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WAYMO PLANS TO TEST SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES WITHOUT A DRIVER PRESENT

Posted on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018 at 2:47 pm    

Waymo, Google’s company dedicated to commercializing autonomous vehicles, recently announced that it will soon be offering residents in the Phoenix area rides in self-driving vehicles that have no driver.

Waymo launched a driverless car program earlier this year in an effort to get more information about riders use in such vehicles and the vehicle performance. Approximately 10,000 Phoenix residents applied for the program which proved free access to self-driving Chrysler Pacificas. Waymo stated that over the coming months, some of these users will be chauffeured by a self-driving car without anyone in the driver’s seat. While many states mandate that a driver be present in the driver seat of self-driving vehicles, Arizona has been particularly welcoming to autonomous car companies.

A spokesman for Waymo said, “Our only goal is to bring our fully-self-driving technology to more cities in the U.S. and around the world.”. Waymo seems sensitive to the possible anxiety that could be created with someone riding in a driverless, autonomous vehicle and has tried to design for that issue. Thus, Waymo has included an array of buttons for passengers, including a button that, if pushed, will instruct the vehicle to pull over. Waymo’s driverless autonomous vehicles also include screens that show where the vehicle is headed and what its sensors are seeing as it proceeds.

Like many companies involved in self-driving vehicles, Waymo envisions a future where individuals do not own such vehicles, but rather vehicles are summoned by individuals when needed. The cars would be owned and maintained by large corporate entities rather than individuals. A Waymo spokesman noted that such an arrangement would allow you to choose from an entire fleet of vehicle options and tailor your choice to the trip you are planning to make.

Sources: An article appearing at usatoday.com on November 7, 2017 entitled, “In a Self-Driving Car First, Ride With Waymo and There’s No Driver” by Marco Dell Cava.