Like many Americans, Ted, Candace and their four kids have a busy driving routine — heading to work, to school, soccer practice, student council, choir rehearsal and more. Except Ted and Candace aren’t commuting in a typical car. Over the last month, this family, along with a handful of Phoenix, AZ residents, has been riding around in Waymo’s fleet of self-driving vehicles. They’re among the very first people in the world to take part in Waymo’s early rider program.
Now, residents in the Phoenix area can apply to join Candace, Ted, and their family in the early rider program. Over the course of this trial, we’ll be accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs who want to ride in and give feedback about Waymo’s self-driving cars. Rather than offering people one or two rides, the goal of this program is to give participants access to our fleet every day, at any time, to go anywhere within an area that’s about twice the size of San Francisco.
We want as many people as possible to experience our technology, and we want to bring self-driving cars to more communities sooner. So in addition to our early rider program, today we’re announcing that we’re adding another 500 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to our fleet. This is on top of the 100 self-driving Pacifica minivans that we began putting on public roads earlier this year, and it represents a six-fold increase in our fleet.
Over the last eight years, we’ve been focused on the technology behind our self-driving cars: racking up millions of miles of experience, teaching our cars advanced driving skills, and improving the performance of our software. Now, with this program, we’re turning our attention to the people who will benefit from this technology: people like Ted, Candace, and their kids, who will be using our self-driving cars in their daily lives. We’ll learn things like where people want to go in a self-driving car, how they communicate with our vehicles, and what information and controls they want to see inside.
Our early riders will play an important role in shaping the way we bring self-driving technology into the world — through personal cars, public transportation, ride-hailing, logistics and more. Self-driving cars have the potential to reshape each and every one of these areas, transforming our lives and our cities by making them safer, more convenient and more accessible.
Phoenix area residents can check their eligibility and apply for the early rider program at waymo.com/apply.