Autonomous vehicle company Waymo are said to be providing dozens of city employees in Chandler, Arizona with self-driving cars.
The city is planning to evaluate whether the use of autonomous vehicles would cut the city’s costs to maintain and operate its vehicle fleet and boosts employee productivity.
AzCentral reports that the city’s partnership with Waymo will begin this July and will last at least a year. The city has budgeted $30,000 for the programme.
Chandler has been ‘ground zero’ for autonomous vehicle testing in metro Phoenix, according to AzCentral. Waymo has been testing its autonomous vehicles in the area since 2016 and Waymo has an operations centre in Chandler and is also opening a technical service centre in Mesa this year.
Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke told AzCentral. ‘We’ve worked closely with Waymo for the past several years and it’s a natural progression to utilise their technology.’
‘We’re proud to have another innovative first with this partnership to explore increased productivity and cost savings related to our motor pool fleet,’ added Hartke.
The partnership intends to allow employees who have meetings outside of City Hall to use the Waymo app to schedule a ride to meetings within the Waymo service area.
Dezbah Hatathli, policy and community manager for Waymo in Chandler said, ‘We’re thrilled that city employees will now be able to ride in Waymo vehicles to get around for work. Our hope is that this collaboration allows the city to realise its goal of reducing its vehicle fleet and lowering costs.’