Next time you’re in Phoenix, you may want to skip the awkward pre-dawn Uber ride and consider calling Waymo, a self-driving robotaxi service that just launched trips to and from the Phoenix Airport via autonomous cars.
The service will operate 24/7 and be available for the five-mile distance between downtown Phoenix and the airport shuttle stop. Waymo’s service will operate similar to Uber and Lyft but the company says that users will be able to avoid that pesky surge pricing.
But we’re not quite ridin’ solo just yet.
Right now, Waymo rides are only available to those in their “trusted tester” program. Though conveniently left out of promo videos, human safety operators will continue to monitor the rides for now. However, Waymo estimates that rider-only operations are just a few weeks away.
Phoenix is not the only place in Waymo’s sights, as they’ve also announced plans to launch the service in Los Angeles.
One challenge facing Waymo is the fierce competition for pickup and drop-off spots at already congested airport curbsides. The sheer number of vehicles and rideshare vehicles at airports already cause chaotic airport experiences and Waymo will need to navigate that in order to make the service worthwhile for airports to set aside space for.