Waymo in Negotiation With Gated San Jose Community to Test Self-Driving Cars

According to rumors the Alphabet/Google daughter Waymo is planing to test its self-driving cars in a gated community in the Californian city of San Jose. The Villages Golf and Country Club, which is the home of a community of people over 55 years, is located 25 miles (39 kilometers) south of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View.

The area enforces a strict speed limit of 25 miles per hour (40km/h), where not only violators are being ticketed but also – if the driver was the guest of a resident – the resident itself.

The location and the fact that its a gated community with 2,300 condominiums and 22 single family homes with a little over 4,000 residents made Google approach the administrator. Waymo is planning to start testing its autonomous vehicles this summer and gather experience with the mobility needs of older people. If the cars tested will be the Waymo’s Fiat-Chrysler Pacifica Minivans was still unclear.

Waymo’s distinctly different approach to solve mobility requirements was already demonstrated with the first autonomous ride of the legally blind Steve Mahan. Developing self-driving technologies for demographics such as handicapped, elderly, or children, seems to be a focus area for Waymo.

UPDATE: in fact it was not Waymo but the startup Voyage, which started testing a taxi-service in autumn 2017 for this gated retirement community (here the report from the New York Times).

This article has also been published in German.


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