Waymo Commences Rider-Only Testing on Freeways in Phoenix

Waymo has announced the start of rider-only testing for its fully autonomous passenger cars on freeways in Phoenix.

This will see the vehicles operate on major roads without a human driver present.

The testing will take place in phases, starting with the provision of rider-only trips on freeways for Waymo employees.

Waymo will begin testing its fully autonomous passenger cars without a human driver on freeways in Phoenix
Waymo will begin testing its fully autonomous passenger cars without a human driver on freeways in Phoenix

This move follows Waymo’s success over the past three years in operating rider-only vehicles on public surface streets across California and Arizona.

The company also has millions of miles of experience operating autonomous vehicles on freeways with a specialist present.

In expanding its operation to offer rider-only services on freeways, Waymo stresses that it has been working closely with public safety officials to outline best practices and procedures.

Waymo employees will now be able to hail rider-only trips on freeways across Phoenix, and their feedback will help shape the service before it is offered to Waymo One riders.

The ability to take freeways, rather than being restricted to surface streets, is expected to significantly improve the rider experience for Waymo’s customers.

For example, a trip from Sky Harbor Airport to the northern parts of Scottsdale could be reduced by 50 percent when taking AZ-101 compared to city streets.

Example Waymo One routes using freeways versus using only surface streets
Example Waymo One routes using freeways versus using only surface streets

What’s more, the ability to use freeways is considered vital to Waymp’s ambition to scale its operations to other cities.

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