Autonomous Jaguar I-PACE electric cars have gone into service in San Francisco, powered by Waymo fully autonomous driving technology.
Notably, this is the first time any company is simultaneously running fully autonomous ride-hailing operations in multiple cities, and we look forward to being able to serve more riders and continue learning from them.
“Building a safe, robust, and generalizable autonomous driver—the Waymo Driver—whose capabilities and performance transfer well between geographies and product lines is our main focus,” said Dmitri Dolgov, Waymo co-CEO. “Just as our previous experience allowed us to deploy our 5th-gen Driver in San Francisco quickly and with confidence, the combination of our experience in San Francisco and Phoenix’s East Valley, grounded in millions of miles of real-world driving and boosted by billions of miles driven in simulation, is already guiding our progress in Downtown Phoenix and sets us up for future expansion of our fully autonomous ride-hailing service.”
Autonomous cars have been the stuff of science fiction almost since the dawn of mass-produced cars. As far as I know, the first science fiction reference to autonomous cars was in 1935, about ten years after Henry Ford figured out how to make a Model T every twenty-seven seconds. Writer/physician Dr. David H. Keller also identified what is even today one of the driving factors in the development of self-driving vehicles:
The glancing blow from the recklessly driven automobile had spun him into the gutter, but had injured little except his pride and his clothing.
"And that is just one more reason why the average human being should not be allowed to drive such a powerful machine!" he mused to himself. "it has taken the combined intelligence of all the scientists of modern time to perfect the automobile and yet it is sold to and driven by any moronic fool who is able to gather together the few dollars necessary to buy a secondhand one."
(From The Living Machine by Dr. David H. Keller)
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