Waymo is Enticing RidersWaymo is currently focusing on specific amenities to entice rider to use its self-driving taxi service with a goal of potentially increasing profitability. Some of the different amenities that have recently been implemented in the self-driving vehicles include the following:
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Ad-free music streaming
- Child car seats in all minivans
- Pre-cooled vehicles to 72 degrees
Understanding the Risks Associated with Self-Driving Vehicles – Based on Past IncidentsFor some, the different amenities Waymo offers in their vehicles might be enough to be more willing to travel in self-driving vehicles. However, it is important to consider the facts. Since February 2018, Waymo self-driving vehicles have traveled 5 million miles – all with the presence of a trained back-up (human) driver. The purpose of the back-up driver is to both monitor and override the autonomous (self-driving) mode to improve safety while in motion. Why is this relevant? According to reports, the intervention of these Waymo back-up drivers was necessary every 5,600 miles (on average). Considering that most rides are short-distance, you might not be worried about something that might happen every few thousands of miles. The fact that the autonomous vehicles in the leading rideshare company required back-up driver intervention approximately every 13 miles (in comparison with Waymo’s need for intervention every 5,600 miles) might give you some peace of mind. Regardless, the self-driving vehicles needed human intervention – because the technology is still not 100% reliable. There have been many instances in which vehicles with advanced technologies have resulted in fatalities. Consider the following information.
- Automated vehicles: automated vehicles require drivers to be fully aware and prepared to take control of the vehicle at any moment. There have been at least five incidents involving automated vehicles (vehicles with the auto-pilot function). One incident occurred in China. The remaining incidents occurred in the U.S. – both in California and in Florida. These incidents have resulted in both driver and pedestrian fatalities.
- Autonomous vehicles: autonomous vehicles require drivers to take control of the vehicle only occasionally, under extreme circumstances. There has only been one incident involving a fully autonomous vehicle. The incident occurred in the U.S. – specifically, in Arizona. The incident resulted in a pedestrian fatality.