Self-driving vehicles are coming soon due to a new partnership between Uber and Alphabet’s Waymo car division.
- Google parent company Alphabet is partnering with Uber through its self-driving unit Waymo.
- In a multi-year partnership agreement, Waymo’s autonomous vehicle tech will join Uber’s rideshare platform.
- The announcement comes shortly after Waymo CPO Saswat Panigrahi announced the company’s plans to increase ridership 10-fold in the next year.
- Waymo’s new partnership could significantly expand its reach and secure new customers beyond its existing base.
- “Uber has long been a leader in human-operated ride-sharing, and the pairing of our pioneering technology and all-electric fleet with their customer network provides Waymo with an opportunity to reach even more people,” Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana says.
Why it’s news
Waymo’s new partnership with Uber represents the potential mainstreaming of autonomous vehicles. Uber is already a popular-ride share option for many customers—something Waymo may be able to capitalize on.
Phase one of the new partnership will begin in the Metro Phoenix area later this year. Waymo already offers services in this area and doubled its reach earlier this month to cover 180 square miles. It now services areas including the airport, downtown area, Arizona State Universities, and East Valley suburbs, TechCrunch reports.
A certain number of Waymo vehicles will now be included in the Uber and Uber Eats apps, though the company has not specified how many Waymo vehicles will be included in Uber’s offerings. Currently, Waymo has more than 100 self-driving cars in each Waymo One service area—Phoenix and San Francisco. The company is also testing its services in Austin and Los Angeles.
Waymo’s vehicles will not exclusively be available on the Uber app. Instead, a user may have the option to select a Waymo vehicle if it is in their area.
The new partnership puts Waymo a step ahead of its competitor, Cruise. While Cruise also has its own app and ride service, it has not announced plans to work with existing ride-share companies. However, Motional, another autonomous vehicle company, has been using the strategy of partnering with ride-share companies from the beginning. It has worked with Lyft, Via, and Uber, TechCrunch reports.