Phoenix-are Uber users can now hail a Waymo driverless vehicle. The two companies today announced the launch of the joint service, which we first reported in May 2023.
To use the service, Uber users will need to hail a UberX, Uber Green, Uber Comfort, or Uber Comfort Electric, and if available, confirm the Waymo vehicle matched to the ride. Or users can call a Waymo Driver directly using the Waymo One app, available to the public in Metro Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and soon, Austin, TX.
Waymo has long operated in Arizona. The driverless car service first launched Waymo One in Chandler, AZ five years ago, first with safety operators behind the wheel, and several years later, with fully driverless Waymo vehicles. Now, five years after launching, the Metro Phoenix region is Waymo’s largest service area where the company provides 10,000 rides per week and services 1,000 riders per week from Phoenix’s airport SkyTrain locations.
This launch comes days after Waymo’s direct competitor, Cruise, suffered a serious blow to its operations in California after the DMZ pulled the company’s robotaxi permit. As we reported at the time, the DMV’s order of suspension states Cruise withheld video footage from an ongoing investigation, prompting the agency to suspend its permit. The DMV said it met with Cruise representatives on October 3, one day after an incident that left a pedestrian, who had initially been hit by a human-driven car, stuck under a Cruise robotaxi. This incident, and the company’s apparent withholding of evidence, caused the DMV to determine Cruise vehicles are not safe to operate on public roads.
Waymo and Uber took a jab at Cruise in today’s announcement, noting that “Not all autonomous vehicle companies are the same. As our service grows, evidence is also growing that the Waymo Driver operates safely at scale.” Ouch.