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

Google's self-driving auto spinoff, Waymo, will be the first company to pull engineers from the driver's seat of its autonomous vehicles testing on public roads.

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Earlier this year, Waymo launched an early rider program in the Arizona city as a way of getting more information about both rider use cases and vehicle performance. "I look forward to a continued partnership with Waymo as they continue to develop this technology here in Chandler and throughout the region".

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.

A self-driving electric shuttle built by Navya was tested early this year in Las Vegas in a United States first and will start a regular route there on Wednesday, the company told AFP.

Last week, US auto retailer AutoNation Inc announced a multiyear partnership for vehicle maintenance and repairs for Waymo's self-driving car operations. Unlike California, which is another hotbed for self-driving vehicle testing, Arizona doesn't require companies to publicly disclose accidents involving its cars, nor the number of times human drivers were forced to take control of their driverless vehicles. Many self-driving companies had circled 2020 as the date when self-driving vehicle technology would be deployed on USA roads. But experts have said the public should not expect this problem to be solved quickly. "One (vehicle) for napping, a personal dining room, a mobile office, or a vehicle just for when moving into your new place". The company recently released a huge safety report that claimed its cars had driven 3.5 million miles over public roads and 2.5 billion in simulation. Waymo has not said how many people are in the program.

The rides will initially have to stick within a defined 100-square-mile area near Phoenix. With Waymo officially pulling safety driver's from the front seat, the West Coast company is pulling ahead and again threatening to beat Detroit at its own game.

But it most certainly signals a growing level of confidence by Waymo, and, by extension, Alphabet, in the technology developed by its engineers over the last eight years.

And because Waymo is operating its vehicles in Arizona, where the laws regulating autonomous tests are practically non-existent, a lot of the reporting on the progress of these vehicles will be incredibly one-sided.

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