ARIZONA NEWS

Self-driving cars deliver food from Chandler nonprofit to Gilbert seniors

Jul 30, 2021, 4:05 AM | Updated: 9:33 am

(Courtesy photo)...

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

PHOENIX — A fleet of bright blue wrapped autonomous vehicles are hitting the streets in the East Valley to help a nonprofit deliver meals to seniors.

The eye-catching cars are from Waymo and deliver boxes of food from the Chandler-based nonprofit AZCEND to the Gilbert Senior Center each Wednesday morning, according to a press release.

Waymo is a unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc. and one of several companies testing driverless vehicles in the U.S.

The company stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic and offered its fully autonomous driving technology to transport more than 2,000 meals for the nonprofit to help scale up its meal delivery service by 110% as its base of the community’s most vulnerable residents continued to grow, according to the release.

Recently, the meals have been delivered in the newly wrapped blue Waymo Via vehicles.

The California-based company started offering autonomous rides to a limited number of customers during 2019 in an early testing program in the Valley before opening its ride-hailing program last fall to anyone seeking a ride within its 50-square-mile service area covering parts of Chandler, Tempe and Mesa.

Its prices are in line with ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, with hundreds of passengers using the service each week.

Waymo runs 300 to 400 vehicles in Arizona for its ride-hailing service and testing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Self-driving cars deliver food from Chandler nonprofit to Gilbert seniors