In context: Waymo recently clocked in over 8 million miles of fully-autonomous driving, with their fleet of self-driving cars traveling roughly 24,000 miles on a daily basis. A significant portion of this mileage likely comes from the company's "early rider" autonomous taxi program in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Later this week, that program is seeing an expansion through Waymo's new partnership with Walmart.
Specifically, Waymo will act as a ferry between Walmart locations and consumer homes. Customers can order groceries online through Walmart's website, call a Waymo vehicle to pick them up and ride to the store to grab their supplies at a discount.
This program is launching later this week in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Waymo hasn't made it clear how users will take advantage of the service, nor is it evident whether or not the service will cost money. However, since the autonomous ride-hailing service is restricted to members of Waymo's "early rider" program, most eligible users likely already know how everything works.
In other news, Waymo has also announced expansions to existing vehicle maintenance partnerships they have with AutoNation and Avis Budget Group. Currently, the companies offer their customers loaner vehicles while their personal cars are in the shop.
Now, instead of a loaner car, Phoenix-based Avis and AutoNation customers could get access to a self-driving Waymo vehicle for city travel. Interestingly, this service does not appear to be limited to members of Waymo's early rider program.