Phoenix is the first place Waymo launched a public ride-hail service with no human behind the wheel over two years ago. Waymo is taking the next step by initiating the industry’s first-ever paid trips to and from an airport, with an autonomous specialist present for now, at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, starting November 1.
Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. by population and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is also one of the 10 busiest airports in the world, and human operated ride-hail trips to and from airports are some of the most popular. Waymo sees a big opportunity to deliver a service that riders in the Phoenix area will love.
Starting November 1st, Trusted Testers can hail a ride 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in our fully electric Jaguar I-PACE equipped with the fifth generation Waymo Driver, between Downtown Phoenix and Phoenix Sky Harbor. Waymo is partnering with Phoenix Sky Harbor to offer pickups and dropoffs from the 44th Street Sky Train® station. They will start by offering trips with an autonomous specialist in the driver’s seat and will remove the specialist over weeks to come.
Waymo says they have gained meaningful learnings at Phoenix Sky Harbor since threy started driving there with their employees in May, and now is excited to expand to include the Trusted Tester community. Their input will help Waymo create a world class experience before they roll out more broadly.
The unique elements of airport pickup offer an opportunity for exciting technical advancement, including; unique opportunities to train our perception capabilities, serving pedestrians carrying different types of luggage; and learning different types of driving behaviors of other road users that are unique to the airport. All of this will help enhance our driving performance overall.
Waymo welcomed input from local leaders and community groups to ensure they build for their needs, and they’ve been encouraged by the feedback that they’ve received so far.
“Phoenix leads the nation in demonstrating autonomous vehicle technology, science, and safety,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “The future of travel is here, and Waymo One service to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport marks our city’s commitment to innovation and technological advancements that will impact the world.”