Back in March, Alphabet-owned autonomous driving company Waymo decided to suspend their driving operations in response to COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the company’s services. Now Waymo has announced that starting today (Monday, May 11th), Arizonans will begin to see some of Waymo’s vehicles back on the road. Waymo is restarting its driving operation in the Metro Phoenix area after careful consideration and active conversations with the company’s teams, partners, and local and state authorities.
The company released a press released and the steps it was making to move forward in a safe manner, which includes practicing social distancing guidelines in its facilities as well as cleaning its fleet of vehicles several times a day. “We’re taking a thoughtful and measured approach towards bringing our driving operations back on the road,” Waymo said.
Being the location of where the company first started testing its self-driving fleet, its no surprise that the Phoenix area would be the first area the company would reopen operations. The company plans to restart other operations in the weeks to come to cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Detroit.
Back in 2018, Chrysler and Waymo announced they will expand their partnership with an agreement to add up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo’s self-driving fleet. The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans are one of the most advanced vehicles on the road today, equipped with Waymo’s self-driving system, including a powerful hardware suite and software honed over 10 million miles of on-road testing.