Waymo and Lyft partner to scale self-driving robotaxi service in Phoenix

Waymo is partnering with Lyft to bring self-driving vehicles onto the ride-hailing network in Phoenix as the company ramps up its commercial robotaxi service.

Waymo will add 10 of its self-driving vehicles onto the Lyft platform over the next few months, according to Waymo CEO John Krafcik. Once Waymo vehicles are on the platform, Lyft users in the area will have the option to select a Waymo directly from the Lyft app for eligible rides.

“This first step in our partnership will allow us to introduce the Waymo Driver to Lyft users, enabling them to take what for many will be their first ride in a self-driving vehicle,” Krafcik said in a blog posted Tuesday.

The companies didn’t provide further details about the partnership, but it appears to be similar to Lyft’s relationship with Aptiv, the U.S. auto supplier and self-driving software company. Under that partnership, Aptiv’s self-driving vehicles operate on Lyft’s ride-hailing platform in Las Vegas. As of April 2019, the vehicles had provided more than 40,000 paid autonomous rides in Las Vegas via the Lyft app.

Waymo has been ramping up its autonomous ride-hailing network in Phoenix for months now. In April, the company made its ride-hailing service, and accompanying app, Waymo One, more widely available by putting it on the Google Play store.

The company, which spun out to become a business under Alphabet, launched Waymo One in the Phoenix area in December. The Waymo One self-driving car service, and accompanying app, was only available to Phoenix residents who were part of its early rider program, which aimed to bring vetted regular folks into its self-driving minivans.