Riding a Waymo self-driving taxi

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– It’s 2018, where’s my self driving car. Oh, here it is. This is Waymo, but you probably know it as Google’s self driving car project. Now Waymo has long been considered the leader of autonomous vehicles and that’s because it’s been
working on this technology longer than any other company. It’s vehicles have driven the most miles and it has the lowest
rate of disengagements or instances when humans have
to take control of the vehicle and it’s all been leading up to this, a real robot taxi service
right here in Phoenix Arizona. Waymo’s been operating it
self driving cars in Arizona for about a year and a half and during that time it’s even run them without safety drivers behind the wheel. Waymo’s cars collect a ton of data and Waymo feeds that into
it’s deep learning algorithm for labeling and processing and this allows Waymo
to deploy what it calls the safest driver on the road. Now Waymo is ready to
start taking on passengers and create a real business for itself. It works basically the same way
as any ride sharing service. You pull out the app,
you pick your destination and hail a ride. A few minutes later one of Waymo’s self driving Chrysler
Pacifica mini vans pulls up. These are covered in high powered sensors like Lidar, radar, and ultrasonic along with a bunch of cameras to provide a full 360 degree
omnidirectional field of view. Waymo is calling it’s taxi service Waymo One and initially we were
going to show you a demo of the ride that we took through Chandler, but truthfully it was kind
of long and kind of boring, but not entirely boring. There were these touch
screens behind the head rest that present a live view of
what the car sensors can see. Other vehicles are blue,
pedestrians are white and your trip is shown as a green line that the Waymo follows. It was pretty cool, but overall the ride itself was
uneventful as it should be. It was like being in the back seat with a very cautious student driver. And sometimes it would
take longer than usual to make a decision like
this unprotected left into a parking lot. Now this is gonna be a
complicated turn right here. We’re taking a left hand turn across traffic into this parking lot. So the car is sort of
figuring out where it can go, when it can go, if there’s
no traffic signal or signage to tell us when to go, the car needs to make
that determination itself. It needs to find that gap in the traffic. Waymo programs it’s
cars to be conservative, to be safe drivers. A human driver probably
would’ve gone right then. That might be comforting to some people, other people might find
that a little bit annoying and would want to see the car being a little bit more assertive and that’s something
that Waymo is working on. It has been sort of trying
to develop it’s software, tune it’s software in a way that the car drives more
organically, more like a human. There were moments when the care acted more aggressively than I expected, but it was the type of behavior
that you wouldn’t notice if you were being driven
by a human driver. There were jerky moments
sure, but it never felt unsafe and I never felt car sick for that matter. – We want a service that
brings safety to all of roads. That’s really the core mission and it’s around making sure that we constantly are tackling
this problem of road safety. – So the company thinks it
can build a real business by offering a safer, more convenient and perhaps cheaper
service than Uber or Lyft. To start out with Waymo1
will only be available in a few towns around Phoenix and it’ll be limited to
just a couple members of Waymo’s Early Rider Program. – For Waymo1 we’ll have
an itterative approach that will start with Waymo try drivers and eventually we’ll take those out. – And when that happens,
someone hails a care, it is possible a car
with no one inside of it may role up to pick them up? – That’s our vision, that’s
where we wanna get to. Is somebody has that space to themselves. – Waymo One will be limited to
only certain neighborhoods meaning it’ll be geofenced, and the cars will feature
safety drivers behind the wheel. Even though the company had said it intends to deploy fully
driverless vehicles at launch. So as you can see Waymo’s approaching this whole commercialization
thing super cautiously and there’s a good reason for that. In March 2018 a self
driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a 49 year old
woman in Tempe Arizona, which is just a few miles from here. The Uber crash brought those
early inflated expectations about self driving cars
to a screeching halt, but in the days after the
crash Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik said that it’s cars would
have been able to prevent it. – We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle
situations like that one. Cocky, sure, but now Waymo
has to bend over backwards to prove that it’s cars
are the safest on the road and it needs to convert
a skeptical public, who just doesn’t trust self driving cars. I’ve seen the surveys, people just don’t wanna
get into these cars. But how do you make people believe that a self driving car is
safer than a human driven one? – One of the ways I think
is around experience. We are working on building the world’s most experienced driver. We’ve now driven over 10 million miles on public road in autonomous mode. That really allows us to
continue to learn new skills, vet our current
functionality, and test out, with the most extreme and
challenging situations. – So self driving cars are suppose to be the future of transportation, but is the solution to all
our transportation problems really more cars? US cities are overwhelmingly dominated by personally owned vehicles, but that landscape is changing. Millennials want better
public transportation and more options to bike and walk around and they’re getting
that with dockless bike and scooter programs growing like crazy. And 51% of millennials don’t think that owning a car is worth the investment. Just take Phoenix for example, it’s the 25th most
congested city in the US and drivers here spend 34
hours a year stuck in traffic. The real danger is for people
out walking around those cars because Arizona has the highest pedestrian death rate in the nation. Between 2014 and 2017, 271 pedestrians were killed in fatal collisions. In 2018, 30 people were killed. Are self driving cars really the solution? – Driverless cars do have the opportunity to reduce traffic fatalities ’cause they could reduce
a lot of the human error that leads to that, but at the same time we don’t really have any
data that supports that just because the number of
miles driven by driverless cars so far is so small
compared to the data set that we have for human driven cars, but it also kind of side steps
one of the bigger problems, which is how our streets
are actually designed and how their designed to be
unsafe for a lot of people. – So while Waymo’s self driving cars haven’t caused any fatal collisions, there have been reports of
some minor fender benders and even a few injuries, and Arizona drivers have
complained that these cars can be a little bit
annoying to navigate around. These antidotes also underscore
a really important point about full autonomy, cars
that can drive themselves anywhere under any conditions. That it may take decades
for this to arrive, if ever. Even Waymo’s CEO John
Krafcik admitted this. He said that, “Autonomy will
always have constraints.” Driverless vehicles will
need to stay on the road almost around the clock to offset the cost of the sensors, and the
hardware, and the software, and the computer chips and everything that makes them drive
without human beings. That means keeping these
vehicles on the road for hundreds and thousands of miles. That’s a lot of driving
and while Waymo’s cars may not succumb to the same
failings as human driven ones they’ll still occupy the same
amount of space on the road. Now Uber and Lyft have been shown to increase traffic
congestion in certain cities. What will Waymo’s contribution be? Well to start out, not that much. As the company eases it’s way into becoming a real business it’s main focus is gonna
be keeping up with demand. I mean people are gonna wanna use this. This is a robot taxi service. It’s the future, right? So would you ride in a self driving car? Leave us a comment in the comment section and if you’re interested in cars or the future of transportation check out this awesome video
that we just did about Tesla. It’s on youtube.com/theverge. YouTube, You tub.

100 COMMENTS

  1. I have no idea why people are so concerned about the safety of these cars. You're already putting your life on the line the second you step foot into a car. Besides, two deaths from self driving cars vs 32,999 deaths from regular cars in just 2010 ALONE. Sorry haters, but–
    Humans: 0 Robots: 1

  2. Humans will always have constraints also. The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

  3. I just had a huge revelation about the introduction of self-driving vehicles. When a car manufacturer gets to the point (2-3 years from now?) that they have statistical data demonstrating safety of automatic versus human driving, they can go to insurance companies and say "If you completely indemnify the car in full-auto mode, you give us a percentage on the actuarial cost savings". I presume the developers have already thought of this but I am a bit slow…

  4. As a motorcycle rider, I would feel a lot safer around self driver cars. Most of my near collision are from people who text while they drive.

  5. If ALL the cars were self-driving there would be no trafic, no red lines. nothing imagine a shoal moving around, it would be insane.

  6. No I don't, seems scary! What if sensors wont work or software dorsnt work properly, or getting hacked and someone else remote you toward unknown place!!!
    Nope, definitelynot!

  7. Well hopefully by the time I am elderly the technology will be perfected so me and my spouse don't have to worry about getting from place to place

  8. maybe this isn't quite ready for prime time, but it's coming- there's no doubt about that. why? because people are not good drivers. and they're increasingly distracted.
    and when this goes mainstream, and the number of traffic fatalities drops, that will be the turning point. Plus, if you drive to a bar and have too many, it can dive you home– but I expect they will find a way to charge you for that, the same way they hassle you if you chill in your car for a while to sober up.

  9. Very easy to trust robot driving: try it 10 minutes driving with robot and than try with my friend drive 10 minutes, than you choose ;))

  10. No thanks, why do we even need all this stuff? Are we that lazy we need a robot car no offense to anyone but like Robots are seriously gonna be everywhere

  11. Have they thought about the drunks getting in and smashing up these taxis or criminals coming in with balaclavas and stealing the equipments inside these taxis🤔?

  12. 7:30 – that doesn't make any sense, the sensors themselves can outlive the car which will likely break down or become outdated long before the sensors. That sensor package could be transplanted to other cars and used and reused on any number of cars. Also, like any electronics the process of the sensor packages will surely go down as more are produced and the process for creating them is improved.

  13. Lol try to do that turn left in San Francisco lol no turning on red by the time is red you still need to make a decision lol is your self driving car willing to turn on red light?

  14. I'm a huge Tesla fan, but Waymo seems to be years and years ahead of Tesla. We'll see on April 22nd when Tesla will supposedly unveil it's "Full Self Driving".

  15. that left turn is taking real long, the program is play real conservative mode. good reputation is more important than speed for the brand name.

  16. If you take this card to Brasil ppl you will steal it!!! Lol!!! With a driver ppl steal imaging without!!! Well, the problem is … it will take a lot of job from Uber driver!!! I prefer a driver… I like to see ppl… talk to ppl… be around ppl!!! Now… this is good for ppl that doesn’t like to see ppl… well… everything is drive tru… you don’t see ppl anymore… to buy grocery… the self cashier… bank drive tru… nobody go inside the bank anymore… Uber food… store on line!!! Well In 5 more years ppl will not need to talk!!! Sorry but modern life is too cold!!!

  17. Overall amount of cars would naturally be reduced if majority of people would use self driving taxi instead of driving themselves with their own cars used by them only.

  18. We are not there yet when at the car is deciding should I take a left now, do I have enough time, is there anyone else in the way…meanwhile the passenger just gets out and walks across the street to his destination and tell's the taxi "thanks I'm good". An hour later the car is still sitting at the intersection deciding?

  19. Think we will find Tesla will be the ones WAY ahead of the game. Hope this company does well after so much effort but can’t see them winning.

  20. Google's Waymo uses LIDAR's laser technology for detecting objects and ranging which becomes "blind" in fog, rain, snow, and dusty wind. Brilliant!

  21. if waymo can run safely in indonesia, it can run safely anywhere.
    traffic here is complicated where motorcycle can zig zag and stop whenever and wherever the driver want.not included jaywalker, bajaj,bicycle,mikrolet,etc2x.

  22. Absolutely…I would use Waymo! I'm even impatient while my neighborhood is saturated with them…like teasing us.

  23. After nearly a decade, Waymo One has driven 1,000 people in one city on specifically trained streets. In the past 30 seconds, Tesla has self-driven over 1,000 people without using lidar, on streets all over the world, in cars that run on pure electricity. I fear for Waymo's future.

  24. I trust the 🚗 but he made a good point when he asked if the possibility of more cars were really the answer. Idk! We will see. 🙏

  25. this is amazing, here in Mexico, most car accidents are cause by people on their mobiles while driving. Still i think we need at least 10 years more at least to start seen there around as Ubers.

  26. I live in Chandler where these vans have been testing since day 1. Do they technically do what they say – go from point A to point B on their own? Yep. Are they competent drivers? NOPE! If you were to take a DMV driving test and perform like a Waymo van you would fail miserably, yet 'society' is super happy to assume these vehicles are there for the good of us all, yet it is for the financial benefit of wymo. Somehow Chandler residents have become the test subjects of the latest iteration of Operation Bongo (look it up). My experience is not anecdotal – i am on the road with them every day and I assert that they are some of the worst drivers on the road. Being considered a safe driver doesn't solely mean you are safe for your own benefit, it means you drive in a predictable, safe way for all other drivers. The Waymo vehicles absolutely do not do this and thus are more of a safety risk on the road than a safety net against human driver mistakes. No doubt technology will solve these issues, but Waymo should bear the full cost of testing and perfecting their technology, not at the cost of every Chandler, and neighboring cities' residents. To me it seems all us Chandler residents have a pretty good case for a class action lawsuit (i only need a 2 minute video of a waymo van's performance as evidence.)

  27. I would DEFINITELY ride a self-driving vehicle. Humans as a species have over 100 years of driving experience and we're terrible at it. Let's eliminate the human element all together.

    1:57 something to consider is that "aggressive driving" isn't really efficient driving. Squeezing into a small gap in traffic would require a driver to mash the accelerator, and risk a collision. I think humans just need to practice patience when riding in these. I think as autonomous cars take over, we're going to see a shift from [driver] road rage to [passenger] road rage.

  28. if autonomy will always have constraints then how it is autonomy at first place! "Dictionary definition: the right or condition of self-government".

  29. 34hr. a year in traffic? In the Philippines, it's up 1000hrs/year. The world really needs to get off from private ownership of vehicles and put it back as an uber luxury item.

  30. Nope not me. I drive a truck for a living and I don't like the fact that just because a rich company makes something available for lots of people doesn't mean it's safer to go with the flow there's lots of complaints about these vehicles.

  31. A decade from now, people should be able to accept self-driving cars like they've accepted automatic gear. Our grand children would be like "OMG grandpa you still drive your own car???" When cars, trucks and van can go around carrying passengers, delivering packages, food and groceries, you'll be weird to refuse to step into a driver-less vehicle.

  32. So many sensors on the Waymo, how does it sync up when you it gets conflicting information (like with the Boeing 737MAX). We can all drive with plain sight behind the windscreen, why need all those sensors? I think teslas concept without lidar is much better — although I think real self driving cars are 10-20+ years away.

  33. My only reservations is, what if this vehicle gets hacked? sense it does operate on some type of computer system. It must be connected to the internet.

  34. They aren't coming for your guns, they aren't even coming for your cars, they are coming for your driving licenses.

  35. I would prefer you follow a Waymo unannounced so we see how it really behaves when it's not using a route suggested by your Waymo hosts.

  36. I would get into a self driving car. It sounds pretty cool. I mean I'd still be scared but what's life without a bit of risk.

  37. All technology are very useful specially this called Waymo. But its up to the human how to handle such advanced self-driving-car. Because sometimes, its the human who abuses thing.

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