Dear Waymo community,
Around 20 years ago, at the age of 31, Sharon Giovinazzo faced a daunting new reality: losing her vision.
“Navigating life independently seemed like an impossible feat,” she says. “Ride-hail promised a solution, but has proved to be another disappointment — I’ve been denied rides multiple times simply because I choose to navigate the world with a guide dog.”
Last year, through her work with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired San Francisco, Sharon was introduced to autonomous vehicles, and her perspective on her mobility possibilities changed.
“That first ride felt like stepping into the future,” she says. “It opened a door to a world where disability didn’t equate to limitations, but to newfound freedom. No denials, no fear.”
Sharon has since become an active Waymo One rider as we carefully scaled up our operations this year. Tens of thousands of people now ride with Waymo every week. By the end of November, they’d taken over 700,000 trips in 2023 alone:
In Phoenix, we more than doubled our service territory this year and then further expanded our service to downtown Scottsdale. Anyone can hail a Waymo One ride in over 225 square miles — an area about 10x the size of Manhattan — including from the Uber app.
In San Francisco, we expanded our public operations to cover the entire mainland city and continue welcoming more riders.
We also expanded our operations in Los Angeles and Austin as we prepare to launch wider services in the future. Angelenos were first, as thousands experience fully autonomous rides through the Waymo One Tour, and we’ll incrementally open our doors to more riders in both cities next year.
This isn’t abstract progress. It reflects the daily lives of our riders. A once-unbelievable idea — that a vehicle with no driver behind the wheel could get you from A to B in your daily life — is quickly becoming a reality, and for many more people. The Waymo Driver is beginning to have cascading benefits for the communities where we operate.
Evidence for the safety benefits is growing: the Waymo Driver is involved in far fewer crashes that lead to injuries or police reports, or insurance claims, than comparable human drivers. Our more than 20 safety papers that we’ve published over the years show that Waymo’s autonomous driving technology is designed to operate safely on the road and is in fact safer than comparable human benchmarks.
It is a privilege to share the road with everyone in the cities in which we operate — our riders, human drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and first responders, to name a few.
This year provided clear reminders of the importance of learning from our riders, operating with humility, and demonstrating trustworthiness to the communities in which we operate. We partner with over 100 local and national nonprofits that work to improve road safety and make mobility more accessible because being a part of your daily lives is a responsibility we take incredibly seriously. We’re deeply grateful for their partnership and wisdom.
To each of our riders, we say thank you. You have trusted us to drive you where you need to go safely and efficiently, and we spend every day focused on delivering that promise.
Thanks for coming along for the journey. We can't wait to continue it together in 2024!
Tekedra and Dmitri