Waymo Will Test Robotaxis on Phoenix Highways

    Waymo Will Test Robotaxis on Phoenix Highways
    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Autonomous vehicle operator Waymo on Monday announced it will start testing driverless rides on the freeways of Phoenix, Arizona.

    • Although an official start date hasn’t been announced, the tests will roll out gradually, with Waymo employees soon being able to hail rider-only trips on the freeways.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Waymo is doing a responsible job of improving its technology and making sure rides are safe, with its self-driving vehicles paving the way by riding exclusively on highways. Some car manufacturers may be jealous that their tech forces them to limit the autonomous features their drivers can use, but Waymo is setting a standard that will benefit its company in the present and the rest of transportation in the near future.

    Narrative B

    Waymo might be certain it’s doing everything it can in terms of safety, but it should use the experiences of Cruise in San Francisco as a cautionary tale. Waymo's competitor has been involved in near collisions and mistakes made by flustered tech, and police and fire departments have deemed the vehicles as a nuisance. Waymo's gradual rollout may need to be even more deliberate.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least two US states will first disallow human-driven vehicles on public roads by October 2071, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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