It took Waymo six years to drive one million miles, but only three months for the last million, reaching now 5 million autonomous miles driven on public roads. That’s the speed of progress that the technology lead has been seeing.
Waymo announced in its latest blog this milestone, having reached 5 million miles. With 6060 vehicles gathering those miles mainly in Mountain View, CA, and Chandler, AZ. Other cities that Waymo tested the technology were Kirkland, WA, and Austin, TX, as well as test tracks.This allows not only to experience different road conditions,but also weather. Beside the millions of miles on roads in real life testing, Waymo cars also drove 2.7 billion miles in the simulator.
Waymo also announced a few weeks ago to purchase and deploy several thousand additional vehicles. Not for testing, but for deployment and operation. In Chandler Waymo operates its cars without a safety driver behind the steering wheel, and California just passed a regulation this week to allow the same starting April.
How far ahead Waymo is of its competition was demonstrated in the latest Disengagement Report. Only every 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles) does a Waymo disengage and hand control over to a safety driver. German manufacturers are far behind, not a single company has started real life tests of fleets in cities.
How such a drive looks lie and what the vehicle sees is demonstrated in this video from the Metro Phoenix area, AZ. The 360 degree video lets us experience the ride as a passenger and explains the technology. Also watch the driver seat: it’s empty.
This article has also been published in German.