Beginning later this year, Phoenix area residents and visitors will be able to hail Waymo taxis through Uber, thanks to a new “multi-year” partnership the two companies announced on Tuesday. The pact will see a “set number” of Waymo vehicles made available to Uber users for rides and deliveries. The announcement comes after Waymo recently doubled its Phoneix service area to 180 square miles. Waymo spokesperson Katherine Barna told The Verge the robotaxis the company is making available to Uber users wouldn’t be exclusive to the platform. Phoenix residents can continue to turn to the Waymo One if they want an autonomous ride somewhere.
“We’re excited to offer another way for people to experience the enjoyable and life-saving benefits of full autonomy,” said Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana. “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.”
Notably, the partnership sees two companies that were once rivals coming closer together. In 2017, Waymo parent company Alphabet sued Uber for stealing trade secrets. At the center of that legal battle was Otto, a self-driving truck startup founded by former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski. In 2018, Uber settled with Alphabet four days after the case went to trial. As for Levandowski, he was later charged and convicted of stealing materials from his previous employer. On the last day of his administration, former President Donald Trump pardoned Levandowski.
Tuesday’s announcement only alludes to that history, noting Waymo and Uber “have in their own ways each revolutionized access to mobility.” That’s not surprising. In 2018, The Information reported Uber, following its settlement with Waymo, was open to collaborating with the company. Last year, the two partnered to work together on autonomous trucking.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uber-will-offer-waymo-robotaxi-rides-and-deliveries-in-phoenix-starting-later-this-year-163435980.html?src=rss