Waymo and Uber today announced a new partnership that will allow Uber customers to book fully autonomous rides with Waymo in Phoenix, AZ, starting later this year.
Waymo has been working on autonomous driving technology since 2009, which started as a Self-Driving Car Project from Google. In 2016 it was renamed as Waymo and has been testing its vehicles on public roads in Phoenix for several years.
The cost of rides between the two options (human driver, or Waymo driver) will be really interesting to see. In theory, the cost of a ride without the cost of the human will be far cheaper, one of the big opportunities with autonomous vehicles. The offset to that is the cost of the hardware on the car in cameras, lidar and radar, on top of what is typically a Jaguar iPace, along with the sunk cost of R&D to develop the technology.
If the price to the customer is cost neutral, it’s likely some will take the Uber to experience at first, but if they have a great experience may never go back to a human-driven experience.
Back in 2016, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said that he would buy every autonomous Tesla that Tesla could produce. Given Tesla is yet to commercialise their FSD software, the partnership with Waymo makes sense, however, the geo-limitations may be more restrictive than the ambitions for autonomy over the long term.
The partnership between Waymo and Uber is a major milestone in the development of autonomous driving technology. It is a sign that the technology is maturing and that it is ready to be deployed on a wider scale. The partnership is also a win for consumers, who will soon be able to experience the benefits of autonomous driving in Phoenix.
Waymo recently started onboarding customers in San Francisco and is coming to Los Angeles next. While today’s announcement only focuses on Phoenix, it’s likely these other Waymo-enabled cities will be the next to compete on the Uber platform.
Benefits of the Partnership
The partnership between Waymo and Uber will provide a number of benefits for consumers, including:
- Increased safety: Autonomous vehicles are programmed to avoid accidents, and they have been shown to be much safer than human drivers.
- Convenience: Autonomous vehicles can be hailed through the Uber app, which makes it easy to get a ride.
- Environmental benefits: Waymo vehicles are all-electric, which means they produce zero emissions.
The partnership will also benefit Waymo and Uber. Waymo will be able to expand its testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles, and it will gain access to Uber’s large customer base. Uber will be able to offer its customers a new and innovative transportation option, and it will benefit from Waymo’s expertise in autonomous driving technology.
The Future of Autonomous Driving
The partnership between Waymo and Uber is a major step forward for the development of autonomous driving technology. It is a sign that the technology is maturing and that it is ready to be deployed on a wider scale. The partnership is also a win for consumers, who will soon be able to experience the benefits of autonomous driving in Phoenix.
As autonomous driving technology continues to develop, it is likely that we will see more partnerships like the one between Waymo and Uber. These partnerships will help to accelerate the development of autonomous driving technology and make it available to more people.