Waymo Expansion Makes Phoenix ‘World’s Largest Self-Driving Car Zone’

The company’s autonomous taxis will soon be available in most parts of the metro area including Tempe, Mesa, and a new airport pick-up location.

1 minute read

May 8, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Blue and green Waymo logo on black square mounted on grey concrete background

gguy / Waymo logo

The Phoenix metropolitan area is now home to the largest contiguous autonomous car service area in the world, reports Corina Vanek for Arizona Republic, after the company doubled its coverage area last week. The company also plans to grow its Phoenix-area fleet with an unspecified number of vehicles.

The expansion connects a 40-square-mile coverage area and a 50-square-mile coverage area, creating a 180-square-mile service zone. The area now includes most of Tempe and parts of Old Town Scottsdale and Mesa. “So far, the vehicles only provide autonomous rides on freeways to Waymo employees with a specialist present, a company spokesperson said. Employees are providing feedback about freeway travel before the company rolls out freeway trips to the public.”

Waymo and other autonomous car operators and manufacturers such as Cruise and Tesla are facing backlash and federal investigations for deploying their vehicles on public streets before the technology is fully vetted and for misleading marketing. Phoenix residents have observed Waymo cars idling on neighborhood streets or stalled in traffic, while San Francisco’s Waymo fleet has had multiple run-ins with emergency personnel and law enforcement, with city officials calling the situation ‘mayhem’ in a letter to the state. Meanwhile, driverless cars raise ethical questions about AV testing and responsibility in crashes and other incidents.

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