December 16, 2022

Phoenix airport 1st to offer self-driving ride service Waymo

A test group has been using Waymo vehicles from a train station, which connects to the airport terminals, to downtown Phoenix since early November.

Sky Harbor VIEW LARGER Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix.
Coleton Berry/Cronkite News

As Phoenix gets ready to host the Super Bowl, Mayor Kate Gallego announced Friday that Sky Harbor International Airport will be the first to offer the self-driving ride-hailing service Waymo.

“The future is here," Gallego said at a news conference in front of the airport’s sky train station. "Phoenix is the first airport anywhere in the world to have autonomous service bringing people to our airport."

A test group has been using Waymo vehicles from the station, which connects to the airport terminals, to downtown Phoenix since early November. The cars are electric Jaguar models.

The announcement comes at a time when the city wants to expand its reputation as a place for innovation and just before visitors arrive for the holidays and events such as the Super Bowl, on Feb. 12.

NFL fans will be able to take self-driving cars from the airport to downtown Phoenix, where many pregame festivities will happen, Gallego added.

The airport later this month will launch an extension of the PHX Sky Train connecting two major terminals to a rental car center. Typically, travelers have had to wait in long lines outside the terminals for courtesy shuttles.

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., will also double its service territory in downtown Phoenix, said Michelle Peacock, of Waymo.

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