Waymo Now Testing Fully Autonomous Vehicles Without Safety Drivers

Autonomous driving technology has come a long way in the past few years and Waymo has announced its self-driving vehicles are now being tested on public roads without anyone in the driver’s seat.

This is a big leap forward as most autonomous vehicles require a safety driver who can take control if something goes wrong. Waymo used to use safety drivers but the company says that after more than eight years of development, they are no longer needed.

The company will operate a “subset” of its fleet in the Phoenix metro region in fully autonomous mode. Over time, the company intends to expand its coverage area to a region that’s “larger than the size of Greater London.”

In order to go fully driverless, Waymo vehicles have driven more than 3.5 million miles autonomously since 2009 and the company has subjected its cars to more than 20,000 individual scenarios on its test track. Besides the real world experience, Waymo has been running simulations where its software drives more than 10 million miles every day.

Should something go wrong with one of its driverless vehicles, Waymo says there shouldn’t be any problems as they are equipped with backup steering, braking, computer, and power systems. The systems are designed to bring the vehicle to a safe stop in the event of an emergency.

Waymo will be inviting members of its early rider program to use the fully autonomous vehicles over the course of the next few months.

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  • marioGTI

    The future creeps me out!

  • Craig

    This is just AWFUL. It really is. “But it will save millions of lives!” BS But even if it does save some lives – so what ? Is this the type of world you want to live in? If I FED YOU every day you would probably live longer. But is that LIVING? FACT IS…. our future is being designed by ‘tech nerds’. The problem with that is… ‘tech nerds’ don’t like people. So PEOPLE are NOT part of that future. Oh sure… we can go along for the ride [literally and otherwise] but a computer will make decisions FOR us. Decisions – I might add – that some ‘tech nerd’ has programmed it to make. I say… NO THANKS.

    • Status

      Look, just because you beat up on those ‘tech nerds’ when you were in high school doesn’t mean they forgot about you.

      By the way, you want to back up that bullshit about how “tech nerds’ don’t like people”. You don’t exactly sound altruistic to me.

      • Craig

        Fuck off.

        • Status

          I knew you couldn’t back it up. Those ‘tech nerds’ must reeeally want to hurt you.

          • Craig

            Fuck off.

          • Status

            I now know what hurts you more than those awful ‘tech nerds’ though. Like I said, you don’t exactly sound altruistic to me, so therefore I don’t think there is any credence when you say those ‘tech nerds’ hate people as much as you think they do.

            Frankly Craig, you’re just a 50+ year old man afraid that he’s being left behind by something he never had control of in the first place. You could have kept up with it all and stayed informed of the world of tech, but you chose to run away.

            You’re not going to make driving appealing to teenagers if you’ve willfully ignored the world they’ve inherited. You can’t make driving ‘cool’ to them.

          • Craig

            Fuck off.

          • Status

            Is that all you have? You spout ‘fuck off’, and then you just roll over and let the future of the car be dictated by the ‘tech nerds’? I mean if you want to change the world, you’ll have to do better than telling me to ‘fuck off’.

            Or are you sore from autonomous cars doing you from behind? C’mon. A your standard two-word answer is all I need from you as an admission of defeat and that the ‘tech nerds’ have won.

          • Craig

            Fuck off.

  • TotallyDisqusted

    As a midwesterner with snow on the ground that covers the lines most of the year, I don’t expect to see autonomous cars here for a long time.

    • Status

      You think an autonomous car would rely on painted lines all the time when it can simply refer to a database of where the painted lines are (as mapped in the summer months) relative to it’s GPS location? It’s not as simple as looking for painted lines.

      • TotallyDisqusted

        “You think an autonomous car would rely on painted lines all the time”

        Yes. That’s exactly what they do now.

        • Status

          And you think that will stay the rule? I’ve already provided an option.

          • TotallyDisqusted

            I don’t think GPS would be accurate enough for that solution. Do you know if anyone is testing that tech yet? Most of the companies seem to only test in sunny SoCal or other warm areas.

  • salamOOn

    looks like comfortable, enjoyable, stress free ride…. nah, im kidding.

  • Tristan

    I see these all the time. They’re Chrysler vans. They are all over Tempe az* The driverless Volvo uber are all over as well. Intel also has allot of Ford fusion and lexus rx SUV here. Google has some lexus rx also.

  • Blanka Li

    I wonder how it prevents a theft? It obviously tracked, but connected-anything is usually hacked 5 minutes after it available to the public.

  • MIL1234

    works fine on brand new large american road

  • G82FS

    Think of where technology was 50 years ago and look at it now. Just imagine what those people were thinking as TV was becoming a reality, then COLOR tv, computers, etc… probably a lot of this same ridiculous garbage that we read here everyday with people protesting and whining that it cannot or should not happen.

    Anyone who still thinks autonomous vehicles are not going to happen or should not happen must still be using a flip phone. Get with the times or go find yourself an island somewhere and get off of the internet and out of the way of progress.

  • TrevP

    I would have a nervous break down sitting in the back of that thing.

  • LWOAP

    Someone needs to name their child Sarah Conner already and prepare her for the rise of the machines. She’s our only hope.

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