Waymo's autonomous cars don't need humans in the driver's seat anymore

Waymo's autonomous cars don't need humans in the driver's seat anymore

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google's parent company, reached an important milestone recently: since mid-October, the company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver - or any human at all - behind the wheel. It represents a raising of the stakes for the rest of the industry that sees full, Level 4 autonomy, in which a vehicle is capable of driving itself, with no human behind the wheel, in most environments and road conditions, as the ultimate goal.

The self-driving taxi fleet will at first be free to use, but the company envisions it will charge for the journeys at a later date.

Although it has outlined its autonomous vehicles' safety procedures in the past-and today's announcement mentioned the word "safe" 10 times-Waymo wasn't immediately available to explain how riders will actually be able to halt a ride if they feel unsafe.

Instances of people being killed in accidents involving self-driving cars will likely increase, argued Nidhi Kalra, leader author on a new study looking at self-driving safety. People could claim the cars for a day, a week "or even longer", he said.




Some of these users will be picked up over the coming months with an empty driver's seat. At the time, Krafcik declined to provide an exact timetable as to when it would begin testing fully self-driving vehicles on public roads. Arizona has been particularly welcoming to autonomous vehicle companies. Eventually the public will be allowed to travel alone. But those companies have existing manufacturing capabilities (like the automakers) and rider networks (like Uber) that Waymo lacks.

Public education is one piece of Waymo's strategy. Waymo employees sit in the back seat of the cars, monitoring them, a company spokesperson, Johnny Luu, said. The cars also feature screens that show where the vehicle is headed and what its sensors are seeing, from other cars to pedestrians. Waymo has partnered with Lyft but hasn't shared details on that deal.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced the fully driverless trials at Web Summit today, and revealed the video above, and also noted that while the trial is starting with employees first, it's soon going to expand to the existing members of the Chandler driverless ride hailing service trial that Waymo kicked off at the beginning of 2017.

"Because you're accessing vehicles rather than owning, in the future, you could choose from an entire fleet of vehicle options that are tailored to each trip you want to make", he said. "One for napping; a personal dining room; a mobile office; or a vehicle just for when moving into your new place", he said.

Related Articles

  • Researchers Give iPhone X The Worst-Ever Score For Durability

    Researchers Give iPhone X The Worst-Ever Score For Durability

    A second drop test is done on the front side of the phone extracted much more heavy damage to the handset. Hit the jump for the CNET's drop test on the iPhone X , and remember, It's not your phone being dropped.
    LeBron James scores 57, Cavaliers top Wiz 130-122, end skid

    LeBron James scores 57, Cavaliers top Wiz 130-122, end skid

    Even though there are cases of inconsistencies, they tend to bring as much as they can to the floor every night. In the first quarter alone Rose scored 9 points on 4-for-5 shooting and scored in a variety of ways.
    Bengals' AJ Green ejected for throwing punches in game against Jaguars

    Bengals' AJ Green ejected for throwing punches in game against Jaguars

    Ramsey hit Green late during a play, and Green got up and put Ramsey in a choke hold and proceeded to punch his helmet. It didn't help the Bengals offense when AJ Green was ejected during a scuffle with Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey .
  • Sean Payton mocks Jameis Winston's speech, says Mike Evans should've been ejected

    Sean Payton mocks Jameis Winston's speech, says Mike Evans should've been ejected

    Former Texas A&M WR Mike Evans briefly lost his mind on Sunday afternoon , and will pay for his actions with a 1-game suspension. I was glad he wasn't ejected. "I thought [Lattimore] was picking a fight with my quarterback".
    Trump heads to Japan with North Korea on his mind

    Trump heads to Japan with North Korea on his mind

    The two passed up the region's famed Kobe beef in favor of the American version, which is favored by Trump, a famed picky eater.
    Trump has memory lapse over meeting about Russian officials

    Trump has memory lapse over meeting about Russian officials

    Asked about his initial testimony at a hearing last month, Sessions again told Franken he did not communicate with Russians . But he downplayed the significance of the meetings, telling the Times he had "a very brief hello to a couple of people".
  • Disney Could Be Purchasing A Majority Of 20th Century Fox

    Disney Could Be Purchasing A Majority Of 20th Century Fox

    The two sides are not now talking at this moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited. If a deal like this did happen and did receive regulatory approval, it could have some significant effects on sports.
    Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston facing 'at least two weeks' out

    Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston facing 'at least two weeks' out

    Since his initial injured, the Bucs (2-6) have suffered three straight defeats to extended their losing streak to five matches. Tampa is expected to activate Ryan Griffin from injured reserve this week and would carry three quarterbacks on the roster.

    Iran Displays Missile To Mark Anniversary Of US Embassy Seizure

    Trump's administration has taken a tougher line with Iran, threatening to tear up an worldwide accord on its nuclear programme. State television said similar celebrations were being held in other Iranian cities and towns.
  • Emenalo resigns from post of Chelsea's Technical Director

    Emenalo resigns from post of Chelsea's Technical Director

    Emenalo brought his 10-year association with the club to an end following the 1-0 victory over Manchester United. I wish Chelsea every success and look forward to following the club's future triumphs from afar, ' he added.
    Penn State, Michigan State resume game after weather delay

    Penn State, Michigan State resume game after weather delay

    After the weather delay, the Spartans would score thanks to a 33-yard touchdown pass from Brian Lewerke to Felton Davis III . QB Trace McSorley - McSorley posted his second-highest career passing yardage total with 381 yards through the air (384 vs.
    NYC Marathon winners: Flanagan 1st American since 1977

    NYC Marathon winners: Flanagan 1st American since 1977

    In the wheelchair event, the Swiss dominated with Manuela Schar tops among women and Marcel Hug finishing first among the men. While Flanagan was an overwhelming victor , Kamworor was not assured of his first major victory until the closing meters.