Waymo to Test its Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service on Phoenix Freeways

Waymo has announced that the company will begin the testing of its fully autonomous ride-hailing services on Phoenix freeways. 

Waymo’s self-driving vehicles currently operate across 225 square miles of city streets in the Phoenix metro area, offering passengers the convenience of on-demand, fully autonomous rides throughout the Valley. Yet, these services have been limited to surface streets. 

To improve the ride-hailing service experience for riders, Waymo has begun to increase freeway testing of its passenger vehicles. This next step will help riders get to where they’re going safely and more efficiently by cutting travel time in half for most routes, including trips from Sky Harbor Airport to north Scottsdale. 

According to Waymo, the company will take a step-by-step approach to rolling out its freeway ride-hailing technology before officially offering the service to the public. Over the past year, Waymo has gradually tested passenger vehicles on freeways with an autonomous specialist behind the wheel. Now, the company is entering into its next phase of freeway testing with the rollout of rider-only trips on Phoenix highways for Waymo employees.

Employees will soon have the opportunity to hail rider-only trips on Phoenix freeways, which will test the performance of Waymo’s passenger vehicles on freeways without a human driver behind the wheel for the first time. The company’s technology, Waymonouts, will provide feedback about the service and employee rider experience during each freeway trip to prepare for public use, according to Waymo. 

“Before expanding, we ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of the environment we plan to operate and our system’s capabilities. Waymo’s years of experience driving cars and trucks on freeways taught us to navigate everyday scenarios autonomously and inform our approach to responding to rare events safely,” Waymo writes on its website

As Waymo’s freeway testing continues, passengers can look forward to expanded and more convenient autonomous ride-hailing services in Phoenix. In the meantime, the Waymo One ride service is now available for Phoenix riders through the Waymo One app. To learn more or become a Waymo One rider, visit waymo.com

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