Waymo to expand into downtown Phoenix

Waymo is expanding its service to downtown Phoenix, first with backup drivers on hand in the autonomous vehicles.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:42 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- You’ll soon start seeing self-driving cars in the heart of Phoenix.

Waymo, Google’s autonomous car company, says it is expanding operations to downtown Phoenix in the near future. The company currently has fully autonomous rides in parts of Tempe and Chandler. But now, you’ll soon be able to hop into a self-driving car to go see the Suns or a concert at Footprint Center or hitch a ride to explore the dozens of restaurants and bars along Roosevelt Row and the Arts District.

Waymo launched in Arizona in 2017 through an Early Rider Program, which had a backup driver to help the autonomous vehicle in difficult situations or if the software malfunctioned. Three years later, Waymo launched rides without backup drivers. Early Wednesday, the company showed up a fully autonomous all-electric Jaguar I-PACE. During that announcement, they announced expansions in metro Phoenix and in San Francisco. Waymo adds that its focused on safety as the company undergoes a big transformation.

Arizona’s Family has previously reported on major crashes involving self-driving vehicles in the Valley, including one that was operated by Uber.

“Just as we’ve done before, we’ll start with Waymo employees hailing trips with autonomous specialists behind the wheel, with the goal of opening it up to members of the public via our Trusted Tester program soon after,” Waymo officials wrote in a news release. “Just as our previous experience allowed us to deploy our 5th-gen Driver in San Francisco quickly and with confidence, the combination of our experience in San Francisco and Phoenix’s East Valley, grounded in millions of miles of real-world driving and boosted by billions of miles driven in simulation, is already guiding our progress in Downtown Phoenix and sets us up for future expansion of our fully autonomous ride-hailing service,” added Waymo co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov.

Waymo says they’re looking for more employees and “Trusted Testers” as it ramps up operations across the country. For more information, click here.