Do you remember in the Eighties when almost every movie talking about the future, had the same principle of flying cars or driving around on their own?
Well, that’s not the case anymore.
The present world is much more interesting and complex than that, with a mix of emerging technologies coming together to change the way we live.
It can be overwhelming to grapple with all this information.
So I decided to write about one futuristic company that brings into reality the dream of having artificial intelligence taking care of the route and driving part.
This is the story of Waymo and their driverless cars.
Waymo is a company based in Mountain View, California.
Waymo has been working hard on making things happen, and they make this possible by filling their plans with big ideas, strong projects, and a proven track record.
The driving force behind this change is the company are the Co-Chief Executive Officers Dmitri Dolgov and Tekedra Mawakana.
Tekedra, a resident in San Francisco, is recognized by Automotive News in 2020 as among the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry, Top 20 in 2020 Influential Women in Mobility by Vulog, and as one of the most influential black leaders in corporate America by Savoy magazine in 2020 and 2019. She was named a Visionary Leader by ALM and InsideCounsel in 2016 and a Tech Titan by Washingtonian magazine in 2015.
While Dmitri received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Physics and Math from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
And a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.
Not bad at all for the two CEOs of the company.
They both hold a relevant position at Waymo as the CEOs, and they are working on solving one of the most principal problems of our time.
After all, we live in a world that is becoming more and more unsafe, and automated vehicles could be the answer to our safety concerns.
Most of the car crashes in Los Angeles are caused by human errors.
Would a robot be able to save more lives?
I dug deeper into the rabbit hole of this life-changing project, and this is what I found out so far.
So, how does this company work?
The Google self-driving car project begins.
This company started in 2009 in the sunny city of Mountain View.
They set out on a challenge to drive autonomously over ten uninterrupted 100-mile routes in one of their Toyota Prius cars.
Months later, they would succeed in driving more autonomous miles than had ever been driven before by any other company.
In 2015, the first fully autonomous ride on public roads.
They explored what fully autonomous cars could be with the Firefly.
These cars had custom sensors, computers, steering, and braking, with no steering wheel or pedals.
That year, Steve Mahan, legally blind, took the first fully autonomous ride on public roads in Austin, Texas.
In 2017 Waymo became an autonomous driving technology company.
Waymo was established under Alphabet as an autonomous driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they are going.
The Waymo Early Rider Program.
During the same year, Waymo Early Rider Program begins.
They invited residents in Phoenix, Arizona, to join the first public trial of autonomously driven vehicles. Their feedback has been integral in helping shape the Waymo technology, service, and customer experience.
In 2018 Waymo One launched in Phoenix.
The company launched the world’s first commercial autonomous ride-hailing service.
This service was made available to a select group of riders in Phoenix.
How does Waymo work?
They have developed their own self-driving technology with custom sensors, computers, and software. It includes everything needed to drive entirely on their own.
Those vehicles can detect objects, interpret their shapes and movements, maintain a safe distance and navigate accordingly.
In 2020, Waymo Via expanded truck testing to New Mexico and Texas.
They introduced Waymo Via as the business unit dedicated to moving goods.
They started their testing in New Mexico and Texas.
They conducted trucking and delivery pilot programs, exploring how logistics partners could move goods more safely and efficiently with the Waymo Driver.
The Youtuber and the car on the run.
But what if, during a ride, the car starts behaving erratically?
To the point of almost kidnapping you and running away from the assistance guys who came to the rescue?
This is what happened to Joel Johnson, who publishes videos on YouTube under the handle JJRicks Studios.
His car started tripping after meeting some traffic cones.
And the results were between hilarious and concerning.
Here you can see the video of Joel dealing with a Waymo car on the run:
Obviously, these are machines, and just as any other artificial intelligence, they can fail from time to time.
But being on board a car with locked doors and fleeing the support crew is more similar to a chapter from Terminator than to something I would like to experience.
However, these cars have been tested for miles and miles and are being highly requested also in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
But, so far, they are still focusing on a restricted area to keep on upgrading their service.