Waymo wants to bring its autonomous driving technology to the road in three steps. The former Google driverless car project plans to introduce robot taxis and get involved in freight transport with automated trucks. Last but not least Waymo prepares to serve the public transportation sector.
The first area seems to be the largest, as this is what the tests seem to be designed for. In logistics, the competition is just thinning out - Uber has recently put its automated truck project on hold. Nonetheless there is a large number of start-ups that are expanding in this segment.
Complementing public transport
The third pillar has just been set up in Phoenix, Arizona. In cooperation with the city, passenger transport is offered on the first and last mile. This means you can order a Waymo car from and to your front door. The journey leads to or from the nearest bus stop or train station, where you can change to public transport services.
The project was already started in August, however the service was only dedicated to the employees of Valley Metro, the service provider for public transport in the city of Phoenix. However, this should only be the beginning, because areas with little public transport are planned to be integrated later.
Since there are many critical voices that see the end of public transport as a result of the use of automated vehicles, impact studies are to be carried out to investigate the effects of the use of automated vehicles on this form of mobility.
Why Phoenix, Arizona?
Waymo has a strong connection with the city of Phoenix in Arizona. Here Waymo already has the permition to introduce its robot taxi service in cooperation with the car rental company AVIS. The beta tests on the road so far have also taken place in Arizona.
Waymo also collaborates with the supermarket chain Walmart in Arizona. If you buy your goods online, you can pick up your food at selected shops with a robot taxi by Waymo. The people who can participate in this program have also been pre-selected.
About the author:
David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de