No safety driver in Waymo's self-driving auto taxi fleet

No safety driver in Waymo's self-driving auto taxi fleet

No safety driver in Waymo's self-driving auto taxi fleet

"Starting now, Waymo's fully self-driving vehicles - the most advanced self-driving vehicles on the road today - are test-driving on public roads, without anyone in the driver's seat", the company said.

"We want the experience of traveling with Waymo to be routine, so you want to use our driver for your everyday needs", John Krafcik, Waymo's chief executive officer, said at the Web Summit conference in Portugal.

As The Verge reports, Waymo, the self-driving vehicle company owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has been letting autonomous cars rush over the roads of Arizona without someone in the driver's seat since the middle of last month.

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"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", he said in the prepared remarks released in advance by Waymo. Passengers will initially be accompanied in the back seat by a Waymo employee, but will eventually travel alone in the robotic vehicle.

In his speech, Krafcik sketched out a near future where Waymo-powered self-driving vehicles could be deployed for a range of missions, with interiors to match.

The switch to self-driving vehicles is heralded by automakers and tech companies from Silicon Valley to Detroit as a safety measure on public roads.

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However, Boucher is an anesthesiologist and pain specialist in Bowling Green, who developed a product called Therm-a-Vest. According to records obtained by WAVE 3 News , he graduated from the University of Des Moines Osteopathic Med & Surgery.

Waymo did not specify how many cars will be on the roads for the beta program, but described it as a "fleet". It isn't clear the public is willing to surrender control to a computer, and unexpected safety issues could arise in tricky environments, such as snow. "One for napping; a personal dining room; a mobile office; or a vehicle just for when moving into your new place", he said. Waymo has not said how many people are in the program.

This new phase of testing comes after a decade of working on the technology and 3.5 million miles driven.

Krafcik said Waymo's cars have already driven autonomously the equivalent of 140 times around the globe, and in just the previous year have driven billions of miles in simulation.

According to The Verge, a Waymo employee will still be in the vehicle, but likely sitting behind the driver's seat instead of in it.

Initially, the driverless vans will be confined to a small area of metro Phoenix, with the goal of opening it up to the roughly 100-square-mile area already being tested with humans at the wheel and eventually to the entire metro area, which is larger than London.

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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