Possible partnership between Waymo and Chandler in the works

Possible partnership between Waymo and Chandler in the works

Chandler is discussing a possible partnership with Waymo during a closed-door session Thursday.

The City Council will meet with legal staff in executive session to discuss a proposed agreement with Waymo for a transportation services pilot program.

Waymo and city officials would not comment on the potential partnership. Executive sessions are conducted away from the public whey they pertain to legal discussion and attorney-client privilege. If the council votes to take action, under state law, it must be done in public. Waymo already partners with Valley Metro

The Chandler partnership would not be Waymo’s first partnership with a local government agency to provide transportation services.

Valley Metro and Waymo launched a first-of-its-kind partnership in July 2018 to get transit riders from their home or work to the nearest light rail or bus station.

The two-year pilot program began with a controlled group of Valley Metro and Phoenix employees who live in the southeast Valley. Waymo operations in Chandler

Chandler has been ground zero for autonomous vehicle testing in metro Phoenix and the council will get an update on the effort during a public work session on Thursday.

Waymo, formerly known as the Google Self Driving Car Project, has been testing its autonomous vehicles in the area since 2017.

In December, the company announced it was launching a paid ride-share program called Waymo One . Unlike services such as Uber or Lyft, Waymo One will only be available to preapproved early riders.

Arizona is the only market where the program is currently available, but Waymo officials have said the company plans to expand the program.

The company operates out of a 39,000-square-foot warehouse near Chandler Boulevard and 56th Street and plans to build an additional 29,000 square feet. The space services and houses the Chrysler Pacifica minivans that provide rides for more than 400 people in the company’s “early rider” program. Since April 2017, more than 20,000 people have applied to participate in the program.

Customers can place orders online for pick up and a self-driving Waymo van will shuttle them to and from a Chandler Walmart to pick up their groceries. The program is currently restricted to people who are already participating in Waymo’s early rider program.

Other businesses in the southeast Valley have also partnered with Waymo to shuttle riders to and from such places as shopping centers and hotels. Select customers of AutoNation and Avis Budget can also use Waymo vehicles when dropping off or picking up rentals or when their own vehicles are in for maintenance or repair.

Reach reporter Paulina Pineda at [email protected] or 602-444-8130.

Follow her on Twitter: @paulinapineda22 .

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