Last Thursday, the self-driving car company Waymo invited to a public community forum in Mountain View, answering questions from residents. The company hast launched the world’s first commercial robotaxi service in Phoenix some weeks ago, and there were news about similar services starting in 2019 in San Francisco and Mountain View (where Waymo is headquartered).
One of the attendees posted some of the take-aways from the forum including:
- There is no indication of when Bay Area service will begin.
- Video of passengers will be recorded at all times. The system’s electronics appears to be all in the box under the rail across the roof, a solid tamperproof design.
- Passengers have access to a “rider support” app both on the in-vehicle tablets and on their phones in the “hailing” app. Live humans monitor the channel and answer questions. Sounds a bit like (GM’s) OnStar…
- Drop-off and pick-up can only occur in *mapped* areas. These do not include private driveways or smaller parking lots. Pick-up/drop-off may therefore occur on closest public street. Computationally choosing them must be tough!
- Several blind attendees were in the audience. Waymo presenters mentioned rider support application has accessible modes for blind and deaf users. Kudos to Waymo!
- Cars that need repair will automatically signal a remote team of drivers who are on call and who can come to the rescue.
- Their answer regarding hackers controlling the vehicle was mixed.
Here is the full thread by Alison Chaiken:
This article was also published in German.