Electronics and Semiconductors

Uber to add Waymo robotaxis to Phoenix ride-hailing platform

25 May 2023
Once rivals, Uber will now use Waymo’s robotaxis on its ride-hailing and delivery platform in Phoenix, Arizona. Source: Waymo

Waymo and Uber have formed a multi-year strategic partnership to port Waymo driver robotaxis to the Uber ride-hailing and delivery platform in Phoenix, Arizona.

The integration of the platform will launch later this year with several Waymo robotaxis used across Phoenix for local deliveries and ride-hailing trips. Riders will be able to hail a Waymo robotaxi directly through the Waymo One app but can now also use Waymo Driver on the Uber and Uber Eats apps.

“Uber has long been a leader in human-operated ridesharing, and the pairing of our pioneering technology and all-electric fleet with their customer network provides Waymo with an opportunity to reach even more people,” said Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo.

Phoenix has been the headquarters for Waymo having originally launched services in 2017. Since then, the company has moved to open a third city for robotaxi testing in Los Angeles after starting up its robotaxi service in San Francisco in 2022. Recently in Arizona, Waymo started rider-only service in without a safety driver.

Full circle

Uber’s journey into autonomous vehicles has been a tumultuous ride. The company originally began its own platform for developing robotaxis, however, that came quickly to a halt in 2018 when Uber came under fire from both consumers and federal agencies after one of its self-driving test cars killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

Shortly after, the company suspended its autonomous vehicle program and laid off staff associated with the project. A few months later, Uber scuttled its plans to develop self-driving trucks and then completely abandoned its own platform for robotaxis.

Waymo and Uber were both founded in 2009, both going their separate paths for autonomous vehicles. Originally the companies were at odds, even rivals, developing proprietary robotaxi technologies. Now, the companies have gone full circle and this agreement will allow Waymo autonomous vehicles to be used on Uber’s ridesharing and delivery networks.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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