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November 22, 2019

Why I Ride with Waymo: Micah

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Editor’s note: In June, the City of Chandler and Waymo launched an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing program to evaluate employee productivity while commuting and potential fleet cost savings. In this Why I Ride with Waymo, Micah, the Economic Development Director for the City and a father of four, shares his experience being part of this first-of-its-kind pilot program.

Hi there, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hello, I’m Micah, and I’m the Economic Development Director for the City of Chandler in Arizona, where I lead an incredible team that promotes Chandler as a preferred business and tourism location. As an Arizona native, it's fascinating to see autonomous vehicles (AVs) grow in my own backyard, and working with tech companies that contribute to the AV industry, including Waymo, make it come full circle for me.

What is it like riding with Waymo?

My first ride was fascinating. I was taking it all in, and then I quickly realized it was spectacularly un-spectacular. Waymo vehicles drive the speed limit and are extra cautious. Also, given the fact that Chandler is pretty warm in the summer, it is amazing to jump into a cool car on a hot summer day without having to wait for it to cool down! 

What do you primarily use Waymo One for, and what benefits does it offer you over other methods of transportation?
The majority of my day is spent in meetings at City Hall or at off-site locations, so I primarily use Waymo to travel around Chandler for business. Waymo One gives me time back to make calls and safely review emails and documents while I ride, which I couldn’t do if I were driving a city vehicle.

There is also a new pick-up and drop-off location for autonomous and ride-share vehicles right in front of City Hall, which makes using Waymo One super convenient. As I hop off the City Hall elevator, I’m only steps away from the vehicle pick-up location. This is also another first for the nation — we’re the first city to develop site plan guidelines that encourage properties to designate AV pick-up and drop-off locations for autonomous transport.

What are you looking forward to with Waymo One?

My colleagues and I are anxiously awaiting the expansion of Waymo’s service area. There are many instances where we need to travel to further locations, such as the state capital; I can only imagine how productive our drives would be for those longer commutes.

Would you use Waymo One in your personal life?

As a parent of four kids, there are days when I feel like a chauffeur myself. We’re constantly on the go and we don’t travel lightly. We have multiple car seats, baseball equipment and our fair share of goldfish crackers in our personal vehicles. But I can see myself using Waymo for a date night with my wife, hopefully sooner than later!

What do you think the potential is for self-driving cars, in your life and more broadly?

I’m still young (at least I think I am), but in the future, I see Waymo’s technology essential to mobility and increasing the productivity and efficiency of travel. In my work life, Chandler has been dubbed as the “Self-Driving Capital of the World” by national media. We’ve gotten our fair share of attention partnering with Waymo, and as a Community of Innovation, Chandler’s leading the way as a hub for AV technology. It’s an exciting time for Chandler to be at the forefront of this emerging technology.