Waymo rolls out self-driving cars without test drivers

Waymo's fully self-driving cars are here

"We prepared for this next phase by putting our vehicles through the world's longest and toughest ongoing driving test", Waymo said, including driving more than 3.5 million autonomous miles on public roads in 20 USA cities and running tests at the unit's private test track, Waymo said.Waymo last month demonstrated rides on its ride-hailing, autonomous minivans. Self-driving vehicle companies typically have a safety driver ready to take over in case of an emergency, and safety drivers are mandatory in some states.

The rides will initially have to stick within a defined 100-square-mile area near Phoenix. Little did we know at the time, they were already doing it. It will be good for the old and the young, the blind and blotto, and save lives in the process, by starting to remove fallible humanity from the highway equation, boosters say.

Waymo employees will be the first to test the fully automated rides. "We're committed to building what we call fully self-driving technology".

Krafcik said Waymo's cars have already driven autonomously the equivalent of 140 times around the globe, and in just the a year ago have driven billions of miles in simulation. The company's vehicles have traveled more than 3.5 million miles on public roads, and only one has been reported to cause a crash-a vehicle in California last year hit the side of a bus at two miles an hour last year. Waymo has partnered with Lyft but hasn't shared details on that deal. Developers are still grappling with vehicle performance in snow or heavy rain. Our combination of powerful sensors gives our vehicles a 360 degree view of the world. "Our radars can see underneath and around vehicles, tracking moving objects usually hidden from the human eye".

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Ask people what they think about being chauffeured by a driverless vehicle, and you're likely to get a wake-me-when-it's-here yawn. The tests, which will include passengers within the next few months, mark an important milestone that brings autonomous vehicle technology closer to operating without any human intervention. "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", Krafcik said.

But given Krafcik's announcement at Web Summit, the timing of the Castle tour indicates that the company was poised to make a public-facing driverless ride-sharing vehicle announcement and wanted media to have experience riding with a robot at the wheel for themselves.

The news also signals Waymo's confidence that its vehicles are safe enough to operate without a test driver.

"A small fleet of fully self-driving cars could serve an entire community", Mr. Krafcik said.

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