Waymo's well known autonomous vehicle service has recently achieved an important distinction. Their fleet's prototypes have complete 10 million miles of tests all on public roads. Waymo's CEO, John Krafcik, thinks that the company will push even further during the next 10 million miles and getting to that 20 million mile mark will not take as long as the first 10.
“While we’ve made great strides thanks to these 10 million miles, the next 10 million will focus on turning our advanced technology into a service that people will use and love,” Krafcik wrote in a Medium post.
Waymo currently operates an early rider program in Phoenix, Arizona. The company analyzes the feedback it receives to fine-tune every aspect of the program, from the way riders interact with the app used to request a ride to the way its cars handle complex traffic conditions. Engineers are developing improved sensors and leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to make the ride-sharing program accessible to more riders across the nation. One of the goals is to teach Waymo’s prototypes — which are based either on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid or the Jaguar I-Pace — to safely navigate heavy rain and snow.
Krafcik pointed out Waymo programs its cars to drive cautiously and courteously, but there are situations in which it’s necessary to drive more aggressively. Merging onto a busy freeway requires a certain degree of determination that the firm wants to teach its cars to exhibit without compromising user comfort. “We’re working on striking the balance between [caution and courtesy] and being assertive as we master maneuvers that are tough for everyone on the road,” the CEO explained.
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