Waymo has announced a new, multi-year, strategic partnership with Uber, through which Waymo Driver – the Alphabet subsidiary’s autonomous driving system – will be added to Uber’s platform and made available to a larger consumer base.
The companies confirmed that their joint operations will begin in Phoenix, the Arizona city where Waymo began testing its first autonomous vehicles in 2016 and has since been operating in. Today, its service area in the city spans 180 square miles (466 square kilometers) – offering robotaxi services to customers in the city’s metro area, connecting the downtown area to Arizona State University and other East Valley suburbs, and providing pick-up and drop-off services at the 44th St Sky Train Station for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
While the integrated service will launch later this year, a more specific release window or date has not been shared by either company at this time. At launch, their combined operations will begin with a set number of autonomous vehicles selected from Waymo’s Phoenix fleet. These vehicles will then perform both food delivery and ride-hailing duties on behalf of Uber.
More specifically, users of the Uber ride-hailing app in the Phoenix area will have the option to request a Waymo Driver-equipped autonomous vehicle, while through the Uber Eats app, customers will be able to request a Waymo vehicle to make their food delivery. In both cases, users will only be able to make those requests once a Waymo vehicle is available to fulfill them.
As it outlined the details of its new partnership, Waymo stressed that the vehicles allocated to the partnership’s operations will not be exclusive to Uber. Here, it highlighted that customers of its Waymo One ride-hailing service will still be able to conventionally book a Waymo Driver robotaxi through its dedicated smartphone app.
Though the announcement marks the first collaboration between the two companies based on their respective consumer-facing services, it also follows a trucking collaboration between Waymo’s autonomous trucking division Waymo Via, and Uber’s logistics unit – Uber Freight.
Announced in 2022, this partnership incorporates a deep product integration and a long-term collaboration roadmap, through which both units are developing tools and infrastructure to support the deployment of autonomous trucks for Uber Freight’s shipper and carrier customers. Through it, customers purchasing trucks equipped with the Waymo Driver system can opt-in to Uber Freight’s marketplace and access a variety of apps that work to streamline the trucking user experience.
Together, through their newly announced long-term collaboration, both Waymo and Uber are ultimately looking to offer a safe, all-electric, and fully autonomous experience for their customers. At the same time, they are also looking to leverage and benefit from the combination of Waymo’s autonomous driving technologies and the scale of Uber’s ridesharing and delivery networks.