Self-Driving Cars With No Human Backups in Testing on Arizona Roads

Self-Driving Cars With No Human Backups in Testing on Arizona Roads

Self-Driving Cars With No Human Backups in Testing on Arizona Roads

Since Waymo began as a project in Google's "moonshot" lab in 2009, its vehicles have logged more than 5.6 million kilometres of autonomous driving on U.S. roads, according to the company.

"To have a vehicle on public roads without a person at the wheel, we've built some unique safety features into this minivan".

While Krafcik has yet to say exactly when Waymo's ride-hailing service will launch, the first metropolitan area where people will be able to order a Waymo is Phoenix, he said. Little did we know at the time, they were already doing it.

Waymo is testing vehicles on public roads with only an employee in the back seat.

Like the rest of the self-driving industry, Waymo has generally kept test drivers in self-driving vehicles as a safeguard.

The service will be free at first, but Waymo expects at some point to start charging for rides, a potential way to earn revenue to help offset the steep costs involved in developing the technology.

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Krafcik said Waymo's cars have already driven autonomously the equivalent of 140 times around the globe, and in just the past year have driven billions of miles in simulation. "We're committed to building what we call fully self-driving technology". The company's vehicles have traveled more than 3.5 million miles on public roads, and only one has been reported to cause a crash-a vehicle in California last year hit the side of a bus at two miles an hour last year.

Ride-sharing start-ups such as Uber and Lyft have also been making technological headway and forging partnerships in this arena, largely driven by the fact that their business models go from questionable to lucrative if a human driver is no longer part of the equation. We also have short range lasers that stay focused close-up to the side of the vehicle.

Chandler's local government has been informed of the driverless cars, and appears to welcome the fame (and scrutiny) that comes with playing host to Waymo's experiment.

"This research and development taking place in our community will ultimately make our roads safer and provide new freedom for those unable to drive". They hail the vehicles using a Waymo app, and being the trip onboard with a push of a button. "People will get to use our fleet of on-demand vehicles, to do anything from commute to work, get home from a night out, or run errands", Krafcik said.

Ditching the human test driver may sound alarming, but it brings Waymo closer to offering a truly autonomous vehicle.

The brain-bending, potentially earth-moving technology that allows self-driving cars to drive themselves has generally come with an asterisk - in the form of an old-fashioned flesh-and-blood driver sitting behind the wheel, just in case.

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