Waymo says it’s given thousands of driverless rides in first year of Phoenix service
PHOENIX — Waymo’s first year of service in metro Phoenix resulted in thousands of autonomous drives, the ride-hailing company said Friday.
Waymo said it completed “tens of thousands” of rider-only trips in the Phoenix market since last October, according to a press release.
Waymo is the only company with a commercial and fully autonomous service in the U.S., giving riders the option to use the operation 24/7.
One customer, John from Chandler, completed over 400 rides over the past year, according to Waymo.
The company contends it’s the most rides taken by a customer during that span.
The service was initially limited to 50 square miles in the East Valley and to riders who had been longtime participants in the Waymo One program.
The completely driverless mode was a change from Waymo’s other self-driving programs that have been operating in the East Valley.
A backup driver was a familiar sight behind the wheel since 2018.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced demand for rides, Waymo was providing 1,000 to 2,000 rides in autonomous vehicles per week.
Most of the rides had a backup driver behind the wheel, but 5%-10% of the rides were without a human backup driver and were available only to a smaller group of riders who signed non-disclosure agreements.