Uber has joined forces with Waymo to provide passengers with autonomous robotaxi rides in Phoenix. This marks a significant milestone for Uber, which had previously shelved its own robotaxi ambitions, choosing instead to partner with Waymo, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.
Starting this week, the Uber app will feature an option for riders to choose a Waymo robotaxi when booking UberX, Uber Green, Uber Comfort, or Uber Comfort Electric rides, provided a robotaxi is available within the service area. This collaboration marks the first time that Uber is offering rides without human drivers.
Customers who prefer a more traditional, human-driven experience can easily opt out of the robotaxi service or adjust their settings to influence the likelihood of being assigned a robotaxi for future trips.
Just like conventional rides on the Uber platform, the fare for Waymo robotaxi rides will be determined upfront. Passengers can unlock the vehicle by using a special button within the Uber app and, once inside, initiate their journey with another tap.
Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, shared his vision for this partnership in a blog post, explaining, “Expect the number of human drivers and driverless cars on the Uber platform to grow side-by-side for a long time to come as we continue to scale a hybrid global network that connects both modes.”
Waymo has been offering autonomous rides in Phoenix since 2020, but this partnership with Uber is expected to attract a broader clientele. Waymo’s fleet currently completes over 10,000 trips per week in the Phoenix metropolitan area, demonstrating the increasing acceptance of autonomous transportation.
Furthermore, Waymo recently obtained a permit to operate fully in San Francisco, positioning itself as a key player in the autonomous ride-hailing market. This development coincides with a setback for competitor Cruise, whose permit was revoked due to a recent hit-and-run collision with a pedestrian.
As the world of autonomous vehicles continues to evolve, Uber and Waymo’s partnership signifies a significant step toward integrating driverless technology into mainstream transportation services, offering passengers in Phoenix a glimpse into the future of autonomous mobility.