Waymo's early rider program is now a year old. And it's expanded as a taxi service for shoppers.
People still tell me "self-driving will never work" but it's working already. Please consider Waymo Self-Driving Cars to Ferry Walmart Shoppers in Arizona Trial.
Walmart shoppers in Phoenix metropolitan area can order groceries on Walmart.com and as their order is being prepared at the store, self-driving cars will transport them to the store and bring them back, Waymo said.
Waymo has also teamed up with U.S. shopping center owner DDR Corp to offer shoppers and diners rides in its self-driving vehicles to and from the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center in Chandler, Arizona.
Additionally, Waymo has expanded its existing partnerships with AutoNation Inc and Avis Budget Group Inc in Phoenix. AutoNation will offer customers a Waymo, rather than a loaner car, to get around while their personal vehicles get serviced.
Avis Budget Group, which keeps Waymo vehicles charged and refueled for an upcoming ride, will provide its customers these self-driving vehicles as a last-mile solution to help them pick up or drop off their rental cars.
Unlike Uber, these programs are a truly driverless success. There is no backup driver as a look at Waymo’s Early Rider Program, One Year In shows.
Check it Out!
Play video. Note the driver. Rather, note there is no driver.
Yesterday, a reader sarcastically pointed out the "shortage of truck drivers" and asked "when?"
As I have commented many times, my expected timeframe for driverless to kick off is 2020 or 2021.
Bear in mind that city driving is far more complex than point-to-point long-haul highway trucking. Yet, city driving works already as the video shows.
Mass Adoption Coming
I still expect mass adoption of long-haul self-driving trucking within 2-3 years of Federal approval. By mass adoption I mean over 50% by 2024 at the latest. 2022 or 2023 would not surprise me one bit.
Car and taxi adoption rates will be slower. But airport limo services will be early adopters. It will be easy for attendees to plug in a drop-off address and have the car automatically return to the airport.
Those Uber gig jobs will go by the wayside, possibly sooner than I expect. But Uber is clearly far behind Waymo when it comes to technology.