Waymo’s driverless vehicles are at your service in downtown Phoenix

What do you want to know

  • Waymo has brought its driverless vehicle service to downtown Phoenix.
  • Downtown Phoenix, alongside San Francisco, is part of Waymo becoming more confident in bringing its driverless service to more densely populated cities.
  • These tests are carried out without a safety driver who is usually in the car in case something goes wrong.

Waymo has finally brought its driverless cars to downtown Phoenix as it moves to include more populated areas.

According The edgethe inclusion of these robotaxis in downtown Phoenix comes after Waymo launched its trusted tester program in late 2021. Parties interested in the program could join a waiting list, wait for the approval and sign an NDA.

People on the waitlist can now enjoy robotic rides in the Phoenix metro area, in hopes it will make Phoenix a “more inclusive city.”

The inclusion of downtown Phoenix signals that the Alphabet-owned company is becoming more comfortable bringing its automated driving service to major cities. Waymo has been testing its self-driving car service in lower-density surrounding suburbs of Phoenix since 2017. According to Waymo, its current service areas include San Francisco, Downtown Phoenix, Phoenix Sky Harbor and Phoenix East Valley.

The topper of a Waymo automated car.

(Image credit: Waymo)

Trips to the Phoenix Sky Harbor are limited to Waymo employees only, with a security driver included at this time. In San Francisco, testing is being done for passenger-only rides for Waymo employees, as well as paid rides for trusted testers with a safety driver on board. As for Phoenix East Valley, this test is open to equestrian-only trips for members of the public.

Waymo One is the company’s driverless car service that has recently updated to include ongoing testing in downtown Phoenix. Android users can download the app from the Google Play Store and iOS users can browse the Apple App Store. Customers can hail a car and customize its dashboard display with a unique two-letter formula, so you’ll know if it’s your ride or not.

It should also be noted that the Waymo One service is completely driverless without the inclusion of a safety driver. Typically, these automated cars come with a driver who is there in case there is a problem with the vehicle. Waymo’s current public testing moves away from including such a person based on the area and whether or not the passenger is an employee or “trusted tester”. According Technological crunchWaymo co-CEO Dmitry Dolgov said in May that the removal of the safety pilot began employee testing in downtown Phoenix before the company decided to expand the Trusted Testers program.

Alejandro L. Myatt