Driverless Testing in California

The first Monday in April, California opened its doors to autonomous vehicles with no safety driver — truly “driverless” cars.

Only one company, that has not been named, expressed interest.

A few weeks later, a second company applied for a driverless permit, Waymo.

Waymo is working with a number of California cities to set up driverless tests, several of which appear quite enthusiastic to be working with the leader in self-driving cars.

“Autonomous vehicle technology “is going to be crucial in helping the Silicon Valley reach its safety and transportation goals,” said Los Altos Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins.

“Waymo has done extensive vehicle testing on our local streets with a good safety record,” Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich, said in a statement. He commended the company for committing to “transparency and information sharing.”

In Sunnyvale, Mayor Glenn Hendricks likewise said he looks forward to working with Waymo.”

One angle I found interesting is how Waymo will handle disengagements:

“If one of the cars encounters something it doesn’t understand, such as complicated road construction, the car will contact Waymo for help recognizing the situation. After human testers give it feedback, the car will then decide how to navigate the situation.”

I wonder what it means for a remote “human tester” to “give feedback” to a Waymo vehicle.

And don’t forget, from my old colleague Oliver Cameron:

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