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Waymo Announces Plans To Begin Testing Driverless Rides on Phoenix Freeways

by Pleasant View

Waymo will begin testing its fully autonomous passenger cars without a human driver on freeways in Phoenix to soon help Waymo One riders get where they’re going safely and efficiently.

The company announced Monday that their fully autonomous cars would begin testing freeway driving in phases, offering riders the chance to get to their destinations much quicker through the use of freeway routes.

Just as Waymo taken has taken a phased approach to rolling out their technology and operations in the past, the company will continue to deploy in a step-by-step manner, first providing rider-only trips to their employees on freeways across Phoenix.

Waymo believes they have years of safe and proven experience operating fleets of rider-only vehicles on public roads across California and Arizona, and millions of miles of experience operating autonomous class 8 trucks and cars on freeways with a specialist present. As part of their focus on scaling ride hailing, they have incrementally ramped up their testing on freeways with passenger vehicles over the past year. Now, as they prepare to take the next step of removing the autonomous specialist from their operations, they are following the same processes outlined by their safety framework that helped the company responsibly launch and expand the world’s first fully autonomous ride hailing service over three years ago.

Before expanding, Waymo guarantees that they will have a comprehensive understanding of the environment they plan to operate and their system’s capabilities. Waymo’s years of experience driving cars and trucks on freeways has taught the brand to navigate everyday scenarios autonomously and inform their approach to responding to rare events safely. Waymo affirms they continuously iterate and improve their technology and operations through a rigorous process that combines structured testing, simulation, and public road operations so they believe they are prepared for this next phase.

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As they gradually ramp up their operations, Waymo employees will have the opportunity to hail rider-only trips on freeways across Phoenix. Employees will provide invaluable feedback about the service and rider experience during freeway trips before they welcome Waymo One riders.

Taking a freeway instead of a surface street in Phoenix can significantly improve a rider’s experience. For example, a trip from Sky Harbor Airport to the northern parts of Scottsdale can be 50% faster by taking AZ-101 compared to city streets. The ability to utilize freeways will be especially important as they scale their operations to other cities. For this reason, they are laser focused on freeway ride hailing testing.

Waymo One is already helping tens of thousands of riders safely get where they’re going in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

To hail a ride with the Waymo Driver, customers can download the Waymo One App to book their ride.

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