city of Chandler, a Phoenix suburb that has been carefully mapped with the data programmed into the cars.

Over time, the test area will expand to the entire Phoenix metropolitan region, Waymo says, and then to other cities. The company says it’s on track to launch a form of driverless ride-hailing, but it isn’t giving any firm timetable.

Arizona has been welcoming to companies wanting to test self-driving cars on public roads. It invited Uber after the ride-sharing service pulled cars from San Francisco during a spat over regulations. GM, Ford, Intel, and Mobileye are also testing their automated-vehicle technology in the state.

Last week, Waymo invited reporters to its secret testing ground in the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The company showed off the same kind of self-driving minivan being used in Phoenix. The van ushered passengers throughout a miniature testing city while employees posed as unpredictable pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. Though no human was in the front seat, the cars drove smoothly and reacted appropriately to the moving obstacles.

The company became the first automaker to file a self-driving-car safety report with the federal government in October. The report, called “On the Road to Fully Self-Driving,” laid out the company’s technology and testing program.

The Transportation Department praised Waymo and called for other companies working on self-driving cars to issue similar reports. They’re voluntary, but the reports are a key part of the federal policy that relies on disclosure and self-certification rather than regulation to guarantee the safety of self-driving cars.