Self-Driving Taxi Service is Slow to Take OffMay 28, 2019
While ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are continuing to pave the way in the app-based transportation industry, self-driving taxis are another story. Waymo is a self-driving project owned by Alphabet, which is a Google off-shoot. According to a recent article, it took Waymo six months to reach 1,000 customers, which is a strong indication that growth may be slow when it comes to growing the business around self-driving vehicles.
Earlier this month, Waymo announced that it enrolled 1,000 customers for its taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. According to Waymo’s Chief Executive Officer, they also planned to allow certain Lyft users, who live in Arizona, to hail Waymo taxis. Currently, there are no other self-driving car companies that are carrying paying customers. Waymo is the only one that operates on public roads, although the vehicles may have human safety drivers on board.
While 1,000 is not a huge number compared to customers who use Lyft and Uber, it establishes Waymo as a leader in the slow-growing autonomous car industry. The company developed a free-to-use pilot program and began accepting passengers in April 2017. To participate, passengers had to live in the service areas, which included Chandler, parts of Mesa, Gilbert, and Tempe, Arizona. In addition, they had to apply for an invitation from the company to enroll.
How Waymo Works
The Waymo taxis are retrofitted Chrysler Pacifica minivans. In a recent demo, a taxi was summoned by the app to show up at the selected destination. Two Waymo press officials and a safety driver were also there. As the passengers got into the vehicle, the safety driver sat quietly. A message on the steering wheel instructed him to avoid touching the pedals or the steering wheel. If he did, the van would pull over. The vehicle completed the eight-mile round trip, successfully merging with traffic, stopping at red lights, and changing speeds. The main difference between the self-driving van and a human driver was that the Waymo vehicle announced every lane change.
While the vehicles successfully completed the trip, there were little to no surprises that the vehicles could react to. Waymo arranged the time of the trip and the destination. Traffic was light and there were few pedestrians around. The only issue the vehicle encountered was a truck on the side of the road that was surrounded by traffic cones. One of the customers who participated in the pilot program said that she enjoyed the autonomous taxi and looked forward to being able to ride without a safety driver being in the vehicle.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Self-Driving Car Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident involving a self-driving taxi, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will determine who is responsible for your injuries and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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