Uber partners with Alphabet’s Waymo to offer driverless rides

Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) will offer driverless cars on its ride-hailing and food delivery platform later this year through a partnership with Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Waymo, the companies said.

Uber customers will be able to use a set number of Waymo’s driverless vehicles for rides and deliveries within a 180 square mile area in Phoenix, Arizona, they said in a blog on Tuesday.

Commercializing fully autonomous vehicles, especially robotaxis, has been harder than expected with tough regulations, complicated technology and heavy investments forcing some to cut jobs and even shut shop.

Uber’s wide network will give Waymo, which also operates in San Francisco and is looking to expand to Los Angeles, “an opportunity to reach even more people,” Waymo’s co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana said.

For Uber, this provides a fillip to its long-held self-driving ambitions just as its ride-hailing service reaches pre-pandemic levels.