Waymo’s cars will be back on the road in Metro Phoenix as soon as May 11th. The Alphabet-owned autonomous driving company suspended its operations in March, save for some full-driverless rides, in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, after “careful consideration and active conversations” with its teams and authorities, Waymo has decided to implement a tiered approach in restarting its activities.
The company has listed the steps it’s taking to move forward safely, including practicing social distancing guidelines in its facilities and cleaning its vehicles multiple times a day. “We’re taking a thoughtful and measured approach towards bringing our driving operations back on the road,” Waymo said. Even with its new safety measures in place, the company will resume its operations little by little, starting by deploying its test fleet and then “responsibly progress[ing] to serving Waymo One riders again.”
Phoenix is a special place for the Waymo team, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s first on the list. It’s where the company first started testing its self-driving vehicles and where it usually launches new projects. In the coming days and weeks after May 11th, though, Waymo plans to resume its activities in other cities, including San Francisco, Detroit and Los Angeles.
Reporting by Mariella Moon for Engadget.