Waymo, AAA Partner to Educate Children on Autonomous Cars

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【Summary】Autonomous vehicles may be directly aimed at adults, but what about future generations that will grow up sharing the road with driverless cars? Waymo and AAA are partnering together to educate kids about self-driving cars.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Nov 12, 2019 3:00 PM PT
Waymo, AAA Partner to Educate Children on Autonomous Cars

Recent surveys have revealed that individuals that can actually drive aren't too excited about self-driving vehicles. In a recent study that was conducted by Audi , less than half of the respondents claimed to have a positive view of autonomous technology. The study found that individuals younger than 24 years of age (Generation Z) had the highest number of respondents – roughly 73 percent – that stated they were interested in driverless tech. Despite knowing that younger individuals are the most interested in autonomous tech, automakers and companies continue to market driverless cars to older consumers. Waymo's looking to change that.

Educating The Next Generation On Driverless Tech
In a blog post, Waymo announced that it had partnered with AAA to educate children on autonomous technology. In addition to educating the upcoming generation of drivers on how driverless technology can save lives and make roads safer, Waymo brought some students and AAA School Safety Patrol members to its "closed-course facility" where the students were able to see how the autonomous vehicles operate. The students also got to go for a ride in a driverless Waymo, which is pretty cool.
For Waymo, the event can be used to provide its engineering team with new perspective on autonomous vehicles. While everyone's looking to make autonomous cars more comfortable for older passengers, Waymo's getting a unique perspective from individuals that will actually have to share the road with autonomous cars. The tech company is also looking to entice some students into becoming engineers in the future and possibly work on self-driving vehicles for Waymo or Google in the future.

Getting New Perspective
Nathan, an elementary school student from San Francisco was excited about the prospect of autonomous cars. After the experience, Nathan believes that autonomous vehicles "would definitely be a lot safer since the people who are distracted aren't in control." Nathan's got a great point.
The campaign to give young students a look at autonomous technology is part of Waymo's Let's Talk Self-Driving campaign. It's part of a collaboration between the AAA, the National Safety Council, and what Waymo calls are other "like-minded organizations." The goal of the campaign is to educate people on driverless cars.
"We're excited to help this next generation experience Waymo and get them thinking about how we can make our roads safer and more accessible for everyone," said the company.
Waymo has been working on its ride-hailing program called Waymo One recently. As part of the program, selected riders can get into a driverless Waymo vehicle that will take them to their destination. The company is looking to expand the program down the road, perhaps to include something that can transport young students.

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