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Uber begins offering rides in self-driving Waymo cars

Passengers ride in an electric Waymo full self-driving technology in Santa Monica

Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Customers ordering an Uber in Phoenix now have the option to take their ride in a fully autonomous vehicle, the company announced in a blog post Thursday.

Uber partnered with the autonomous car company Waymo, owned by Google parent Alphabet, in May. Phoenix is the first city where Uber has publicly rolled out access to Waymo’s cars, in part because it is “the largest fully autonomous service area in the world,” according to a release.

The autonomous Uber rides will be serviced by Waymo vehicles, and rides will be the same price as the traditional car rides Uber offers, an Uber spokesperson told CNBC. The spokesperson added that both Uber and Waymo have received support from local regulators.

Customers who request a ride in an UberX, Uber Comfort, Uber Comfort Electric or Uber Green within Waymo’s operating territory could be paired with one of its autonomous cars. Users will be notified in the Uber app if they are paired with a fully autonomous vehicle, and they can choose to accept or reject the car.

Shares of Uber closed down more than 4% on Thursday.

People who are eager to try the autonomous rides can also increase the chances of being matched with one if they update their preferences in the app. There is also a 24/7 customer helpline for passengers who are traveling in a Waymo car.

Uber declined to share how many Waymo cars are being serviced in Pheonix or when it plans to roll out the feature in other cities.

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