The program will evaluate employee productivity while commuting to and from off-site work meetings and potential savings to the cost of a city-owned fleet of vehicles, according to the news release. The partnership will begin in June and will continue for at least one year.
“We’ve worked closely with Waymo for the past several years and it’s a natural progression to utilize their technology,” Mayor Kevin Hartke said in a release. “Our City is an innovation and technology hub; in fact, Chandler has been dubbed the Self-Driving Capital of the World in media reports. We’re proud to have another innovative first with this partnership to explore increased productivity and cost savings related to our motor pool fleet.”
Chandler hails itself as a hub for autonomous vehicle technology. Waymo first brought its autonomous vehicles to the area in 2016, and Waymo currently operates out of a 39,000-square-foot warehouse in Chandler. The city also is home to Intel's Autonomous Vehicle Lab, Mobileye and other autonomous vehicle technology companies, according to the city's website.
For the time being, several dozen employees will participate in the program, using the Waymo app to schedule a ride within the company's service area when they have off-site work meetings.
Improvements underway on Arizona Avenue will create an autonomous vehicle-designated pickup and drop-off spot at Chandler City Hall, according to the news release.
All work-related rides will be charged to employees’ purchasing card. After every trip, employees must complete a rider survey and submit receipts via email, according to the city.