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Uber steers towards autonomous rides with Waymo

Uber steers towards autonomous rides with Waymo
Uber steers towards autonomous rides with Waymo

Uber’s recent collaboration with Waymo brings self-driving rides to customers in Phoenix, US. Riders requesting an UberX, Uber Green, Uber Comfort, or Uber Comfort Electric may find themselves paired with a Waymo Driver – a fully autonomous vehicle (AV). 

The ride-hailing company expressed excitement over this collaboration, termed “another innovation,” as it provides customers with the opportunity to experience rides with no driver behind the wheel.

How to catch a driverless Uber

It’s simple. Customers in the Metro Phoenix area can opt for a Waymo vehicle under the ‘Ride Preferences’ section within the Uber app. If your route falls within Waymo’s territory, including certain SkyTrain stops, you could be matched with an AV. 

Uber says safety is a cornerstone of this partnership. It has thus scrutinized Waymo’s safety protocols before green-lighting the project. Plus, 24/7 customer support is available as well. 

You can unlock the vehicle via the app and start the trip yourself. Customers can also play music, pull over whenever they want, and get in touch with customer support from within the vehicle. The video below shows what a driverless ride looks like. 

Sustainability and customer satisfaction

This collaboration is also a stride towards Uber’s goal of becoming a zero-emissions platform by 2040 since the Waymo vehicle in question will be the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE. 

Waymo currently operates fleets in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Austin, also known as Tesla’s home turf, is on the horizon as the next city for expansion.

Its CEO Tekedra Mawakana says tens of thousands of people “hail the Waymo Driver every month in Metro Phoenix. The Waymo Driver currently provides more than 10,000 rides each week in the region.” 

“Our partnership with Uber gives their riders the chance to experience the Waymo Driver,” says Mawakana. “As we continue to scale, we want as many people as possible to experience the safety, consistency and delight of riding with the Waymo Driver.”

Uber steers towards autonomous rides with Waymo
Image: Uber

Cruise halts robotaxis

Meanwhile, Cruise put a temporary stop to its AV ventures in the US after the California DMV suspended driver permits. Driverless rides have been suspended in several cities, including Houston, Phoenix, Austin, and Miami. 

Following an incident in which a human-driven vehicle caused the death of a pedestrian, Cruise says its teams analyze how to enhance the AV’s response to circumstances such as this. 

ALSO READ: Cruise halts robotaxi operations in US

“Safety is fundamental to our mission to save lives — it’s at the core of everything we do. We are devastated by what happened to the victim, and are committed, as always, to continuously improving our safety.”

As Uber ushers in Waymo-driven autonomous rides, Cruise’s pull-over highlights the industry’s cautious advance towards a driverless future – a future where safety and public trust underscores the trajectory of autonomous mobility. 

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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