Saturday, March 2

Waymo’s self driving cars on Miami streets as company tests its technology

Driverless cars on Miami streets

Driverless cars on Miami streets


MIAMI — If you’ve been to San Francisco in recent years, it’s hard to miss Waymo’s distinct looking autonomous cars driving around without an operator in the vehicle.

FILE – In this April 7, 2021 file photo, a Waymo minivan arrives to pick up passengers for an autonomous vehicle ride, in Mesa, Ariz. Waymo’s self-driving ride-hailing service is branching out to San Francisco. The Alphabet, Inc., autonomous vehicle unit said Wednesday, March 30, 2022, it has started carrying employees in electric Jaguar I-Pace SUVs without human backup drivers. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

“In San Francisco, we recently secured the permit to begin charging for rides and be open to the public,” said Will Shepherdson, product manager at the company. “There’s a huge waitlist, we’re getting people off the waitlist.”

To help make that a reality, Shepherdson said Miami played a role.

“We came to Miami in 2019 during the development process, validating the performance of the Waymo Driver, and earlier this year, we began serving riders in wet and rainy conditions in California and Phoenix,” he said.

To improve their next generation of software, company officials have returned along with their vehicles to the streets of Miami.

While the cars will be in autonomous mode at times, there will be an operator inside of them, officials said.

“The purpose of this trip is to improve our understanding of the rain (and) the rain conditions that you get in Miami and Florida so that we can operate the Waymo Driver and bring it to more people in more places,” he said.

Does more places include Miami? 

Shepherdson would not confirm or deny that.

“We have no plans to share it today,” he said.

During the first one million miles driven with no driver behind the wheel in San Francisco and Phoenix, Waymo reported there were two crashes that met the federal reporting guidelines, and there were no injuries reported.  

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