Waymo Early Riders and The Driverless Taxi

It seems that Waymo is well onto the road to its next West-World AV. They have been testing their AV's in Phoenix with great success. In November of 2017, they managed to test drive totally driverless cars, where the AV was left to ride around Phoenix without a safety passenger/driver. Now Waymo has sealed a concession with the City of Phoenix to fully operate its first rideshare fleet of AV's in a specifically defined area of the city.

Fiat Chrysler (FC) announced in January that it would collaborate with Waymo and supply them with thousands of AV modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, which is Fiat Chrysler's way of staying in the game. The automaker will incorporate Waymo's hardware and software towards the end of 2018 and will create a new minivan, an AV-specific minivan.

Waymo and FC collaboration helps both companies, FC will take the lead in the driverless car race if Waymo can deliver. Waymo already has a sweet deal going on in Phoenix, and the "early rider" project will allow them to test drive full AV's in a 100 square mile geo-map area of Phoenix. In this area, all of Waymo's fleet will be totally devoid of a driver or human interface. Only the passengers will be allowed into the vehicle. The passengers that will take part in this pilot program will be those that have already ridden in Waymo AV's in Phoenix.

My take on this: Phoenix Uber and Lyft drivers beware, an AV will always get 5 stars, because even if you rate it 1 star, it won't be deactivated. The AV companies will dictate the service, and the new race will be between how much enjoyment a passenger received during a ride and not how much interaction between the driver and the passenger made the ride enjoyable.

Its here, its now and it will grow. Sort of like he Blob but without a happy ending.

I am really not so excited by a driverless car. One of the highlights of taking a ride or driving, is the interaction with the other person. I have some great therapy sessions with my various drivers. Its like visiting a bar and releasing all your woes. So, a driverless car, no thanks, the world is virtual enough as it is. Imagine this, you walk about with your head buried in a mobile phone, you drive to work in a driverless car…and you have a robot pet. What’s next?