March 17, 2020 1:45 PM, EDT

Waymo Pauses Most Operations in Response to COVID-19

A Waymo vehicle in Mountain View, Calif., in May 2019. A Waymo vehicle in Mountain View, Calif., in May 2019. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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Waymo is pausing most operations in Arizona and California in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced March 17.

Alphabet’s self-driving car unit sent a message to riders saying that all trips in the Phoenix area with safety drivers in the front would cease, “in the interest of the health and safety of our riders.” Most of Waymo’s vehicles in Phoenix still operate with safety drivers.

The company said that its fully driverless operations in Phoenix would continue for now as would its delivery and trucking services. “Removing the human driver holds great promise for not only for making our roads safer, but for helping our riders stay healthy in these uncertain times,” the company’s statement said.

Waymo is also pausing its test driving in California.

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