According to secret plans revealed by Addison Lee, the production of a “Self-driving taxis” is currently in progress and would be made available in London by 2021. The taxi company announced that it has formed an alliance with Oxbotica, a business that specialises in self-driving software. Saying that they will be working together to create digital maps of more than 250,000 miles of public roads in and around the capital, that would be pointing the various position of every nooks and cranny, road sign and traffic light in preparation for the deployment of autonomous cars.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Google, has been secretly working on the technology that would allow a vehicle to operate without a human driver (self – driving robot-taxi) for over ten years. They introduced a small fleet of ride-hailing vehicles in Phoenix. Arizona, asking people to pay, just as they would travel by Uber or Lyft. For now, the project would also have a human driver feature behind the wheel, just in case the robotic vehicle malfunctions.
John Krafcik, CEO Waymo’s wrote in a blog post on Wednesday saying that, As time goes by they really hope to make “Waymo One” available to even more members of the public, as the Self-driving technology is new to many so they are proceeding carefully.
He added that “Almost 10 years ago, they were founded as the Google self-driving car project to explore one simple question: how can we best use fully self-driving technology to make roads safer? And ever since then, they have been focused on building the world’s most experienced driver.”
The CEO continued saying that the decision to launch the robot-taxi in Arizona was not a matter of chance, as the state has fewer regulations on self-driving cars than most states. Though h3e also revealed that Federal guidance is yet to be put in place as regards the matter. The launch in Phoenix is said to have taken place just ten miles from Tempe, where an Uber car using robotic technology hit and killed a pedestrian crossing a darkened street in March. That fatal incident has created doubts, triggered international attention and raised concerns as to whether the technology is very safe for use.
Navigant research analyst, Sam Abuelsamid disclosed that “If people continue to lose their lives, there would likely be a bigger backlash against those vehicles, adding that he suspects the Uber incident is also the reason why Waymo decided to slow down its pace a bit and use human safety drivers in its ride-hailing service”
The report also states that Google is not the only partner working to achieve the driverless vehicle production, as Uber and Toyota also began a partnership to develop such cars in August, despite the deadly incident in Tempe. Meanwhile, Honda made a $2bn investment in General Motors driverless technology project in October.
The Google service, called Waymo One, will in the first instance be available to a couple of hundred riders, all of whom had already been taking part in a free pilot programme that began in April 2017. It will be confined to a roughly 100-square-mile area around Phoenix.