Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, is allowing many citizens to test its self-driving cars in Phoenix, in an attempt to extend the service it has been quietly providing to a select group of citizens over the past year. Empty, but the company announced that it is removing backup drivers behind the wheel to take over in tough situations, and it will serve up an area of 50 square miles.
There will also be no remote monitoring person who can take charge in emergency situations and drive the car, and this type of tour will be conducted for several weeks, and then Waymo re-introduces the backup drivers behind the wheel of some cars so that the company can work to expand its service area.
Waymo was providing between 1000 and 2000 self-driving car rides per week, before the spread of the Corona virus, which reduced the demand for rides, and most trips were equipped with a spare driver behind the wheel, but 5 percent to 10 percent of the trips were without Bushra Reserve Driver and were only available to a smaller group of citizens who signed nondisclosure agreements.
Waymo did not disclose how many self-driving cars will be available to the public in the Phoenix area. “We are concerned about our ability to meet demand with the capabilities of the car that we have now,” said CEO John Kravsek in a conference call with reporters.
Kravsek said in Waymo, a unit of Alphabet Inc, The parent company of Google, Hopes to eventually expand the service to California, but has no concrete expansion plans to announce.
“Even small experiments with self-driving cars in the real world are important steps forward,” said Eric Gordon, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, in an email.
But he warned, “Given the secrecy surrounding each company’s autonomous technology, people in Phoenix can only hope that self-driving cars will be as safe as chauffeur-driven cars.”
For the next several weeks, every journey on Waymo will be without a backup driver, and after that, Waymo will reintroduce human backup drivers behind the wheel of some cars so the company can work on expanding its service area.