CHANDLER, AZ - Driverless technology has reached the next milestone in the Valley and Waymo has set its sights on reaching the next destination within the next year. The company has been testing autonomous vans out in the Valley for a while and part of what they've been creating is a 360-degree passenger experience that is now live online.
The video posted on Youtube allows you to look in every direction from the roof of the car and from the back seat as the van drives through local areas like Downtown Chandler. Working with professional filmmakers and using lasers, cameras and radar, it paints a 3-D picture showing you how the car works. It identifies every object you pass, measures distance and anticipates what everything around it will do, including turning cars and people crossing the street.
Waymo wants passengers to feel comfortable about joining them for the ride because the company believes this technology will save lives on the roads.
"We know that 37,000 people die on U.S. roadways every single year and we know that 94 percent of those deaths involve human error, so having a car that doesn't get tired, drunk, distracted...we really think that can improve road safety," said Waymo representative Johnny Luu.
Waymo says it's been using test passengers in the Valley since last fall and will be ready to start shuttling others around within the next year.
"We are really excited about the next step to launch a commercial service in Phoenix for residents to commute to work, get around town and their errands," said Luu.
Using a tablet will give you a full-screen view. If you have a mobile phone, click on the VR icon that looks like a pair of binoculars in the bottom corner. You can use this method with virtual reality views as well.