Where do driverless cars go when they’re on break? Some idle in Phoenix neighborhoods

So what’s an unoccupied Waymo vehicle to do?

Downtown Phoenix resident David Clarke knows.

“They’re picking spots where it’s perfectly legal to park. And they’re taking themselves there,” he said. “And they’re waiting, with the lights on, and the sensors still running.”

“It might seem less strange if they turned off.”

Clarke lives in Garfield, an eclectic neighborhood just east of downtown. Last fall, he began to notice Waymo vehicles congregating on the street outside his apartment.

“Pretty much any time I’m home I can look out and there’s a 50/50 chance of one being there,” he said.

He would watch them pull up smoothly and stop at the curb, lights on, motors running, signature lidar detectors spinning endlessly. Sometimes there would be more than one, as if they had planned to meet at that very spot and hang out.