Waymo Releases a 360° Video to Show What it's Like Riding in its Self-Driving Minivans
【Summary】To help people better understand self-driving technology, Waymo released a detailed, 360-degree video to help people envision what it's like as a passenger in one of Waymo's self-driving minivans.
SAN FRANCISCO — Many people might have reservations about getting into a self-driving vehicle and being whisked away to their destination without a driver being present. To help people better understand self-driving technology, Waymo released a detailed, 360-degree video to help people envision what it is like as a passenger in a autonomous vehicle.
Waymo also said in a blog post that it had driven more than 5 million miles on public roads since its self-driving car program began in 2009, doubling its miles in the past year alone. Waymo displayed its improved self-driving capabilities at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
The new immersive 360 degree video combines footage and real-time data from a trip around Metro Phoenix, Arizona. Waymo shows what its Chrysler Pacifica see when on the road, including identifying, other vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights and other details of the environment. Waymo's software predicts what those things will do, and then plans a safe path ahead. The video also describes how some of Waymo's self-driving technology works, including LiDAR, radar and object identification.
Although many companies are testing self-driving cars, few people have had the experience of riding in one. Waymo's video offers a closer look at what the experience will be like.
Waymo is getting ready to launch an autonomous ride-hailing service in Arizona this year using its fleet of Pacifica minivans. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has supported the technology, and companies can test autonomous vehicles in the state without many restrictions, making the state an attractive location. Uber is also testing its own self-driving Volvo XC90's in Arizona for a autonomous ride-hailing service.
Waymo said in November that members of the public using a ride-hailing app would be able to ride in its fleet of minivans in the upcoming months. At first, a Waymo employee would accompany the passengers in the backseat, but eventually they will travel alone. The company has been testing its cars in Arizona with an employee in the back seat and no one at the wheel since October.
The passenger service is expected to roll out in more geographical areas, including the Atlanta metro area in the near future.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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