Waymo provides driverless rides for Super Bowl visitors
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Uber and Lyft drivers are busy this week with all the visitors in town for the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open. But there’s another option if they need a ride around Phoenix.
Waymo has been offering driverless rides around the city for a few years. But thousands of people will be in town this week seeing them for the first time, and they offer a great alternative for visitors looking to move around Phoenix.
Waymo has had an “autonomous ride-hailing service” in the Valley for over two years, taking you for a drive without a driver. The cars are easy to spot with their sensors, “LIDAR” systems, and 29 cameras keeping an eye on traffic.
But for visitors in town this week, they’re like a crazy glimpse into the future. “This is one of the biggest stages for Phoenix, and we’re going to have people coming in from all over the world,” said Amanda Ventura, Public Affairs Manager from Waymo. “And this is one of the only places in the world that you can experience this kind of technology and this service.”
Waymo has ramped up its fleet of self-driving vehicles in Phoenix to meet this week’s added demand. It works much like any other ride-hailing service. Download the “Waymo One” app, create an account, and get a ride. It costs about the same as Uber or Lyft, but unlike those two services, there’s no surge pricing, so even at peak times, you pay the standard rate.
Waymo is hoping visitors take advantage. “From the moment they touch down at Phoenix Sky Harbor, they will be able to hail a vehicle, a Waymo vehicle, and come downtown and experience all the cool stuff that the Super Bowl Host Committee has planned,” Ventura said.
Judd Norris with the Super Bowl Host Committee says with thousands of people from around the world descending to downtown, they need as many transportation options as possible. He says having something special in the mix, like driverless cars, is a perfect fit. “If it’s the Super Bowl, everything has to be bigger,” Norris said. “It has to be better. It has to be more unique, and what better way to drive around downtown than in an autonomous vehicle? And I can’t wait to see some of our visitors looking at these cars with no drivers as they’re being dropped off and picked up as they ease around downtown Phoenix.”
Another advantage of an autonomous car is safety. Car crashes tend to spike hours after the Super Bowl, and about half involve alcohol. The Waymo car is never drunk, never drowsy, and may be able to spot a drunk driver before you can.
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