Completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way

Discussion in 'General' started by interestedinEV, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    Received this email as I am in their service area and have the app.

    Completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way

    Over the years and with your support, we’ve been testing and refining our fully self-driving technology – including cars without a trained driver up front.

    We’re excited to share that soon you may experience one of these driverless rides!

    Here’s what you can expect:

    • If you get matched with a fully driverless car, you’ll see a notification in your Waymo app that confirms the car won’t have a trained driver up front.
    • You'll also see a "What to expect" button in your app, which you can tap to learn more about our driverless rides.
    • You can enjoy having the car all to yourself.
    • As always, if you need assistance during any part of your trip, you can contact a rider support agent through the car's help button or in your app.

    Rest assured, Waymo will still be taking care of you; this is just the next step as we travel down the road toward a fully self-driving future. Thank you for joining us on this journey! If you have any questions, you can contact support.
  2. R P

    R P Active Member

    Interestin indeed... Seems like Waymo is way ahead of Tesla, where they have trouble driving in a parking lot. Maybe Musk shouldn't be so against LiDAR.
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Good luck!

    Perhaps Tesla Autopilot V10 triggered a response?

    Bob Wilson
  4. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    Kind of doubt it. Wyamo has done things at their own pace and have hundreds of vehicles cruising my area. On a short 10-15 minute trip, I might even see 7-8 of their cars. I am sure that they are confident enough to do it, and are taking the next step, removing the driver altogether. I am not sure (meaning I do not know) if Wyamo even cares about what Tesla does. If they are hurried by Tesla and a mistake happens, there will be a lot of repercussions. Remember, it is a taxi service and if there is a crash, then Wyamo is in the hot seat. Unlike Tesla for now, where the owners insurance is responsible, unless it becomes a class action. While I do not know if I am personally ready for that, they are banking that there are people who will accept it.
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Good enough. Let us know what the rates are compared to a taxi or Uber.

    Bob Wilson
  6. electriceddy

    electriceddy Well-Known Member

    Kind of leaves tipping the driver out of the picture
  7. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    May be they will leave a cookie jar near the seat where you can thank the robotic software with a small tip:D
    electriceddy likes this.
  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    What is the service area? I know that Waymo has an experimental fleet of robotaxis operating in a suburb of Phoenix, but so far as I know, it's geofenced to just the one area. Have they expanded that to other areas?

    The e-mail you got from Waymo is so vague that it appears to me that it may merely indicate that you're being offered a test ride on a closed, private road.

    That is my impression, too. I don't think Waymo is concerned about what Tesla is doing. It seems to me that Waymo is advancing methodically, and Tesla is almost stuck where it is, rolling out little more than mere refinements of what Autopilot is already doing, because they (or Elon) refuse to recognize that they need to put active sensors (phased-array radar and/or lidar) into their cars. So far as I can tell, Waymo has no reason to watch Tesla, which is in its rear-view mirror and dropping behind.

    Too bad that GM, Tesla and Waymo -- and possibly other companies, including other auto makers plus Apple -- have not formed a consortium to develop full self-driving autonomy. I think they could achieve their goal much faster by combining resources than any one of them can working alone.

    I'm also very concerned about competing autonomous driving systems developed in isolation, without any attempt to make them coordinate with each other. Self-driving cars will need to communicate with each other wirelessly, and will need to be able to predict each others' behavior. Having competing systems will be counter-productive for both those goals.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 2:48 AM
  9. larrenz

    larrenz Member

    What if the car stops because it can't figure out what to do?
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    If there is a significant chance of that happening, then it's not a true Level 4 autonomous car. And quite likely it's the case that even Waymo's most advanced testing vehicles are not yet at Level 4 autonomy.

    IMHO we are still at least several years away from actual Level 4, reasonably reliable self-driving cars. Perhaps even a decade or more.

  11. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    Service areas are the east valley suburbs of the Phoenix Metro Area and cover the towns of Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert and a small part of Phoenix. I have not seen these taxis in the northern and western suburbs, so even without that, the service area should cover over a million residents.

    No, there is nothing vague about it. There is an active Waymo taxi service is this area even today. Please remember I am on their list and have received several emails from them. This is just the last one which says that they are removing the driver. In order to join up, you need to live in the service areas that I mentioned, and agree to their terms and conditions. Terms of service are that no one can talk about it or photograph it (I guess you understand). I have the app on my phone. Prices are a little less than Ubers.

    If I needed to go from Tempe to say a place in Chandler AZ, (10 miles away), I can use the app that I have on my phone and summon a Waymo van. Today, however, there is a person at the wheel with the hands on the steering but it is self driven. As I mentioned in an earlier post, even on a short journey, I can see several of these vehicles cruising the streets. (Don't get stuck behind one of those vans, every speed limit and traffic rule is followed to the hilt, no concept of open roads or trying to beat the traffic light).

    The difference is that today they want to remove the driver up front. So it is real and very clear on what they want to do. Is it scalable from the wide streets of the Phoenix suburbs to the narrow streets of Boston? I do not know but at least here, they are confident of their self driving capabilities in this area. Yesterday I was in one of the local Costco parking lot and there was a Waymo going around the parking lot to pick up a passenger. Believe me, I think I have reputation in this forum for integrity and I am not making one bit of this stuff up.

    Based on everything I have said above, Wyamo begs to differ. They are actually offering a driverless taxi service in a limited area. May be you are right that it will take a decade to get to every area in the country.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 10:57 AM
  12. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    In theory, it should pull over to the side and notify the operations center of the issue. The app has a call button which the passenger can use and you will be connected to the ops center at anytime. I am going to have guess that they will have some one come over to help out. Given the number of cars they have in the area, they must have real time monitoring of every car location and status. There could be some sort of warning if a car has trouble. And they cannot run a taxi service without that.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 10:59 AM
  13. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    I do not think competition is bad, in fact it will spur more innovation. However, what we need sooner rather than later is interoperability standards, which we have in several industries and it can be done, if everyone is forced to do it.

    As far as cooperation, companies have invested billions of dollars in development of this technology. They are not going to give it up as easily as that could be the secret sauce against competition. "We have a better self driving technology" is even today being claimed by Tesla. No company wants to be in a situation where they have to say that their technology is no different from the next guy.

    GM has taken large investments from Honda and Softbank for Cruise Automation, so there is some collaboration but limited. Waymo has hundreds of cars they have testing for past so many years and have billions of dollars in investments. No one, who has already spent billions, is going to just throw out all of their investment to jointly develop a technology, especially one which could be crucial to their sales. And of course there is ego. Do you anticipate Elon sitting down with Waymo, Cruise, Intel (Mobileye), NVidia and all the others and actually admitting that his competitors have better technology, at least in some areas? What I guess will happen is that two to five dominant vendors will remain and all others will die or be bought out.

    Please also remember that many companies are looking at this from the point of view of selling driverless taxi services. So they may not want to enable competitors who can take the technology and start a rival service. By keeping the technology limited, they restrict competition. Even Elon claims that is what he wants to do with his leased cars. Uber makes no secret about that either. In fact in their haste to catch up with Waymo, Uber took shortcuts which lead to the death of a person in Tempe, AZ.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 1:19 PM
  14. davidtm

    davidtm Member

    Like a small vial of oil or a AAA battery?? :D
    interestedinEV and electriceddy like this.
  15. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member
    You will get off the waitlist and on to the app if you are in the Phoenix area in those cities mentioned. This is city streets, not closed and private roads.


    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 1:05 PM
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Opps, wrong thread.

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