Waymo is also teaming with shopping center owner DDR Corp. and Element Hotel and is expanding its existing partnerships with AutoNation and Avis Budget Group to offer early riders more convenience.
Waymo is bringing more convenience to early riders in Phoenix, Ariz.
As part of a new test pilot launching later this week, Google parent company Alphabet’s self-driving car division will begin transporting riders to and from Walmart stores in the Metro Phoenix area to pick up their grocery orders. Riders participating in the pilot can snag savings when ordering groceries via Walmart.com. A driverless Waymo vehicle will then pick up the customer and drive them to the store where they can collect their groceries.
“We know from our early riders that most of their rides are to run errands, shop for groceries, commute to work, head to dinner, or fix their personal vehicles,” the Waymo team wrote in a Wednesday blog post.
Waymo is also teaming with shopping center owner DDR Corp. to bring people to and from the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center in Chandler, Ariz. so they can “avoid the stress of parking lots,” the company wrote. Another new partnership with the Element Hotel in Chandler will give “select guests” access to Waymo vehicles for a “VIP experience.” Waymo said this could come in handy for “business travelers who need to commute to and from the office during frequent stays.”
The company is also expanding its existing partnerships with AutoNation and Avis Budget Group in Phoenix. AutoNation already services Waymo vehicles and Avis charges, refuels, and cleans them. Both companies will now be making the autonomous vehicles available to their customers.
“While customers are having their personal vehicles serviced, AutoNation will now offer them a Waymo, rather than a loaner car, to get around,” Waymo wrote. Meanwhile, Avis “will also soon provide Waymos as a last mile solution for Avis customers in Phoenix to help them pick up or drop off their rental cars.”
Waymo launched its early rider program in April 2017, and now transports more than 400 riders around the Phoenix area every day.
“While these are Metro Phoenix-specific partnerships today, these businesses are national and what we learn from these programs will give us a network of partners when we launch in new cities down the road,” Waymo wrote.