Autonomous Vehicle

Waymo: Resuming its driving operations in Phoenix

In March, Waymo decided to suspend its driving operations in response to COVID-19 to ensure the safety of everyone involved in their services and local communities. Starting this coming Monday, May 11, Arizonans will begin to see some Waymo vehicles back on the road. The first part of their tiered approach to safely resume their operations begins with their test fleet and responsibly progresses to serving Waymo One riders again.
Even under the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, they’ve continued to advance their technology and mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. Their continued focus on hardware and software development, driving in simulated environments, and ongoing investment in advanced algorithms, machine learning, and evaluation means they have not taken their foot off the pedal during these unprecedented times.
Starting from May 2020, they’re beginning to restart their driving operations in the Metro Phoenix area after careful consideration and active conversations with their teams, partners, and local and state authorities. The health and safety of their riders, team, and partners is their number one priority as they begin driving again.
How they’re moving forward safely
Following guidance from the CDC, state, and local authorities, they’ve now taken several steps to ensure their team’s well-being as they begin to resume operations, including:
  • Redesigned how they work and move in their facilities: They’ve redefined how they work and move around in their facilities to respect social distancing guidelines, including spacing out their work areas to abide by the recommended six feet of social distancing, redefining the use of common areas, and limiting maximum capacity for their spaces.
  • New personal health & safety training: They’ve created trainings for their team around new safety standards and expectations, how they’ll work and move around in their facilities, as well as steps to ensure their health and safety, and that of their teammates. In line with Arizona guidance, their team will wear face masks in Waymo facilities or vehicles (unless a person is driving alone in the vehicle).
  • Increased cleaning and disinfection: They’ve deep cleaned their facilities and, in partnership with AutoNation, are conducting multiple daily cleanings of their vehicles.
  • Health monitoring: They’re working with an occupational healthcare provider to screen all individuals before they enter their facilities.

They’re taking a thoughtful and measured approach towards bringing their driving operations back on the road. They’ll begin driving in other cities in the days and weeks to come, including San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles, and the resumption of their driving operations in these locations will similarly be guided by ensuring the safety and health of their team in line with CDC and state and local guidance.

It feels good to get back on the road! Thanks to the Waymo One riders in Metro Phoenix for their patience as Waymo works to get their driving operations back online safely and in line with the new normal.
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