Google’s driverless division Waymo has announced plans to begin testing its fully autonomous passenger cars without a human driver on freeways in Arizona.
It says that, just as it has taken a phased approach to rolling out technology and operations in the past, it will continue to deploy in a step-by-step manner, first providing rider-only trips to employees on freeways across the city of Phoenix.
“As part of our focus on scaling ride hailing, we’ve incrementally ramped up our testing on freeways with passenger vehicles over the past year,” it says in a blog post. “Now, as we prepare to take the next step of removing the autonomous specialist from our operations, we’re following the same processes outlined by our safety framework that helped us responsibly launch and expand the world’s first fully autonomous ride hailing service over three years ago.”
It adds that: “Waymo’s years of experience driving cars and trucks on freeways taught us to navigate everyday scenarios autonomously and inform our approach to responding to rare events safely. We continuously iterate and improve our technology and operations through a rigorous process that combines structured testing, simulation, and public road operations so we’re prepared for this next phase.”
It adds that “Waymonauts” will provide invaluable feedback about the service and rider experience during freeway trips before the service is expanded to Waymo One customers.
Read the full blog post here.
(Picture – Waymo)