With over 20 million autonomous public road miles under its belt, Waymo announced Wednesday plans to begin service at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Right now, the Waymo Driver is providing full autonomous rides in two locations—Phoenix’s East Valley and San Francisco. The company is preparing to scale further. In the coming weeks, Waymo will begin rider-only trips —with no human driver behind the wheel— with our employees in Downtown Phoenix. Additionally, the Waymo Driver is beginning to drive at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, one of the 10 busiest airports in the world, with an autonomous specialist present.
As the fastest growing city in the U.S., Phoenix represents a diverse population with unique transport needs. With the rapidly increasing number of residents, heavy traffic, and the sheer amount of construction taking place, vibrant Downtown Phoenix presents many similar challenges to what Waymo has experienced in other cities like San Francisco. Being able to apply learnings directly from one city to another unlocks a powerful flywheel effect and gives us a significant head start in every new location, without overfitting our technology to a single territory.
At Sky Harbor, the Waymo Driver Waymo will apply learnings it has gained from driving in other locations to the unique challenge of airport pick up and drop off. That includes lessons our Driver learned from navigating the bustling streets of San Francisco, as well as Phoenix’s East Valley’s crowded shopping centers and high speed roads. Waymo’s Jaguar I-PACEs will drive autonomously at Sky Harbor Airport at all hours of the day and night, with an autonomous specialist present at first, to help us learn from the airport’s busy roads and crowded parking lots. They will focus operations on the area around the 44th Street PHX Sky Train® Station, which is near the pickup and drop-off location for other ride-hail services. The testing will begin with Waymo employees hailing rides between Downtown Phoenix and Sky Harbor, eventually opening up to members of the public via their Trusted Tester program.
Waymo began operating in the East Valley in 2017 and rolled out fully autonomous public rides in 2020.
Waymo has not provided a date as to when fully autonomous rides would be available to the public at Sky Harbor Airport or in downtown Phoenix.