Autonomous Self Driving, News

Safety drivers are returning to Waymo’s driverless taxis

Recently after Waymo has been going aggressive in getting their self-driving taxis on the road without any safety drivers, it looks like they are starting to change their minds. The Information reports that after concerns about safety, Waymo has decided to bring back safety drivers back to their fleet.

The autonomous vehicle company aimed to have the service fully running autonomously at the end of 2018 but it seems that with recent events, that target might be tough to achieve. The company has gone further by also installing cameras in their cars to also monitor the safety driver in case they fell asleep. This happened after a safety driver fell asleep behind the wheel of a Waymo vehicle after the driver turned off the self-driving software.

To ensure further scrutiny as well, Waymo is adding co-drivers to help support safety drivers. This would help solo drivers who tend to get fatigued after a long shift. This, of course, is causing a delay in the service as well due to operator or safety driver availability.

Waymo has also appointed the former chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, as their chief safety officer so we do know that the tech company is indeed serious about safety. The Alphabet owned company is indeed working hard to get the fully autonomous taxi service functioning in Phoenix, Arizona to a select group before pushing for a larger rollout.