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waymo36 karma

Thanks for the question! There is a lot of confusion around this term -- it's used pretty broadly in the industry. When we use “driverless” we mean there are no other humans in the car (besides our riders, of course!).

Our entire fleet is connected to our operations center, which is staffed by a fleet response team who can monitor the vehicles and give the vehicles contextual information as needed but they can’t brake or steer the car. The vehicle itself handles braking and steering at all times. - Nathaniel

waymo30 karma

waymo29 karma

Overall, we are extremely cautious around pedestrians, and we slow and yield, which helps indicate that we see them. We've found that actions speak pretty clearly -- which is the same situation that humans are in at night, for example, when eye contact doesn't work! - Nathaniel

waymo28 karma

Thanks so much for riding with us! I ride in the cars all over Mountain View, and I sometimes get the scenic route, so I know where you're coming from!

When the car is choosing its preferred route, it considers a number of factors: the length of different routes, traffic on the roads, any construction or other slowdowns.. As you guessed, some maneuvers may lead to a longer route time so we’re able to take those into consideration too. - Nathaniel

waymo28 karma

what key metrics or milestones will you wait to hit before removing the safety driver?

We have been giving some riders completely driverless rides in parts of Phoenix, which is pretty exciting.

This is a nuanced challenge, and you can fool yourself if you use any one method or statistic to get confidence of the safety of the system. So we use a combination of methods that lets us build a fuller picture… and we continue to improve and add to those methods. At a high level they includes approaches like:

  • driving millions of miles on real public roads and reviewing disengages and other events
  • simulating software over billions of miles, and against an extensive set of challenging scenarios, including a lot that we've never seen in real life, but could happen!
  • real-world testing at our closed course. That’s because there are lots of rare situations that we want to test for but that don’t occur enough in the real-world to get meaningful data. At our private test track we can create situations and measure our technology performance against those scenarios.
  • rigorous design principles (redundant actuation, fallback systems), safety-based engineering (hazard analysis, DFMEAs), and extensively validating that our system reacts as expected.
  • We actually cover some of this in the Waymo safety report waymo.com/safety

- Nathaniel & Miz