In the on-demand market, ride-hailing is one of the key services that account for a higher percentage of total revenue. Followed by the ride-hailing service, the robot-taxi service set its foot in the on-demand market. Waymo is the first and the only company to date that has launched the robot-taxi service. The main concept behind this business is to provide completely self-driving car services to the customers. Many people welcomed this idea, but Waymo’s service was limited to Pheonix, Arizona. It was launched on December 5, 2018.

It has been one year since the company was founded, and it has completed over 100,000 rides to date. Currently, more than 1500 customers are using the service in a month. The cars used for this service are built based on sensor technology. These cars were being developed in Google’s secret lab since the year 2009. It started testing a few years back and drove millions of miles to check if the self-driving feature is working properly. It was mostly tested on the roads of US cities.

Why self-driven cars?

The main motive in building cars with self-driving technology is to avoid accidents and for the safety of the people. A few stats about road accidents in the US are given below:

More than 1.2 million people lose their lives in the roadways due to major accidents. Collisions that occur during traffic kills more than 35,000 people in a year.It is also found that more than 94% of these accidents occur because of human errors.

So, Waymo was launched with safety of the people as the prime agenda. When it comes to self-driven cars, there will be no human intervention, and thereby, the accidents will lower drastically.

What are the cars that Waymo is testing?

Waymo has built Lexus Suvs and other custom-built prototypes. Recently, it has built Chrysler Pacifica minivan. It collaborated with Fiat company in their facility in Michigan.

It tested all its prototypes on the roads of California, Texas, Washington, and Arizona with a test driver in each of the cars. They have completed over 200 hours of test driving in extreme weather conditions and rough roads. Right now, the cars of Waymo has around 300 years of driving experience.

What is the technology employed in self-driven cars?

The self-driven cars built by Waymo have a set of sensors and software incorporated in it. It also has a custom computer and telematics. These were tested with the SUVs before they were employed in the minivan for testing. Its sensors detect objects and vehicles in a few seconds. It looks out on all the four sides of a car and then drives accordingly. For instance, if a cyclist or a pedestrian is going to cross the road, then he/she will wave their hand before they cross. The sensors employed in the car will detect the motion of the hand and also predict the direction in which the cyclist or the pedestrian will move. Based on this analysis, the car will plan its next step.

It can also scan the colour of the signal that is displayed. It stops when the colour is red, gets ready to move forward when the colour is yellow, and then starts driving once the colour changes to green. It plans each of its moves only after completely analyzing everything around the car. So, it is highly safe to travel in these self-driving cars. It will navigate safely in traffic and you do not have to put any effort into driving.

What are their future plans?

Their latest advancement is that they have launched an app for iOS device users. The app was previously available only on the Play Store. To mark its one year anniversary, Waymo starting developing a ride-hailing app and released the iOS app in the App Store. Upcoming entrepreneurs can launch a ride-hailing app like Waymo by understating the demands of market.

Currently, they are planning to launch an Early Rider Program as a beta tester. People can enroll in this program and sign nondisclosure agreements with Waymo. They will then be put on the waitlist, and after a few days, they will be provided full access to driverless rides. They are planning to expand their service to all the cities in the US.

They also have plans to cater to the needs of the trucking and delivery services. Their main goal is to avoid accidents and provide a safe journey to the customers. In the near future, they want to extend this service globally. Once the testing process is completely over, it will be available for use by the people. After a successful launch, it will be the first robot-ride hailing taxi app in the world.

Source: Hackernoon

Related posts: