For the first time, Alphabet subsidiary Waymo, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Cars Project, is about to bring driverless cars to public roads.
So far, all “self-driving” test vehicles on US public roads have had human drivers at the wheel.
Without a human driver, testing on public roads is a big step toward building public acceptance of the autonomous-vehicle technology.
After more than eight years of development, over the next several weeks, Waymo will invite members of the public to take trips in its fully self-driving vehicles.
Since testing in 2009, Waymo’s autonomous driving system has accumulated more than 3.5 million miles on public roads in the US.
According to Madison.com, Waymo’s goals are to:
- Give the public first-hand experience with driverless vehicles, with the aim to build enthusiasm and ease concerns
- Learn how consumers interact with driverless cars, how people expect them to behave, and how they’ll be used
- Signal to rivals, potential partners, and potential Waymo employees – that its technology has reached the point where it’s ready for this step
- Prove to regulators that this kind of testing is safe.
Waymo is also using test software that adds a simulated 10 million miles of testing every day.
Written by Leah Alger