It is no secret that long unmanned vehicles have been tested on some roads. At the same time, popular taxi services even offer the option of using unmanned transport. However, unmanned taxis are not really unmanned at the moment because people are in them for security reasons to prevent an emergency if it suddenly occurs. But a rather big company, Waymo, goes further and makes taxis on the streets without a driver.
According to Techcrunch, Alphabet's automotive division Waymo has begun sending e-mails to its customers. The letters say that when ordering a taxi on the next trip, there may not be a driver to ensure safety. From this we can conclude that the company was finally able to negotiate with the authorities and to ensure an adequate level of safety for its autonomous vehicles.
During the tests of unmanned vehicles on the streets of Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, and also after the complete launch of the unmanned taxi service (by the way modified minibuses from Chrysler Pacifica) sat autopilot drivers always at the wheel of a car. But soon the need for them will disappear. If the customer receives a completely unmanned vehicle, he will see a special notification in the Waymo application. The original letter is shown in the following illustration. By the way, how do you feel about unmanned cars? Write about it in our chat in telegram.
Waymo first tested its technology in 2009 in Mountain View, California. Since then, the company has expanded its testing ground to other cities, set up its own business and independently developed devices to equip them with unmanned vehicles. In 2016, a research center was opened in Arizona to develop and improve technologies. In 2017, the first passengers used autonomous taxi services. Last December, Waymo launched One, a commercial self-driving taxi service. Thus, in just 10 years, a small startup at the beginning of his journey has changed the entire automotive industry.
See also: How do autonomous cars learn to find their way?
The introduction of unmanned vehicles will be an important milestone for the company and the industry as a whole. Waymo's management has already submitted a proposal to the US Department of Transportation to change the mandatory vehicle equipment requirements. In particular, the company wants to dispense with the steering wheel and pedals, which are integrated into the vehicle design to completely take over the management of automation.
But these are all things of the future. Today a number of questions remain open. For example, it is not clear what restrictions Waymo defines for non-driver journeys and whether they will be fixed at all. It is likely that the service will operate in "simpler" conditions, such as sparsely populated areas, avoiding complex sections and highways to ensure passenger safety.