- Title: Google self-driving spinoff Waymo begins testing with public in San Francisco
- Date: 24th August 2021
- Summary: SAFETY OPERATOR IN DRIVER'S SEAT STEERING WHEEL FRONT OF VEHICLE VARIOUS OF VEHICLE COMING TO A STOP SAM KANSARA, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER AT WAYMO, SITTING IN VEHICLE (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAM KANSARA, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER AT WAYMO, SAYING: "Today we're taking the next step within our San Francisco testing program with the announcement of Waymo One Trusted Tester. This is a research-focused initiative where select members of the public will be able to take Waymo for their everyday mobility needs and give us feedback along the way." WAYMO JAGUAR I-PACE SUV IN PARKING SPACE PERIMETER VISION SYSTEM WITH PERIMETER CAMERA (FRONT LEFT), RADAR (MIDDLE PANEL), AND PERIMETER LIDAR (BACK RIGHT) WAYMO LOGO ON VEHICLE WAYMO LOGO ON VISION SYSTEM FRONT OF VEHICLE PERIMETER CAMERA (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAM KANSARA, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER AT WAYMO, SAYING: "There are many areas that we will continue to work on. There's a lot that remains to be done. This is, again, is a step for about starting to now get more information so that we can inform our roadmap so we know that there'll be work to be done around, for example, how we will do pickups and drop-offs. We know San Francisco is a very challenging market for that. We know that there will be feedback that we'll get about how we might handle a specific situation when we're driving. So this is one of many different signals that we incorporate because there is a road ahead to making sure that our technology is ready for a full deployment." VARIOUS OF 360 VISION SYSTEM ATOP CAR FEATURING LONG-RANGE CAMERAS, RADAR PANELS, 360 LIDAR (SPINNING ON VERY TOP) SANDY KARP, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE AT WAYMO, IN THE PASSENGER SEAT (SOUNDBITE) (English) SANDY KARP, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE AT WAYMO, SAYING: "So the Waymo driver uses a number of sensors, including cameras, radar, and lidar to perceive the world around it and it's a lot of information to take in all at once as a rider. We want to allow our riders to turn off and take their time back, sit back, relax and let the Waymo driver do the driving. So what they'll see in the in-car experience is a simplified view of the world around them with only important information such as is there a pedestrian around me? Is there a stop sign? What color is a stoplight that way? If they're curious about what the Waymo driver sees, they can see what's coming down the pipeline."
- Embargoed: 7th September 2021 17:11
- Keywords: San Francisco Waymo Waymo in San Francisco autonomous vehicles rideshares self-driving cars self-driving vehicles
- Location: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: US
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA002ERN27BH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo has started taking a few San Franciscans on rides in its self-driving sport utility vehicles and hopes to open the robotaxis to anyone in the city in less than the three years it took to launch in its only other market.
Waymo's announcement on Tuesday (August 24) of its status and plans in San Francisco, a small peninsula of hills, trolleys, bicycles, and narrow streets, shows the length that remains before driverless transport becomes commonplace.
The company's all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUVs initially are serving the more residential western and southern portions of the city, including Richmond and Bernal Heights. Operators are in driver's seats with hands on their knees - but prepared to steer in an emergency.
Anybody can sign up for Waymo's ride-hailing app, though the company is hand-selecting who it picks up, with the list expected to grow gradually to hundreds of people. Waymo bars them from publicly discussing rides.
Sam Kansara, senior product manager at Waymo, acknowledged that autonomous vehicles are rolling out slower than Waymo and its many rivals had originally envisioned.
"There's a lot that remains to be done," Kansara said. "This is a step about starting to now get more information so that we can inform our roadmap."
The company wants feedback from people with different backgrounds and commuting needs. It expects many riders to weigh in on challenges with hopping on and off because of San Francisco's limited curb space and rampant double parking.
Employees riding in the city since February gave the company confidence to expand to the public, Kansara said.
Waymo last October in a first-of-its-kind deployment in the United States for the industry started allowing anyone to buy rides in its fully driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans in some Phoenix, Arizona, suburbs.
The launch followed three years of testing, but Kansara said he hopes lessons learned from that experience will bring about swifter progress in San Francisco.
(Production: Paresh Dave / Nathan Frandino / Hyunjoo Jin)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None