Uber Technologies Inc. will soon begin offering rides in self-driving cars through a partnership with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, the companies said on Tuesday, a move that nudges autonomous driving closer to the mainstream.
Later this year, Uber will begin transporting passengers and making deliveries in parts of Arizona using cars outfitted with autonomous driving technology from Waymo. The service will be limited to a set number of vehicles in a 180-square-mile swath of the greater Phoenix area where Waymo operates, the companies said.
“Fully autonomous driving is quickly becoming part of everyday life, and we’re excited to bring Waymo’s incredible technology to the Uber platform,” Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.
As part of the partnership, people will be able to request Waymo’s services through Uber’s apps for ride-hailing and delivery, the companies said.
“Uber has long been a leader in human-operated ridesharing, and the pairing of our pioneering technology and all-electric fleet with their customer network provides Waymo with an opportunity to reach even more people,” Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo, said.
The partnership culminates the rapprochement of two companies that were once locked in a bitter dispute over the very technology at the heart of the deal. Uber once harbored self-driving ambitions of its own, but the company abandoned those plans after Waymo filed a lawsuit accusing Uber and an engineer it had hired of stealing Waymo’s technology.
Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in stock in 2018 and settled the full litigation in February of 2022, and the companies have deepened ties over the past year, announcing another partnership on autonomous trucking last June.
The latest accord will expose more riders to Waymo’s technology as the Google sister company ramps up its campaign to build a commercially viable business. In addition to its operations in Phoenix, the company offers rides in San Francisco and is conducting tests in Austin and Los Angeles.