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Alphabet (GOOGL) Expands Trusted Tester in Downtown Phoenix

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Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) is leaving no stone unturned to expand its Waymo ride-hailing service across the United States.

This is evident from the latest move of making its Early Rider program, now called Trusted Tester, available to the public in downtown Phoenix.

People interested in becoming Waymo One Trusted Testers are required to download the Waymo app and complete a survey.

Currently, the service is available to a small group of test riders.

At present, Waymo vehicles are operating from north to Camelback and 44th Street to the east in the downtown.

Notably, this bodes well for the company’s plan to expand in downtown Phoenix, which was announced in late March this year.

The latest move marks Waymo’s expansion in Phoenix. Notably, Waymo vehicles began its ride-hailing service from the East Valley of Phoenix.

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Expanding Waymo Efforts

The recent step is in sync with the company’s strengthening efforts toward expanding its operations, fleet and making the vehicles more rider-friendly.

The company recently revealed that it would make its ride-hailing vehicles fully driverless on the streets of San Francisco. This also marks Waymo’s first expansion outside Phoenix.

The company recently partnered with Geely, a China-based automotive company. Per the terms of the deal, Geely’s electric mobility brand, Zeekr, will design and develop electric vehicles for Waymo, into which Waymo Driver will be integrated.

The vehicles will be first introduced on the roads of the United States. With the Geely partnership, Waymo will expand its Waymo One fleet.

Apart from this, Waymo teamed up with Google’s Maps to ensure a seamless booking experience for Waymo One. This enables customers to book Waymo One directly from the Maps app.

The endeavors will help Alphabet further penetrate the booming autonomous driving space.

Per a report by Mordor Intelligence, the worldwide driverless vehicle market is expected to see a CAGR of 18.06% between 2021 and 2026.

Intensifying Competition

Given the upbeat scenario, not only Alphabet but companies like Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , Intel (INTC - Free Report) and Baidu (BIDU - Free Report) are also making every effort to capitalize on the growth prospects in the autonomous driving space.

Amazon’s buyout of Zoox, a developer of autonomous ride-hailing vehicles, remains a major positive. Further, the company’s launch of its first self-driving robotaxi strengthened its position in the autonomous driving space.

Zoox has been testing its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Foster City. It intends to open an engineering office and operations facility this year, which will act as a base for its autonomous vehicle testing.

Meanwhile, Intel is gaining from the low power consumption of Mobileye chips and the ability to create maps for self-driving systems. The company intends on introducing a pilot for autonomous taxis and ride-hailing services in Munich and Tel Aviv in 2022.

In addition to this, Mobileye recently teamed up with German electric mobility unit Benteler EV Systems and Beep to develop and deploy self-driving, fully-electric shuttles in the United States by 2024.

Baidu is gaining from expanding the Apollo Go Robotaxi service, which features about 100 pick-up and drop-off stations across several residential and business areas.

Nevertheless, Alphabet’s growing autonomous driving initiatives are likely to help it stay ahead of the curve.

Currently, Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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