Arizonans Attacking Waymo Self-Driving Cars After Taxi Service Debut
PHOENIX, AZ – According to an online news report from newsweek.com, after the debut of Waymo’s autonomous ride-hailing service in communities near Phoenix, Arizona, people have been attacking the vehicles on the streets.
The ride-hailing service made its debut in Phoenix on December 5, and Waymo (owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.) tried to take a cautious approach during the initial days of launch. Waymo has been working with Google to develop autonomous technology since 2009 and has logged more than 10 million miles in self-driving cars on roads in five states, including Georgia.
Waymo was aware that the ride-hailing service was located in the same city where a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian in March 2018, and the company said it was taking extra steps for safety. This included requiring human safety drivers in every vehicle and limiting the service to only 100 square miles in Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert. The service is also only available to people who are already participating in Waymo’s pilot program, which began in 2017.
However, some Arizonans have still not taken kindly to the service or to self-driving cars as a whole. In Chandler, several angry residents have slashed tires on the self-driving cars and thrown things at the cars. One man even held a gun up to a Waymo car, saying he despised the cars.
A spokesperson for Waymo said safety was “at the core of everything” the company did, and that during the last two years, the company had generally found Arizonans to be “welcoming and excited by the potential of this technology to make our roads safer.”
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