Anyone driving past Waymo’s Mountain View headquarters will notice the absence of the autonomous robotaxis in the form of Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans that had been driving around the region in such numbers until before the pandemic. These drove in large numbers for several years, transporting Waymo employees in test mode.
With the onset of the pandemic, things changed. Not only did the robot cabs no longer drive around because the employees were all sitting in the home office, the vehicles were all covered up in the garage at Waymo headquarters, clearly visible as you drove down San Antonio Road.
Now, however, the vehicles have disappeared not only from traffic, but also from the roof of the garage, as I discovered on December 9, 2021.
The question that arises is: where did the vehicles disappear to?
- Have they been shipped to other locations, such as San Francisco or Phoenix, to expand operations there?
- Have they been decommissioned to make way for a new generation of vehicles?
Things seem to point to the first option, as Waymo has reportedly begun mapping other Phoenix neighborhoods in Arizona. In the Chandler neighborhood, Waymo has already been operating a robotaxi service since 2018 with a fleet of several hundred of the Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans. To expand the service, it may have become necessary to pull the test fleet out of Mountain View and bring it to Arizona. Or even to New York to map the city?
But what does that mean for Mountain View and the Bay Area? Will we see a fleet of new vehicles? For example, more of the Jaguar iPaces that are already in use in San Francisco? Or completely different vehicles from other manufacturers?
SORRY NOT SORRY
Die Kunst, wie man sich nicht entschuldigt, ist ein hehres Gut. Politiker, Manager, Kirchenvertreter und viele andere Persönlichkeiten des öffentlichen Lebens beherrschen diese Kunst in Perfektion. Korruption bei der Maskenbeschaffung? Nie passiert. Nicht genug Impfstoff? Tut uns leid, lässt sich aber nicht ändern. Milliarden mit der geplanten Autobahnmaut versenkt? Nicht meine Schuld. Was soll die ganze Aufregung?
This article was also published in German.