October 31, 2023
Waymo’s driverless vehicles are now available via Uber in Phoenix, Arizona.
The pair agreed a deal earlier this year for a “multi-year strategic partnership” that will see Waymo’s self-driving taxis offered on the ride-hailing giant’s platforms.
And now Waymo has confirmed that the service is up and running in the 225-square mile area of Metro Phoenix where it currently operates.
To take advantage of the service, Uber users can simply request an UberX, Uber Green, Uber Comfort or Uber Comfort Electric via the Uber app as usual. If they’re matched with a Waymo autonomous vehicle (AV), they will be then given the option to confirm the ride (or decline if preferred).
Those who are particularly keen to be matched with a self-driving taxi can indicate their preference for autonomous rides through the Ride Preferences section in the Uber app’s settings.
If any issues arise during the trip, support is available via the app and also inside the vehicle.
Phoenix has essentially become America’s center of operations for California-based Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet.
After starting out running autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans with human back-ups in Phoenix’s eastern suburbs five years ago, Waymo now claims to provide more than 10,000 rides each week across the city in its fleet of Jaguar i-Pace self-driving taxis. More than a thousand are to or from the Sky Harbor International Airport.
In that time, the service area in Phoenix has quintupled, making it, according to Waymo, the largest autonomous vehicle ride-hailing territory in the world.
As in those locations, customers in Phoenix will still be able to hail a Waymo self-driving taxi via the company’s own Waymo One app.
Prices for autonomous rides will mirror those for human-driven taxis.
Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo, hailed the new operation with Uber, saying: “As we continue to scale, we want as many people as possible to experience the safety, consistency and delight of riding with the Waymo Driver.”
“Today is an important step in our journey to bring safe, reliable autonomous driving technology to the Uber platform,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO. “Looking ahead, we expect that the number of human drivers and AVs on the Uber platform will continue to grow, side by side, for quite a long time as we continue to scale a hybrid, global network that combines both.”
Waymo’s progress contrasts with the current problems being encountered by chief rival Cruise, owned by General Motors, which has paused operations of its self-driving taxis across the United States to “earn public trust” after the California Department of Motor Vehicles removed its licenses to test and deploy them in the state amid safety concerns.
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