For the past few years, Waymo has been operating in Phoenix, Arizona, as a fully autonomous ride-hailing service. Those in the Metro Phoenix area will now see Waymo One as an option in Google Maps.
This is part of the existing integration with third-party services when getting directions in Google Maps. Besides public transit, Google surfaces Lyft and bicycles/scooters.
When navigating in the Metro Phoenix area, you’ll see Waymo One listed as an option at the bottom of the screen when you choose “Transit” or “Rides” as the means of travel. There’s an estimated price and a link to open the app or download if you don’t have it installed yet.
Waymo One was announced for Phoenix at the end of 2018. A year later, an iOS app launched, while October 2020 saw the Alphabet company start offering fully autonomous rides without safety drivers behind the wheel that could take over at any time. That region in Arizona was chosen for its wide streets and temperate weather.
Waymo is beginning to look at offering a passenger service in the Bay Area, but expansion has been otherwise quite slow despite wide testing across the country. Streets have to be mapped while a place like San Francisco has much more complex driving conditions.
In deciding to integrate with Google Maps, Waymo could be signaling that its service in Arizona is ready to expand further. This could have presumably occurred at any time in the last few years but would have come with a notable increase in passengers that the nascent offering might not have been ready to handle yet.
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