Starting Thursday (Oct. 26), Uber customers in Phoenix who request a ride on the app may have the opportunity to experience Waymo Driver self-driving car technology, Uber said in a Thursday blog post. This means that there will be no human driver behind the wheel of the autonomous vehicle (AV).
“Today is an important step in our journey to bring safe, reliable autonomous driving technology to the Uber platform,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the post. “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.”
To ride with an AV, riders in Phoenix can request an UberX, Uber Green, Uber Comfort or Uber Comfort Electric, according to the post. If the requested route falls within Waymo’s expanded operating territory, riders may be matched with a Waymo vehicle.
Customers will have the option to accept a Waymo ride or find an alternative, the post said. Those who are excited to try an AV can increase their chances of getting one by opting in on the Uber app.
Once the Waymo vehicle arrives, riders can unlock the vehicle and start their trip, all through the Uber app, per the post. In case any assistance is needed during the ride, 24/7 customer support will be accessible both through the Uber app and inside the Waymo vehicle.
Waymo Driver has already been available in Phoenix through the Waymo One app, and will continue to be offered through that channel, Waymo said in a Thursday blog post. Waymo Driver currently provides more than 10,000 rides per week in the region.
The partnership of Uber and Waymo was announced in May, with the companies saying they would launch their collaboration in Phoenix, where Waymo’s operations make up the largest fully autonomous service area in the world at 180 square miles.
The two companies also have a partnership that brings together Waymo’s self-driving truck unit and Uber’s Freight business.