Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Waymo Will Be First to Test Robo-Taxis Without Safety Drivers on Regular Americans

November 7, 2017

Driverless cars are real. That’s the takeaway from a new announcement by Waymo, which says its robo-taxis in Phoenix, Arizona, have been navigating the city’s streets without safety drivers since mid-October and will start giving rides to members of the public in the coming months.

As Ars Technica notes, Waymo staff are still involved. But instead of sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle ready to slam on the brakes when the car screws up, they sit a row back and are prepared to hit a button marked “Pull Over” in the event that something goes wrong. As the Verge explains, there are other limits put on the vehicles, too: they will operate only in a 100-square-mile suburb of Phoenix, and will be available only to people signed up for its existing robo-taxi testing scheme in the city.

The news has been in the cards for some time. A recent series of press demonstrations by Waymo, showing off the ability of its vehicles to navigate mock streets without a driver, cranked up the hype dial even further.

Even so, this is a turning point for self-driving cars. It’s the first public American test of so-called Level 4 autonomy—defined as a car “designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip”—and it aligns with Waymo’s publicly stated aim to shun semi-autonomous systems and launch fully autonomous vehicles from the get-go.

Many commentators believe that such vehicles are really still several years off—but with this announcement, Waymo clearly begs to differ. Now we’ll just need to see how smooth the ride is.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.