• Thursday, December 13, 2018

Waymo’s self-driving [car] pilot has 400 daily riders, working on closer pickups, waking sleepers

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by Hamartia Antidote, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    https://9to5google.com/2018/06/13/waymo-early-rider-pilot-one-year-details/

    Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 7.37.47 PM.jpg

    Last April, Waymo launched an Early Rider program in Arizona to let the public experience self-driving cars to get to places. Ahead of a commercial launch, the Alphabet division has detailed what it’s learned in a year about operating an autonomous ride service.

    To date, Waymo has received 20,000 applications to take part in the Phoenix Early Rider program. Kids as young as 9 to people as old as 69 have ridden in the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrids, with nearly 400 daily riders in the Phoenix area today.

    Our applicants come from all corners of the community: senior citizens, high school students, families with young children, people living with disabilities or without a driver’s license. All said they wanted to try truly self-driving technology, and many mentioned their hopes for a future of safer streets and roadways.

    The destinations are not too different from Uber or Lyft, with people heading to work being the most “popular trip” taken by early riders. This is followed by restaurants, schools, and bars. Other reasons include shopping and getting groceries, while one particularly amusing trip is to car repair shops.

    During trips, people have taken to doing “homework, catch up on emails, read books, or even just daydream and check out the local scenery.”

    Meanwhile, testimonials on why people are using the Waymo service are similar to those of more conventional services. There are people who are adverse to driving themselves, those who don’t want to drive, and busy families who occasionally need another ride.

    [​IMG]

    A year of feedback notes that people want closer pickup and dropoff points, with Waymo working to get vehicles as close as possible to the best exit doors. The company also wants to make it easier for riders to ask questions and get assistance from inside the car or via the mobile companion app.

    During the program, Waymo has also had to work on how to gently wake up napping riders once the vehicle has arrived at the intended destination.

    Waymo is still taking applications for the Early Rider program in Phoenix. The consumer service is expected to launch soon, but the company has yet to detail when exactly that will occur.



     
  2. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    https://www.thestreet.com/technology/how-waymo-autonomous-driving-robotaxi-is-doing-14622430

    Thought You'd Never See a Robo-Taxi? Waymo's Been Running Them for a Year

    Many may have thought this robo-taxi talk was years off into the future. Some surely thought it would never be a reality, given all of the negative autonomous driving news lately.


    But that hasn't stopped Alphabet's (GOOGL) (GOOG) Waymo division from making serious strides in the self-driving car race.


    Given that almost every automaker (and even more tech companies) are working on autonomous driving solutions, many investors wondered how Waymo would ever come out on top. Why would Audi, Mercedes or Cadillac ever use Waymo's self-driving technology if they developed their own?


    Given that Waymo couldn't produce its own automobiles, that left what felt like an ultimatum on the table. Luckily, not all automakers are working on their own autonomous driving solutions. Some, like Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) are depending on companies like Waymo to do it for them. To be honest, it makes sense. Not only from an R&D standpoint, but also from the perspective that Waymo has arguably the most experience out of anyone else working on the technology.

    Nowhere is that more evident than with its robo-taxi pilot program in Phoenix, Arizona.

    The pilot program had 6,000 applicants on its first day and 10,000 by the end of the first week. It's now racked up more than 20,000 applicants who want access to the driverless taxis, which in this case, are retrofitted Chrysler Pacifica minivans.


    After running for about a year, the service gives about 400 rides a day. The question soon shifts to, when will other cities enter the program?


    It could be sooner than we think, with Waymo working with Chrysler and significantly upping their partnership from a few thousand vehicles to more than 60,000. Aside from wondering what cities are next to or how quickly Waymo will expand, there are also questions about what other companies will enter the mix and how much the space will be commoditized.


    [​IMG]

    Autonomous Driving Taxi Programs

    General Motors Co (GM) has said that by 2019 it could have its autonomous driving taxi fleet launched, although it's likely to be small like Waymo's current operations. Further, Ford Motor Co (F) has plans to launch a similar service, which will likely trail GM's launch. Uber has said the key to its business model would be to eliminate the driver, thus depending on autonomous vehicles to do the legwork.


    It's not clear whether Uber will use its own self-driving technology or license it from another company. But either way, we have Uber, GM, Ford and Waymo on the cusp of launching significant autonomous driving fleets over the next few years. Undoubtedly, more could come as well.


    As investors know, the more supply that's on the market, the lower its pricing power. At first, the launches will be so small it won't matter. But what about five or ten years from now? Will there be so many autonomous taxis on the road that prices will dive and margins will compress?


    That's an unknown, just like it's unknown how quickly Waymo plans to scale its current service.


    The one thing we do know is that Waymo has put an immense focus on customer safety. If that prevents it from rolling out to new cities faster than its competition, so be it. But as long as it's expanding my guess is that customers will go with the safety rating when it comes to a computing system transporting them from point A to point B.


    In that regard, Waymo is winning the race.
     
  3. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    Americans are renowned for their laziness.
     
  4. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    So buses, trains, and planes are for lazy people?
     
  5. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    No. They are for Transport.
     
  6. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    How are taxis not transport?
     
  7. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    Tell me how good is the local Transport system in most American cities instead of going to the basics. I aint Amish.
     
  8. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    Obviously not many can speak for most US cities since it’s unusual to live in most. The current cities I live near have commuter rail, buses, and subways. However they don’t run 24 hours a day and they don’t always do a fast direct route.

    Also there are only 10 cities with more than a million in population. Only 4 have more than 2 million, only 2 with more than 5, and none with over 10.. Our cities are very small. Considering we have a population of 325M the vast majority of the population obviously does not live in a major US city. So focusing on city transportation isn’t showing the real picture.

    If you are elderly or very young a self-driving car would be a great solution for almost all your trips. For adults it would not necessarily be the best solution. It wouldn’t be a bad choice though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  9. Retired Troll

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    Self driving cars are unsafe and its my legal opinion this.
     
  10. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    So were the first cars and planes. That didn’t stop their forward progress. I’m sure more people got run over by the first cars than the first Waymo taxi.
     
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  11. Retired Troll

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    But why Introduce them when we have learned the lesson that it is infact way to early.
     
  12. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    So far Waymo hasn’t hit a single pedestrian after 7 million miles of autonomous driving.
     
  13. Retired Troll

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    Neither did Cain before he went for Abel.

    #NeedMoreConvincing
     
  14. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    You can’t live under your bed all your life.
     
  15. Retired Troll

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    Tell that to the survivolists