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Check Out Waymo’s Way of Making Minivans Cool Again

Waymo looks to bring a commercial taxi service in Phoenix, without hiring any drivers. Through their latest video, we can see how close they are to making that a reality.

The video stars a fully driverless minivan, shown through a 360-degree look inside and out. The van is part of the Google spinoff’s public education campaign to raise tech awareness around an idea that seems impossible to most.

The Arizona Department of Transportation signed off on Waymo’s application to serve as a transportation company in the state which pushes them in the right direction as they prepare to compete with Uber. Before they begin operation, Waymo must assure everyone that the self-driving cars are safe to be on the road in any environment. To make things clear, their video demonstration may put some minds at ease.

The narrator leads with a brief introduction on the sensors Waymo uses – LIDAR, radar, and high-definition cameras – and their range. The 360-degree feature is there to show the full capability of the minivan’s sensing power. This data is presented on screens inside the vehicles for passengers to track during their rides.

The minivans make a number of left turns in the video, something viewers should take note of. A report in The Information showcased their struggles of perfecting left turns, especially when no green arrow was present. However, The Information also reported that the problems were addressed after vehicle software updates. The video shows no difficulty at all, but a Waymo spokesperson said this was not a major point of interest when the video was made.

Waymo wants everything to be perfect for their customers, aiming to be the first to have people in their driverless cars and without any issues. Last year, they premiered an ad campaign in Arizona with partnerships like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Safety Council.

It’s still a fresh, new idea that will take time to get used to. The video is dope, but can people really feel safe in a van with no driver? Only time will tell, but Waymo certainly hopes so.

The company accrued 5 million autonomous miles traveled on public roads. It took six years to rack up 1 million miles, six months to reach 4 million miles, and another 3 months to reach the latest milestone.

“Today we’re driving as many miles in one day as the average American adult drives in a whole year,” a spokesperson said.

You can check the video out for yourself below.

[via The Verge]

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