Working In The Field

One of Voyage’s operators (not me) preparing one of our vehicles for testing.

I am spending most of today “in the field,” at The Villages, San Jose, where Voyage is preparing to launch a driverless robotaxi service for senior citizens.

This is my first trip to The Villages, and my first time riding in a Voyage vehicle. I love it!

I’ve been fine-tuning the brake control parameters for our 3rd-generation vehicles, largely from home (everyone works from home right now), using data collected in the field by our operations team. Today was an opportunity to ride along in the vehicle itself and see how well the brakes perform.

Riding in the vehicle is such a different and more visceral experience than sitting at a desk, working with data files on a computer. I could really feel what was comfortable and what wasn’t, in a way that normally gets relayed second-hand from our operations team.

And, since this was my first trip to The Villages, I got a much better understanding of the streets and the environment where we operate. Reviewing top-down maps or even vehicle sensor feeds just doesn’t provide the same level of context and being in the operational design domain (ODD).

This is a big part of what makes working on self-driving cars so much fun!

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