Waymo autonomous minivan in Chandler, Arizona.
Since 2017, Waymo has used the East Valley as its pilot site for its autonomous vehicles. The company is now expanding driverless service to San Francisco and, eventually, downtown Phoenix.
The East Valley testing began with humans behind the wheel, before evolving to driverless rides in 2020. Last month, Waymo expanded fully autonomous rides to San Francisco and said it plans to soon offer service in downtown Phoenix.
Sonca Nguyen is a product manager at Waymo and talked about the company’s cautious approach.
“We believe that any company in this industry has a responsibility to prioritize the safety of our customers and the communities that we are driving in,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen says the company is looking forward to expanding its service in the Valley.
“Phoenix is one of the top growing cities in the country, and we had a really great experience testing in the East Valley,” Nguyen said. “We want to expand that and make our service available to more residents in metro Phoenix.”
Downtown Phoenix service will begin with employee passengers and a human driver, with plans to eventually offer fully autonomous rides to the public.