Waymo Keeps Rolling: Self-Driving Cars Now Ferry Arizona Shoppers

Waymo's early rider program is now a year old. And it's expanded as a taxi service for shoppers.

People still tell me "self-driving will never work" but it's working already. Please consider Waymo Self-Driving Cars to Ferry Walmart Shoppers in Arizona Trial.

Walmart shoppers in Phoenix metropolitan area can order groceries on Walmart.com and as their order is being prepared at the store, self-driving cars will transport them to the store and bring them back, Waymo said.

Waymo has also teamed up with U.S. shopping center owner DDR Corp to offer shoppers and diners rides in its self-driving vehicles to and from the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center in Chandler, Arizona.

Additionally, Waymo has expanded its existing partnerships with AutoNation Inc and Avis Budget Group Inc in Phoenix. AutoNation will offer customers a Waymo, rather than a loaner car, to get around while their personal vehicles get serviced.

Avis Budget Group, which keeps Waymo vehicles charged and refueled for an upcoming ride, will provide its customers these self-driving vehicles as a last-mile solution to help them pick up or drop off their rental cars.

Truly Driverless

Unlike Uber, these programs are a truly driverless success. There is no backup driver as a look at Waymo’s Early Rider Program, One Year In shows.

Check it Out!

Play video. Note the driver. Rather, note there is no driver.

Yesterday, a reader sarcastically pointed out the "shortage of truck drivers" and asked "when?"

As I have commented many times, my expected timeframe for driverless to kick off is 2020 or 2021.

Bear in mind that city driving is far more complex than point-to-point long-haul highway trucking. Yet, city driving works already as the video shows.

Mass Adoption Coming

I still expect mass adoption of long-haul self-driving trucking within 2-3 years of Federal approval. By mass adoption I mean over 50% by 2024 at the latest. 2022 or 2023 would not surprise me one bit.

Car and taxi adoption rates will be slower. But airport limo services will be early adopters. It will be easy for attendees to plug in a drop-off address and have the car automatically return to the airport.

Those Uber gig jobs will go by the wayside, possibly sooner than I expect. But Uber is clearly far behind Waymo when it comes to technology.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock​

Comments (21)
No. 1-12
shamrock
shamrock

UBER is dropping its self driving truck plan and is restarting their "self driving" car project with a human driver in control of the car 100% of the time and an additional two safety engineers also in the car. Wow.

caradoc-again
caradoc-again

The disruption will be massive. No stopping it whether 2021 or 2025. Watch global car volumes slide. % of GEN Z learning to drive will likely be.lower than previous generations. Massive changes coming in the whole car industrial complex. Be on the right side of it.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Many car companies will end up licensing Waymo technology

JonSellers
JonSellers

I don't know. A few test type activities in a few cities with specific destinations. I'll take it seriously win Waymo sends one from Seattle to Miami (of course it will have to find a way to refuel).

However, I just dropped off my youngest for med school in Miami. After dealing with Miami traffic for a few days, I actually get why people might want one of these things. Have someone else drive you, cheaply, without any concern for human interaction.

vboring
vboring

How many long haul trucks will we need when a small autonomous pod truck can go anywhere for 15 cents a mile? Autonomous vehicles change the cost per mile economics enough that life might be cheaper without distribution centers.

SleemoG
SleemoG

Oh goodie, a self-driving car post. I haven't had a good laugh at the expense of Luddites in so long!

tz1
tz1

Self-Driving and Electrics are related, but

  1. Did the Califonians with Teslas stay home during the recent heat wave while the grid almost buckled (it is technically but not politically solvable)
  2. Is there enough resources to convert everything to electric?
MntGoat
MntGoat

Here is a really good in depth Bloomberg article from today about Waymo's autonmous car testing in Phoenix. Buried deep in the article, that lady who gets to ride the car to school every day as part of the test, says she has only been in the car once without a safety driver, and did not elaborate where the car went with out a safety driver (just around the block?). She also mentioned the safety driver had to take the wheel a few times when the car froze.

Also the Bloomberg reporter who rode in the car had a safety driver. Why wouldn't they give him a ride to somewhere in Phoenix without a safety driver? Article also quotes a expert from Carnegie Mellon (top school autonomous vehicle tech) who says Phoenix has perfect "goldilocks" weather and conditions with clear days, easy weather, wide streets. Driving in non perfect conditions may prove much more challenging for widespread adoption.

If Waymo is first to get this stuff going successfully seems like it will be a absolute juggernaut in the world of transportation. Interesting how cheap ride hailing will be when they get the fully autonomous cars really going....article says costs will be 1/4 of Uber today. Seems like Waymo could eat Ubers lunch if Waymo gets their first with this stuff..

mike09
mike09

I wonder if they will build wheelchair accessible self driving vans. I want to get rid of my van cause it is too expensive to pay for.

gliderdude
gliderdude

Isn't it interesting how there is never any talk of Waymo not turning a profit and losing money on every ride?

kpmyers
kpmyers

These will work as long as thieves don't steal the LIDAR off the tops of the cars. At $7500 a device, that is very tempting hardware.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Does a self-driving car honk at someone cutting in front too close or at cyclist/pedestrians that are not paying attention?