Waymo plans for 100-square-mile driverless taxi service in Phoenix area

Apr 3, 2018, 12:16 PM
John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, stands with the Jaguar I-Pace vehicle, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in ...

John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, stands with the Jaguar I-Pace vehicle, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in New York. Self-driving car pioneer Waymo will buy up to 20,000 of the electric vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover to help realize its vision for a robotic ride-hailing service. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

PHOENIX — Waymo, a self-driving car development company formerly owned by Google, reportedly planned to introduce a fully autonomous taxi area that would cover about 100 square miles in metro Phoenix.

The New York Times reported that Waymo CEO John Krafcik told reporters last week that the cars will be able to handle any condition.

“Members of the public will be able to take our cars anywhere in our service area,” he told the paper. “We will be driving everywhere — dense, urban centers, high-speed roads, low-speed roads, suburbs. There’s every driving scenario to be imagined.”

There was no timeline given, but the Times said Waymo had planned to provide as many as one million rides per day by next year.

Krafcik’s statement came just days after a self-driving car designed by rideshare Uber fatally struck a women in Tempe.

In the aftermath of the collision, Krafcik told attendees at a Las Vegas conference that his company’s technology could have avoided the incident.

“Really all that we can say is based on our knowledge of what we’ve seen so far …and our own knowledge of the robustness that we’ve designed into our systems…in situations like that one – in this case a pedestrian or a pedestrian with a bicycle — we have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one,” he said.

Krafcik said the company has driven on public roads for more than 5 million miles and has traveled five billion miles in computer simulation to test the software and sensing.

“We’ve developed tens of thousands of actual physical tests that really put our technology through its paces and ensure that it’s strong and capable and of course very, very safe.”

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir said the Uber crash may have been unavoidable.

“It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” the chief told the outlet.

Waymo announced last month that it would start charging to pick up and drop off riders. The Arizona Department of Transportation approved the company’s application to become a transportation network company similar to Uber and Lyft.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(File Facebook Photo/Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)...
Associated Press

Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy wounded in shooting with suspect

A Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy was shot and wounded Tuesday and the incident turned into a barricade situation, according to authorities.
18 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/U.S. Forest Service - Coconino National Forest)...

Coconino and Kaibab forests in northern Arizona lift fire restrictions

Having received significant precipitation from recent storms, the Coconino and Kaibab forests in northern Arizona announced Tuesday that fire restrictions have been lifted.
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs $18 billion budget for 2023 fiscal year

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday signed the $18 billion budget into law that makes hefty investments in education, border security and infrastructure.
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Danny Shapiro

Former GOP congressman Matt Salmon drops out of race for Arizona governor

With about a week until early voting for Arizona's primary election, Matt Salmon pulled out of Republican race for governor on Tuesday.
18 hours ago
(Airbnb Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Airbnb makes party ban policy permanent, says it had big impact in Arizona

Airbnb said Tuesday its party ban has been so effective, especially in Arizona, that the vacation rental platform is making the policy permanent.
18 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Phoenix police shoot armed suspect near 52nd Street and Thomas Road

Phoenix police shot and critically wounded a man they said pointed a gun at them during a confrontation Monday evening.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Waymo plans for 100-square-mile driverless taxi service in Phoenix area