Driverless cars are surely coming in the not too distant future. We don’t exactly know when, but they should already be commercially (and more importantly legally) viable within a decade. There are those who see this as a threat to driving as we’ve come to know it, but there are others who say they can’t come quickly enough.
Tesla has demonstrated that its cars can already drive themselves, although the automaker’s Full Self Driving system is still not glitch-free. There are many other companies out there, that are not automakers, and they are focusing solely on improving their driverless car tech - one of these companies is Waymo.
It started out in 2009 as Google’s self-driving vehicle project, but it became a separate entity when it became a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s new parent company, as of 2016. Currently operating a fleet of over 600 vehicles that provide driverless ride, Waymo has the stated goal of making driverless personal transport safe and easy.
The company’s vehicles have acquired experience over 20-million driven miles, but the number actually goes all the way up to 20-billion miles, once all the simulated miles are factored in too. Waymo’s completely driverless ride-hailing service (called Waymo One) is currently only operating in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona.
It is here where Derek Muller, the man behind the very popular Veritasium YouTube channel, hails a ride in one of Waymo’s driverless Chrysler Pacificas and makes many interesting points while he travels with nobody in the driver's seat. His conclusion, after a not completely uneventful ride that involved a screeching halt, is that we should embrace self-driving vehicles because they will improve road safety and save lives.