First rider in San Francisco
According to its official blog, Waymo, Alphabhet’s subsidiary, announced that it started Waymo One Trusted Tester program in San Francisco.
Trusted Tester is a research-focused program that will invite San Franciscans actively. As a result, the company expects that the program will help it shape the future of fully autonomous ride-hailing. In fact, it offers autonomous driving in the city for over twelve years. As a result, it have accumulated more autonomous driving miles in California than anyone in the industry.
Now, for the first time, San Franciscans will be able to hail an autonomous ride. In more detail, Waymo’s all-electric Jaguar I-PACE vehicles are equipped with the fifth-generation Waymo Driver.
Over the past four years in Metro Phoenix, the company has offered the first public, fully autonomous ride hailing service. In fact, there were its first riders in 2017 with an autonomous specialist on board. Since October 2020, it has served tens of thousands of fully autonomous rides. As a result, Waymo can refine its incremental approach guided by safety framework and rider feedback.
Waymo in San Francisco
Waymo’s San Francisco Trusted Testers can hail autonomous rides for rider’s everyday needs anywhere they want to go in its initial service area. For example, they can go to their favorite bakery, or a special picnic spot in Golden Gate park. All rides in the program will have an autonomous specialist on board for now.
Waymo can receive valuable feedback from riders by using the Waymo One app. As a result, the company will be able to refine its product and service. In fact, the company started this program in the week of August 16th, 2021 with a select few. Furthermore, it is expanding the program to all interested San Franciscans.
Stage of development
The word, “CASE”, is an acronym to represent four important trends in the automotive industry. “C” means connectivity or connected vehicles and “A” represents autonomous driving. What’s more, “S” means sharing or service and “E” represents electrification. When this concept became popular, some people thought each one would affect the industry equally. However, the reality is different now. Many people think that “electrification” has the most impact on the automotive industry now.
For example, Honda, a Japanese automotive giant, made a decision to stop manufacturing gasoline vehicles by 2040. This decision was huge because the Japanese company’s competitive edge is to manufacture gasoline. Therefore, it means that the company must establish its new competitive advantage when they produce electric vehicles. At the same time, this decision reflects how unavoidable electrification is.
When it comes to autonomous driving, many people across the globe feel disappointed. This is because the new technology is progressing slower than their expectations. It also means how difficult to realize innovation.
However, one thing we convince is that autonomous driving is developing step by step. We can see and feel the progress by Waymo’s new initiative. Furthermore, the new technology is strongly related to our safety and life so that regulations and ethics are also important. Thus, we must pay attention to autonomous driving in the long run, even though its technological advancements are slower than our thoughts.