The future is now. That’s what Waymo says, anyway. Who or what is Waymo? It’s the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Waymo’s CEO recently announced that “fully self-driving cars are here.”
In fact, Waymo has self-driving minivans rolling around on public roads since the middle of last month — without a human behind the wheel. The company is pushing aggressively to refine its technology and gain public support for autonomous vehicles. Proponents of self-driving cars say the vehicles will change road safety for the better, drastically reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Much of the public isn’t so sure that those promises will be kept.
All eyes are currently trained on Chandler, Arizona, which is where Waymo vehicles are cruising streets without safety drivers on board. It should be noted that at present, all of the autonomous vehicles do have a Waymo employee inside, though they’re not seated so that they can take control of the vans.
The Verge says that Waymo is soon going to invite members of the public to ride along in the self-driving vehicles. People who sign up for the company’s Early Rider program will be able to get lifts in and around Chandler, a Phoenix suburb.
Waymo is developing technology that will eventually lead to a ride-sharing venture said to be similar to Uber and Lyft, as well as autonomous commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks.
We do not know how all of this will turn out. But we know that if the promise of autonomous driving tech pans out, our streets and highways will be safer.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motor vehicle crash caused by a negligent driver, you can speak with an attorney at a law firm dedicated to fighting for justice in personal injury litigation.