- Waymo will expand its operations in Arizona by opening an 85,000-square-foot technical service center in Mesa, the company announced in a blog post. Once operational, the center is expected to support hundreds of jobs related to the company's autonomous vehicle (AV) research and deployment.
- The new site will be used as a second technical and maintenance site for the company’s self-driving taxi fleet, which is operational for a select group of users in the Phoenix area. It will complement Waymo’s existing 60,000-square-foot service center in Chandler, AZ.
- "Metro Phoenix offers everything we need to continue building safe and reliable self-driving technology: a large area with broad, yet complex, city streets; a wide-spread suburban population that relies heavily on vehicle transport; and of course, lots of gorgeous sunny days for driving while we also invest in further weather testing," Waymo wrote in the blog post.
Waymo, a Google offshoot, has relied on Arizona’s friendly attitude toward self-driving vehicles to launch its autonomous ride-hailing service and rack up millions of miles of road testing. In its announcement of the new Mesa center, Waymo acknowledged that Phoenix was an "innovation-minded region that shares our vision of improving mobility for all." Gov. Doug Ducey has taken an industry-friendly approach to AVs, encouraging companies to test on public roads and offering state and university resources, including the creation of an Institute for Automated Mobility that will involve a test track.
The center is also a show of strength for Waymo One, the company’s ride-hailing service that launched in December. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, more than 20,000 people have signed up to participate in an “early rider” program to pilot the service (it was initially only open to about 400 people and still only has “hundreds” of participants, according to the Republic). The new service center will allow Waymo to put even more cars on the road as it slowly expands its customer base.