'The future is here': Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport welcomes fully autonomous Waymo vehicles

By Christina Estes
Published: Friday, December 16, 2022 - 3:13pm
Updated: Friday, December 16, 2022 - 4:02pm

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport says it’s the first airport in the world to offer fully autonomous vehicle rides.

On Friday, Mayor Kate Gallego arrived at the Sky Train's 44th Street station in a Waymo vehicle with no person behind the wheel.

“The future is here,” she said after emerging from the back seat of a white electric Jaguar.

The mayor’s ride marks the start of Waymo’s fully autonomous service to 44th and Washington streets where the train moves people to Sky Harbor Airport.

“I enjoyed watching the interface where you see every pedestrian, every car. You get to see what the vehicle sees, and it makes me feel much safer because it can see so much more at once than I am able to see,” Gallego said.

Waymo service in Phoenix
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Waymo service in Phoenix features fully electric Jaguar I-PACE models.

She said offering fully autonomous rides from the airport to downtown will be especially attractive to Super Bowl visitors. Right now, Waymo’s airport rides are only available from its Phoenix service area to anyone who downloads the company’s app. Waymo said airport service is available 24/7.

The company has expanded its Phoenix self-driving service from about Interstate 17 east to state Route 143 and from the airport north to Camelback Road. The company also offers fully autonomous service in the East Valley.

In a press release, Saswat Panigrahi, chief product officer at Waymo said, “Our progress in two of the most popular ride-hailing cities in the country is accelerating. As we add more neighborhoods and vehicles to our service in San Francisco and Phoenix, we’re excited to bring the safety and mobility benefits of round-the-clock autonomy to more people in more places.”
Waymo provides 24/7 service across all of San Francisco.

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