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Waymo’s robotaxis are coming to Uber’s ridesharing app

Uber will soon offer rides in Waymo’s autonomous vehicles using the regular Uber app. It will also integrate with Uber Eats for meal delivery.

Announced on Tuesday, the service will begin toward the end of the year in the Metro Phoenix area, where Waymo is already offering driverless rides for paying passengers through its Waymo One app. Earlier this month, Waymo said it was doubling its service area in Phoenix to serve 180 square miles of The Valley, an expansion that it said makes it “the largest fully autonomous service area in the world.”

Two people exit a Waymo taxi.

Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo, said that by working together with Uber, the two companies will be well-placed to speed up the pace of development for fully autonomous driving.

“We’re excited to offer another way for people to experience the enjoyable and life-saving benefits of full autonomy,” Mawakana said. “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 his company is looking forward to bringing fully autonomous driving to its platform.

“Uber provides access to a global and reliable marketplace across mobility, delivery, and freight,” Khosrowshahi said. “Fully autonomous driving is quickly becoming part of everyday life, and we’re excited to bring Waymo’s incredible technology to the Uber platform.”

Earlier this month, Waymo revealed that it’s currently operating more than 10,000 trips per week to public riders via the Waymo One app and is aiming to increase this to 100,000 trips by the summer of 2024. Its partnership with Uber should give it a decent shot at achieving this goal.

The tie-up marks a further improvement in relations between the two companies, which five years ago saw Waymo accuse Uber of stealing important autonomous technology trade secrets for its own, now defunct, driverless-car project. Uber and Waymo settled out of court in 2018, and two years later engineer Anthony Levandowski — who worked for Waymo (then Google) before launching self-driving trucking firm Otto and selling it to Uber — was handed an 18-month prison term for trade secret theft.

The latest collaboration follows an earlier one between Uber and Waymo announced last year involving Waymo’s self-driving technology and Uber’s truck-based freight network.

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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