Waymo self-driving cars are heading to Phoenix highways

Waymo self-driving cars are heading to Phoenix highways

Waymo has announced that it will be testing its self-driving cars on U.S. highways. The Alphabet-owned company stated that the driverless cars will be piloted on the freeways of Phoenix, but it will adopt a cautious approach to transporting passengers.

It said that it would take a “step-by-step” approach to rolling out the scheme, initially offering rider-only trips to its employees. The robotaxi rides will then be made available to Waymo One app users.

However, there has been criticism of Waymo’s self-driving taxis in the past, with some noting software failures, as well as a lack of data transparency. When it comes to crashes involving cars with autonomous technology, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Waymo reported the most with 62 incidents in 2022.

In a statement, Waymo reassured riders that it had “years of safe and proven experience of operating fleets,” adding that it was following the same processes outlined by its safety framework that helped launch its service three years ago.

“We continuously iterate and improve our technology and operations through a rigorous process that combines structured testing, simulation, and public road operations so we’re prepared for this next phase,” it continued.

Waymo said it would carry on structured testing, simulations, and public road operations, while gathering feedback from its employees, before opening the service to Waymo One riders.

Where can I ride in a Waymo self-driving car?

Waymo’s autonomous taxi service is now available in four U.S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Texas, and now in Phoenix.

Last summer, Waymo reorganized its staff substantially as a result of its decision to focus on the ride-hailing industry, moving away from autonomous trucks in a bid to ramp up their commercial efforts. Since then, there has been little word on whether the program would proceed.

Waymo began conducting trials of its autonomous vehicle technology in trucks in 2017 and expanded its trucking program to Arizona and Texas in subsequent years. The company made significant progress in the trucking industry, including a test program delivering supplies to Google data centers in Atlanta.

Featured Image: Waymo

Suswati Basu

Freelance journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award.

With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News
and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google.

Her career also includes a seven-year tenure at the leading AI company Dataminr, where she led the Europe desk and launched the company’s first employee resource group for disabilities. Before this, Suswati worked as a journalist in China for four years, investigating censorship and the Great Firewall, and acquired proficiency in several languages.

In recent years, Suswati has been nominated for six awards, including the Independent Podcast Awards, International Women’s Podcast Awards, and the Anthem Awards for her literary social affairs show.

Her areas of speciality span a wide range, including technology, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), social politics, mental health, and nonfiction books.

The post “Waymo self-driving cars are heading to Phoenix highways” by Suswati Basu was published on 01/09/2024 by readwrite.com