Uber and Waymo, who have historically been competitors, are putting history aside and looking toward a new future with their latest announcement.
In a press release, Waymo announced that it will be teaming up with ride-sharing company Uber to offer its autonomous vehicles through the app. The companies say that this will be a “multi-year partnership” and that it will first launch in Phoenix, Arizona.
The companies say that customers will be able to use the self-driving cars not just for ride-hailing trips through Uber, but for delivery services through Uber Eats as well. In addition, customers can still book a ride through the Waymo One app.
Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo, said in a statement that between both companies’ technology, they’d be able to quicken the pace of fully autonomous driving.
“We’re excited to offer another way for people to experience the enjoyable and life-saving benefits of full autonomy. Uber has long been a leader in human-operated ridesharing, 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.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, said that it’s “excited” to bring fully autonomous driving to its platform.
“Uber provides access to a global and reliable marketplace across mobility, delivery, and freight. Fully autonomous driving is quickly becoming part of everyday life, and we’re excited to bring Waymo’s incredible technology to the Uber platform.”
Uber and Waymo say that the integration with Uber and Uber Eats will launch publicly “later this year.” That might line up well with Uber for Teens, which the company just announced that allows unaccompanied minors to take an Uber.
This is an interesting pilot program. Uber, of course, currently depends on human workers that sign up to be drivers. The growth of autonomous vehicles could have serious consequences on that side gig economy. Of course, those drivers could work instead for Lyft, Doordash, and plenty of other delivery services. But it seems that autonomous vehicles will be coming for all of those over time.
I’m personally excited to jump behind the wheel of an autonomous taxi. I’ve been able to get a sense of that from being inside someone’s Tesla, which had the FSD Beta, and it is a wild experience. Maybe I should take a trip to Phoenix later this year.
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