As Waymo's self-driving vehicles continue to clock up the miles, the company is now focusing its trips based on feedback from the first year of its early riders program in Phoenix, Arizona. As well as expanding existing partnerships, Waymo has now teamed up with Walmart and DDR Corp to streamline shopping.
Last month, the Google spinoff revealed the top 10 things that its early riders have been using the autonomous car service for. The lineup includes the usual everyday errands like commuting to work and school, going out to restaurants and bars, shopping, hitting the gym or catching a ride home after dropping off their own car for repair.
With that in mind, Waymo has announced new partnerships to help with those tasks. Walmart is the big one, with the two companies buddying up to launch a test pilot program this week that lets early riders do their shopping faster. Participants get a discount when they place their orders online, then those orders are put together while the Waymo cars drive them to the store and back home again.
Through the DDR partnership, riders can catch a lift to the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center, to go shopping, dine out or see a movie. The best bit is, you won't need to crawl around the parking lot for 20 minutes looking for a spot: the Waymo just drops you at the door and comes back later.
Other expansions include the Element Hotel, which will give some guests access to Waymo cars to get around the city during their stay. AutoNation will now hand out Waymos as loaner vehicles while the passengers' own are being serviced, and customers of Avis Budget Group can now use Waymo to pick up or drop off rental cars.
Of course, all of these services are pretty local to Phoenix, but as Waymo says, the pilot programs will help the companies figure out what works and how to improve things before expanding to new cities.
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