Waymo launches self-driving education campaign

Posted at 5:32 AM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 08:33:04-04

In the Valley, it is not too unusual to see a self-driving car nowadays. 

The Phoenix area is one of the main testing areas for the new technology. However, many people are still very hesitant to take their hands off the wheel and let the wheel take over for them. 

That is why Waymo has sparked a new education initiative that is starting right here in Arizona. But, they are trying to focus on people who should not normally be in the driver's seat.

The "Let's Talk About Self-Driving" campaign is the world's first public education campaign on self-driving cars and it is aimed at helping showcase what this technology could do for people, for example, with a disability, by collaborating with national organizations. 

One of those is the Foundation for the Blind in Phoenix near 24th Street and Northern Avenue. ABC15 caught up with CEO Marc Ashton who has one blind son himself. 

He said transportation is exactly what his employees need to feel normal.

"In Arizona, we've done really well with the blind community," Ashton explained. "Rest of the world, it's 70 percent unemployment for adults. Here, it's 5 percent and the last step for full employment is transportation."

Ashton said himself and others at the foundation have taken a test drive and wish they could get their hands on a car themselves now. 

"I have one employee who spends an hour and a half on the bus every day and imagine her being able to walk out the front door, get in a Waymo and get here in 40 minutes like everyone else," Ashton said. "It's freedom. It's freedom."

But, disability is not the only partnership Waymo has.

They also have teamed up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, the East Valley Partnership and the Foundation for Senior Living.

According to a press release, "the partners behind the 'Let’s Talk Self-Driving' campaign believe that fully autonomous self-driving cars could improve traffic safety and save lives."

You may notice more ads online, on the radio or your television. You can also learn more by visiting their campaign website.

Waymo is also still looking for people to be a part of their test-driving, early-rider program here in the Valley.