Waymo expands its driverless program in Phoenix – businesstraverse.com

Waymo co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov announced on Wednesday at the businesstraverse.com Sessions: Mobility stage that Waymo is pulling the human safety driver out of its recently expanded robotic axis business in downtown Phoenix.

“We shall to be starting fully autonomous, driver-nothing but activities in the Centre phoenix Surface That shall…to be On the fifth generation by us system On the Jaguar I-PACEs,” said Dolgov.

The news comes less than two months after Alphabet’s self-driving unit… expanding its controlled robotic taxi service from the East Valley of Phoenix to the city center. Waymo also said at the time that it had opened driverless rides to employees in San Francisco.

Waymo simulator in downtown Phoenix

Waymo simulator in downtown Phoenix. Image Credits: waymo

Workers were also the first to receive autonomous rides in downtown Phoenix with a human safety operator, but last week, Waymo opened that up to its “trusted testers.” Self-driving rides in the area are only available to employees for now, but Waymo said it will make that program available to members of the public in the coming weeks.

Waymo has been testing in Phoenix since 2016 and began offering a fully autonomous public ride-hail service there in 2020† This milestone serves to deepen the company’s roots in the city, where it currently holds a dominant position in the robotic axi market.

Driverless operations in downtown Phoenix will begin in the northeast portion of the area, and operations are gradually ramping up throughout Waymo’s trusted tester area, which includes downtown Phoenix, including downtown, downtown and the south, according to a spokesperson for Waymo. waymo.

Waymo’s first Trusted Tester service area in Downtown Phoenix. Image Credits: waymo

In addition to opening driverless pilots in downtown Phoenix, Waymo says it will begin operations at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with an autonomous specialist in attendance. Waymo’s fleet of Jaguar I-PACEs will operate 24/7 autonomously at the airport, with operations centered on the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station area, which is near the pick-up and drop-off location for other ride-hail services , according to Waymo.

Again, Waymo’s employees will be the first guinea pigs, greeting rides between downtown Phoenix and Sky Harbor, before the company opens the service to members of the public.

What we learn at Sky Harbor Airport will benefit us in other locations and help accelerate our progress,” Waymo wrote in a blog post. “As we bring the Waymo Driver to more people in more places, we will be able to deploy even faster in each new territory and focus on some inherent challenges specific to each location, such as driving in the snow in New York Cityhumanoid mannequins in Los Angeles’ Fashion District, or the infamous Pittsburgh left.”

While Waymo wouldn’t share the size of its fleet in downtown Phoenix or at the airport, the company did say it has more than 300 cars in the city.

As for further expansion, while Waymo declined to share many details, Dolgov did hint at plans to launch a service in a third city. Aside from Phoenix and San Francisco, Waymo has tested in cities and states like Seattle, Michigan and New York City, Dolgov said.

Dolgov noted that Waymo will follow its playbook, where the company will identify a market it is interested in based on its fifth-generation Waymo Driver capabilities, test there for a few months and then, as we see, be willing to to pull from the security operator.

“We have invested and made qualitative progress on the technical side towards that fifth-generation system designed to work anywhere,” said Dolgov. “Now goods sports That muscle by Bet but doing the On the new ones system, and goods moving loads of faster than we have ever been before. you are see That in San Francisco. you will see That in Centre Phoenix, and we shall practice the playbook if we To go after new ones markets.”

As Waymo moves forward, Dolgov noted that the company is focused on expanding the latest generation of the Waymo Driver to more Jaguars, but not Chrysler Pacifica minivans, which are powered by Waymo’s fourth-generation Driver and operate in Phoenix’s East Valley. , where the company performs its public fully autonomous service.

The fifth-generation driver is the same system Waymo currently uses on Class 8 trucks to control autonomous freight operations.

Waymo is also partnering with Geely’s luxury EV brand Zeekr to develop a customized autonomous vehicle† Dolgov didn’t provide timelines on that, but he did say that Waymo’s path in the future would be to work with partner OEMs to build the right platforms for his Driver.