Bike Forums - View Single Post - Driverless cars today... where will they be in 5 years...
Old 01-02-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Waymo has rolled out completely driverless vehicles in parts of Chandler AZ. No safety driver.

They are mapping LA; they are looking to move forward and are working with other partners. And yes, they see cyclists.
Not much news lately from Waymo or their PR flaks on the test program progress and no predictions of their future. Here is a month old report on the allegedly "completely driverless vehicles in parts of Chandler AZ": Ghost-riding in the back seat of a robot taxi
"There are, of course, many caveats to consider.

Waymo has been testing its vehicles in the Phoenix area since early 2017. Its self-driving cars operate in an approximately 100-square-mile service area that includes the towns Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe. In late 2018, the company launched a limited public ride-hailing service called Waymo One, but the only customers to get access were people who had first been vetted through Waymo’s early rider program of beta testers. Last week, Waymo said it has around 1,500 monthly active users from both programs.

“It’s been an enormously difficult, complicated slog, and it’s far more complicated and involved than we thought it would be,” says Nathaniel Fairfield, who leads the team that oversees the decision-making part of Waymo’s onboard software. “But it is a huge deal.”

The geofence, or the defined geographic area, for the company’s fully driverless vehicles is much smaller, about half the size of the overall service area — or about 50 square miles. The vehicles technically can’t pick up or drop off passengers outside that zone. Even more complicated: Waymo’s fleet operations center is located outside the geofence, so a Waymo employee needs to chaperone the fully driverless-enabled vehicles into the zone each time before it makes pickups.

Only members of Waymo’s early rider program are allowed to ride in the company’s driverless vehicles. Those people sign nondisclosure agreements with the company in order to get access to early versions of Waymo’s technology. This bars them from speaking publicly when, say, one of their trips goes off course. (A review of customer feedback from 10,500 trips earlier this year by The Information found 70 percent of Waymo’s trips received the highest rating of five stars, while 30 percent were rated four stars or less.) Waymo won’t say how many people or how many trips its fully driverless vehicles have made so far.

Oh, and “fully driverless” isn’t the only way the company describes these trips. Waymo also prefers “rider only.” My guess is a focus group told them that sounded less scary than “fully driverless.”

There are other conditions to the driverless rides. I was surprised to learn that Waymo lets them drive at night, but not when it’s raining or during Phoenix’s frequent dust storms (which are known to locals as “haboobs”).

These driverless cars aren’t totally alone in the wilderness. Waymo has a team of remote employees that watch the real-time feeds of each vehicle’s eight cameras and can help, with the push of a button, if the software runs into a difficult spot and needs a human eye to figure out what’s going on. I counted at least two cameras in the headliner watching me, but no one from the rider assistance team checked in during the ride."
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