At the moment, participation in the trials requires the signing of a non-disclosure agreement, but it is still in the air when unmanned trips will be available to general public.
Waymo started testing its unmanned vehicles in Phoenix, Arizona. The tests are so far being held behind closed doors, and all their participants must sign non-disclosure papers.
The startup’s CEO John Krafchik has coined the term “rider-only” meaning trips taken by passengers without a driver. He stated that several hundred people were participating in the trials. The launch dates of open trials have not yet been disclosed.
Krafchik approves of the idea put forth by Elon Musk, who proposed that the autopilot should work for its owner taking people where they need to go while the owner is not using his or her car. However, he says that what Musk calls an autopilot is in fact the implementation of a system, where the driver has to act as a backup for autopilot algorithms and monitor the road keeping his hands on the steering wheel.
Another vector of Waymo’s development is autonomous cargo transportation. The company has already started testing a cargo autopilot tentatively named Husky using Peterbilt vehicles in Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia.
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