Self-Driving Cars Gaining Ground; Waymo Leading the Pack
August 6, 2018 (freightwaves.com) An online article from freightwaves.com discusses some of the recent strides made by the self-driving car industry, concluding that the vehicles might be all around us sooner than we expected.*
The idea of self-driving cars still seems pretty futuristic to most people, like something from a movie, only possible in the distant future when technology advances greatly. But that future date might be a lot sooner than we think.
Despite setbacks in the autonomous vehicle industry, developers are pushing forward and gaining ground quickly. Earlier this year, a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, and many people believed this was likely the end of the self-driving car experiment. Companies like Waymo, however, said tragedies like this were exactly the reason the world needed self-driving vehicles.
In 2016, more than 37,000 people in the United States were killed in vehicle accidents, the vast majority of which were caused by human error. Self-driving vehicles can prevent thousands of deaths every year and open up extreme conveniences for people, Waymo says. In pushing its vision, Waymo has logged 8 million miles in its autonomous vehicles and has deployed trucks, minivans, and SUVs onto public roads across the country.
The company has been running full autonomous testing in Phoenix since March without any major incidents and is looking to partner with Valley Metro, Phoenix’s public transit system, to shuttle people to and from bus stops, train stations, and light-rail stations. Waymo believes this service will drive down ride-hailing costs (from about $2 per mile to 70 cents a mile) and provide the community with safe and convenient transportation to major public transit.
If Waymo has its way, the day of the mainstream self-driving car is already dawning.
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