Waymo announced today the start of a new phase of testing for our safest, most advanced, self-driving vehicles to date. After nearly a decade of working on this technology, 3.5 million miles driven, and thousands of comprehensive tests, Waymo will now be test-driving in parts of the Phoenix metro area without the need for a person in the driver’s seat. Our fully self-driving cars are designed to be safe drivers and will be responsible for every roadway decision, including the route the car takes, lane changes, turns, stops and yields for other pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles on the road. 

Waymo began testing in Arizona in 2016. For this new phase, Waymo will introduce fully self-driving vehicles without a test driver in the driver’s seat. These vehicles will travel within a defined geographic area in the Phoenix region where they have tested extensively. These vehicles will operate alongside our existing test fleet that will continue to have a Waymo driver at the wheel monitoring the system.

In April, Waymo also launched an early rider program in Phoenix where select members of the public use Waymo self-driving cars for their transportation needs – everything from their commute to work to soccer practice with their kids. Over the next several months, Waymo’s “early riders” will also have the chance to access these fully self-driving cars. Watch a video of our new phase of testing here. 

Waymo CEO John Krafcik: “Safety is our top priority and is at the center of everything we do. Over the past eight years of careful development and robust testing, our vehicles have been undergoing the world’s longest driving test to be safe and experienced drivers on the road. We are confident that our cars are reliable and ready to start test-driving without a test driver in the driver’s seat. Our ultimate goal is for fully self-driving car technology to deliver on its promise to improve road safety and save thousands of lives.”

Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny: “Waymo’s work here in Chandler is groundbreaking as they work toward their goal of fully autonomous vehicles. At the same time, this research and development taking place in our community will ultimately make our roads safer and provide new freedom for those unable to drive. I look forward to a continued partnership with Waymo as they continue to develop this technology here in Chandler and throughout the region.” 

Senator Bob Worsley: “Arizona is now the destination for live-saving self-driving car technology, and we congratulate Waymo on the tremendous progress they’ve made by moving into the safest, fully self-driving cars the world has ever seen. Self-driving car technology holds the potential to be transformational, and Arizona is emerging as a global leader in making our roads safer and transportation more accessible for all.”

Transportation Director for Maricopa Association of Governments Eric Anderson: “Safety is essential to the well-being of Arizona and our roadways, and self-driving car technology could make our roads safer and save thousands of lives tragically lost every year. Waymo’s next phase of testing fully self-driving cars brings us another step closer to that reality.”

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President & CEO Glenn Hamer: “Self-driving cars are the future of transportation, and Waymo is putting Arizona on the map as the leading destination for this cutting edge, life-saving technology. We welcome Waymo’s incredible progress and are glad to see their innovation thrive here.”

In October, Waymo became the first company to publicly release a Safety Report that outlines the robust processes and sophisticated technologies used to ensure our vehicles are safe. Waymo’s self-driving vehicles have driven in more than 20 U.S. cities, accumulating more than 3.5 million autonomous miles on public roads, and have been subjected to more than 20,000 structured tests so the cars can master handling rare and unusual cases. In addition, Waymo backs up this real world experience in simulation, where our self-driving software drives more than 10 million miles every day.

Waymo’s self-driving cars are also equipped with safety features specially designed for full autonomy. All of the self-driving vehicles are built with many layers of safety, including backup steering, braking power and compute. Waymo cars run hundreds of thousands of “health” checks every second and if an issue is detected, the vehicles are capable of bringing themselves to a safe stop.

In October, Waymo joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, the Foundation for Blind Children, the Foundation for Senior Living, and the East Valley Partnership to launch the world’s first public education campaign on how fully self-driving car technology can transform and save lives.