John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s sister company Waymo, announced today that Waymo vehicles together have driven a total of 32 million kilometers (20 million miles) in autonomous mode on public roads. Fifteen months ago, Waymo had only clocked 16 million kilometers (10 million miles) and took nearly 10 years to do so.
32 million kilometers corresponds to the driving experience of a human being of 1,400 years, and in doing so one orbits the globe 800 times or travels 40 times to the moon and back. Of course, the number of kilometers driven cannot be compared with correspondingly better driving, and the system must systematically learn more difficult and less frequent traffic situations. Nevertheless, with this mileage Waymo is ahead by a multiple of its competitors such as Uber, Yandex, Baidu or GM Cruise, which are each at 1 million miles of autonomous driving.
The Waymo One robotaxi service also exceeded 1,500 monthly active passengers in December for the first time, tripling the number of weekly trips since January 2019 and making over 100,000 trips since the service started in 2017. In total, Waymo operates 600 vehicles in Phoenix, Arizona, and several of these have already been observed completely driverless. The most spectacular is certainly the ride of an empty Waymo in a school zone.
Currently, Los Angeles is being mapped by Waymo for the autonomous cars, and first test drives on highways are being conducted in Florida between Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami.
Independent research institutes such as ABI expect that 8 million autonomous cars will already be in use in the U.S. by 2025, and Research and Markets anticipates 20 million autonomous cars by 2030, while UBS expects Waymo to cover 60 percent of the entire autonomous car market.
This article was also published in German.