Waymo’s ‘Early Riders’ In Arizona Helping To Hone Autonomous Tech

For the past 12 months, hundreds of Arizonans have been helping Waymo develop and perfect its autonomous driving technology.

Dubbed the ‘Early Rider Program’ and established by Google’s self-driving car division, the project provides feedback about what consumers want from an autonomous ride-hailing service.

KTAR News reports that there are currently almost 400 residents in Arizona enjoying rides in self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans equipped with Waymo’s tech. Since the program launched in April 2017, more than 20,000 people have applied to be involved.

Waymo’s current early riders are aged between 9 and 69 and have been catching rides to work, school and other day-to-day activities. The company says it has been using their feedback to refine the experience before launching a large autonomous ride-hailing service in the U.S. by the end of the year.

One of the things the technology company has discovered is that passengers often want to ask questions during their rides, but don’t have anyone to ask. As such, Waymo is developing a system that offers one-on-one communication with passengers through a dedicated smartphone app. Additionally, it has started investigating ways to gently rouse passengers who’ve been napping during their journey.

While Google is pushing forward with its plans for a fleet of autonomous ride-hailing vehicles across the country, Uber has been left to play catch up after suspending tests following a fatal crash that involved one of its prototypes in March. Many automakers, such as GM, which is currently working on the technology through its Cruise Automation division, have similar self-driving car ambitions to Waymo.

 

2019 Renault Kadjar Makes It To Australia With 157 HP 1.3L Turbo Four

Order books for the facelifted Kadjar have opened Down Under, with prices starting at AUD $29,990.

Fire Truck Rolls During School Demonstration While Making Sharp Turn

Five firefighters were onboard the vehicle when it rolled over and, although they were taken to the hospital, they were soon released.

Chevrolet Trailblazer Drives Through A Mall Causing Chaos And Destruction

The driver was taken into custody, but there’s no word on a motive.

Audi To Offer 30 Electrified Models By 2025, Including 20 EVs

Audi will also continue to develop conventional engines, but they’ll be mild-hybrid units.

AAA Says Owning A New Car Costs You Over $9,200 Per Year

The survey, which excluded high-end models, found out that the biggest ownership cost of a new car is depreciation, averaging over $3,300 a year.

Bugatti’s Second Model Slated To Be A High-Riding Four-Seater With Off-Road Capability

The upcoming crossover could cost around $1 million.

North American Car, Utility And Truck Of The Year Semifinalists Announced

The Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 and Toyota Supra will battle for the title of North American Car of the year.

Tesla Model S Breaks Down On The Nurburgring, Gets Passed By A Porsche Taycan

Tesla has suffered an embarrassing setback in their attempt to beat Porsche’s lap record.

Tesla Model 3 Aces IIHS Safety Tests, Nabs Top Safety Pick+ Award

After the Audi E-Tron, the Model 3 has become the second all-electric vehicle to be awarded the highest rating by the American safety institute.

Andy Wallace Says Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ Was Still Accelerating At 304 MPH

According to the man behind the wheel, the Bugatti could have exceeded that speed if it had a longer stretch of tarmac ahead of it.