Car Waymo, the result of eight years of work on the creation of an autonomous car from Google, is finally ready for full-fledged operation. Google offers volunteers to ride on Waymo in the territory of Phoenix.
This experiment is a real opportunity for Waymo to consolidate its leading position, as Google managed to get ahead. It really is the first and only working real autonomous car in the world. This is not a model, not a prototype, and not a test version. If the final test is successful, cars such as Waymo can be launched in the city, state, country, etc. in the very near future.
The main purpose of using Waymo is the opportunity to use the car by people with disabilities and pensioners. That’s why Google invites everyone to test the car, including these groups of people.
Before the car was launched, it drove more than 2 million test miles in a variety of weather conditions and overcame many barriers.
Previous versions that Google tested, were created based on off-road vehicles Lexus. After that, Google decided to work a little on the ergonomics of cars: it was decided to create more modern vehicles that would look like cosmic ultramodern ones. The new models on autonomous control did not imply the presence of the steering wheel and pedals. Another version of the car is Chrysler, a fairly large minivan that was launched for testing in Arizona.
Waymo is engaged in the independent production of sensors in order to be able to literally “see” the world around. For this purpose, LIDAR sensors in the last generation are used, over which continuous work is also being done to improve the technology. Three-dimensional sensors have a fairly high price of about $70,000, while the car requires at least four such sensors to be equipped. Forecasts report a very likely decrease in the cost of these sensors over time. By the beginning of the next year, it is planned to reduce the price by ten times, and even more to make the sensors universally available at a price of a maximum $50.
Despite the fact that the ideal goal for autonomous vehicles is the total lack of ancillary actions on the part of the driver, Waymo still allows the passenger to participate. This is done in order to have insurance for unforeseen circumstances, while the technology is still an absolute novelty. In the future, Google plans to upgrade the device. In the new version, the user participation will not only be not required, but it is going to be technically excluded.
As predicted, most people do not plan to use the autonomous cars in the nearest future. The reason for this is elementary anxiety in relation to everything new. In the press, there was enough information about accidents during the testing of cars. The last fatal accident happened about a year ago, although the blame for the malfunction was placed on the driver. Another concern is the aggravation of traffic congestion. Waymo was created in order to minimize negative situations in any manifestations, be it an accident or traffic jams. Only time and application of the 500 planned cars in practice will show how much Google managed to achieve its goals.