Waymo just emailed its customers: "Completely Driverless Cars On the Way"
Here is the email, confirmed by Waymo.
Waymo Is Letting People Choose Rides in Completely Driverless Cars
Car and Driver reports Waymo Is Letting People Choose Rides in Completely Driverless Cars
Waymo uses two different self-driving vehicles in Phoenix: Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Jaguar I-Pace SUVs. Speaking at the Frankfurt auto show last month, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the company has been testing fully driverless vehicles since 2017, but only on a small scale. "We've begun to responsibly ramp up our driverless offerings to riders in the metro Phoenix area," he said.
When a rider is matched with one of these fully autonomous vehicles without a human behind the wheel in the Waymo app, they will get a special notification that the robot taxi is on the way and will be presented with some information about the technology and what to expect. If a rider isn't comfortable without someone sitting in the driver's seat, they may cancel their "driverless" ride by contacting rider support and will then be placed in a vehicle with a Waymo-trained driver.
Waymo says the driverless rides will be available for users "soon" but would not offer any more details about when that would be. Waymo has also announced it has signed an agreement with Renault and Nissan "to explore mobility services for passengers and deliveries in France and Japan," Krafcik said.
A quick check of my calendar shows this is 2019, not 2030, not even 2024.
Nonetheless, I fully expect the usual barrage of comments about balloons, theft, dogs, and 78-year-old men on roller skates putting a quick halt to this.
Others will no doubt piss and moan about Phoenix having no snow.
My response is "This is 2019". Things are way ahead of my allegedly super-optimistic schedule.
What About Trucking?
City traffic is logistically much more difficult that point-to-point interstate truck hub driving.
Within two years of Department of Transportation approval, driverless trucking will be common if not the outright majority on interstates.
Within three years of approval, human driven long-haul trucking on interstate highways will about cease.
Expect approval within two years.
In case you missed it, please note my August 18 article UPS Quietly Using Self-Driving Trucks For Months
What About Drones?
Millions of driving jobs will soon (2-4 years) vanish, mostly interstate trucking. Taxis and other delivery services will follow, perhaps much sooner that I expect.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock