Category Archives: Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars

A Look at Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars

The concept of self-driving cars is almost becoming a reality. October ended on a high note for self-driving cars enthusiasts as Waymo, a self-driving tech company associated with Google, gave reporters a sneak preview of its self-driving cars and technology. The event occurred on October 31, at Waymo’s Central California research facility, Castle facility.

Andrew J. Hawkins, a transportation reporter at the Verge, was among the few reporters allowed to cover the event. Hawkins is not new to self-driving cars as he states that he has been in over four self-driving vehicles in the recent past. However, his experience in Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica was a tad different. He explains that in all the instances that he sat inside a self-driving car, there was a human who sat in the driver’s seat in case there was an emergency. However, in the Pacifica, Hawkins was by himself. In fact, he is the one that initiated the ride.

Of course, Waymo is still testing its technology, and therefore the environment under which Hawkins’ Pacifica drove was fully controlled. According to Stephanie Villegas, Waymo’s lead on structured testing, the company’s self-driving cars are put through a wringer of real-world situations. Hawkins watched as a self-driving automobile dodged a Honda convertible, a badly driven Fiat, and three Waymo’s staff who stepped into the car’s path intentionally. All the occurrence were simulated. Villegas stresses that Waymo’s self-driving cars have not been involved in unintentional accidents.

John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, is optimistic that the company is leading the pack regarding self-driving cars. Krafcik affirms that the company envisions a scenario where self-driving vehicles equipped with extras such as Wi-Fi pick passengers and successfully drop them in their desired destinations. Meanwhile, Waymo is thinking of ways of monetizing its revolutionary technology. Krafcik said that the company could go the logistics, ride-hailing, or trucking route.