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giftedviz.com November 25, 2017


Waymo pulls engineer from driver's seat on public roads

08 November 2017, 01:12 | Megan Pierce

EnlargeWaymo

EnlargeWaymo

Waymo says it has an operations team that can answer questions from the cars' computers, but the cars will make driving decisions.

"Fully self-driving cars are here", Krafcik said, according to a copy of his speech provided by Waymo.

Starting now, Waymo's fully self-driving vehicles - our safest, most advanced vehicles on the road today - are test-driving on public roads, without anyone in the driver's seat.

More than eight years after it began, Waymo, the company spun out of Google X's self-driving auto project, believes its technology is ready to take to public roads as a fully self-driving vehicle - without anyone in the driver's seat.

"We want the experience of traveling with Waymo to be routine, so you want to use our driver for your everyday needs", John Krafcik, Waymo's chief executive officer, said at the Web Summit conference in Portugal. But experts have said the public should not expect this problem to be solved quickly.

Krafcik comments on the company's next steps. The company recently released a huge safety report that claimed its cars had driven 3.5 million miles over public roads and 2.5 billion in simulation.

The test program began last month near Phoenix, and the company hopes to soon open the rides up to members of the public enrolled in its Early Rider program.

The Silicon Valley company is accelerating the competition to bring the first fully autonomous vehicle to market. He ticked off the ways driverless cars could be redesigned if the vehicle didn't need space for a driver: to ferry groceries, as a "personal dining room" or for naps.

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Numerous companies are competing to take a bite out of the massive global transportation sector, trying to create a new profit center in the process.

The test without a human in the driver's seat is a first in the United States as large tech companies, big automakers and well-funded startups race to develop fully autonomous cars.

Navya boasted partnerships with transport speciality firms, notably Keolis in Europe and the U.S. and RAC in Australia, that it said will enable it to roll out Autonom fleets in cities.

"You can re-imagine the very idea of what a vehicle is".

"Everything in [Waymo's autonomous cars] is designed and built for full autonomy", Krafcik said.

"It is the very definition of allowing ideal to be the enemy of good". "You can even have that eight-seater SUV for your weekend trips".

In time, Mr Krafcik said, those cars would function as a new ride-hailing service.

"Our role will shift from a driver to that of a full-time passenger", he said.



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