Waymo has announced that it will bring its autonomous vehicles to Los Angeles as it continues testing its self-driving technologies.
The Verge reports that the autonomous driving division of Alphabet will initially bring three of its Chrysler Pacifica minivans to map the city, in particular, downtown and the Miracle Mile. These three vehicles will be driven manually by human safety drivers as the company builds up a detailed 3D map of the area. Then, and only then, will the vehicles start testing in autonomous mode.
Waymo has had a license to test autonomous vehicles in California for a number of years and simply needed to inform the appropriate local authorities to expand testing to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, the Department of Transportation uses a digital tool dubbed Mobility Data Specification (MDS) that tracks electric scooters and other shared mobility devices operating on its streets. All E-scooter companies operating in LA must share data with the city to receive a permit to operate.
It is reported that the Department of Transportation could expand MDS to include autonomous vehicles which would mean Waymo, and other companies testing self-driving technologies, would need to provide real-time location data to authorities.
“We wanted to build something that was future proof,” general manager at LADOT, Seleta Reynolds recently told The Verge. “We’re not necessarily clear on what that next opportunity is going to be in. But we want to be ready for it because we know it’s coming.”
Starting this week, Angelenos might catch a glimpse of Waymo’s cars on the streets of LA! Our cars will be in town exploring how Waymo's tech might fit into LA’s dynamic transportation environment and complement the City’s innovative approach to transportation. pic.twitter.com/REHfxrxqdL
— Waymo (@Waymo) October 7, 2019