The journalists managed to find the passenger of the Waymo robotici, who told about the work of the service
A few days ago, an article was published on Habré about the Waymo One robot service created by Google. The service seems to have problems in the course of the project. In particular, robomobils did not begin to let out on the roads without operators-people in the driver’s seat. In addition, the launch of the service was held in a closed mode - only participants in the beta test of the service can use the robotaxi, for all who wish Waymo is not yet available. In the published material, another problem was voiced - journalists could not manage to get in touch with robotic passengers who could tell something about the service. But now the situation has changed and such a person has been found.
He becameentrepreneur from Phoenix named Michael Richardson. As it turned out, all Waymo passengers are bound by a non-disclosure (NDA) subscription, so journalists could not find those that had already tried out robotoaxi. But Richardson’s NDA is no longer valid, so the entrepreneur spoke about his impressions.
Immediately, he said that he was impressed with the capabilities of the ro-mobile. They really can do a lot. As for the service itself, its coverage of the region is still small, and the number of places where you can call the car is limited. For this reason, the entrepreneur was able to use the robotaxy only four times in three months. The operator was present all four times in the car; there was no fully autonomous travel. At the same time, Richardson says that the operator corrected the actions of a robokar at least once in four trips.
The entrepreneur was lucky to become a participant in the service test in mid-September. At the same time, he did not use robotaxi after the official launch of the service - all four flights came during the beta test period. According to him, Waymo cars are comfortable enough, and the service itself is not very practical. Now robotaxi travels only in one direction, to the western part of the region, there are no “flights” to the east.
Approximate map of coverage by the route network of the Phoenix suburb of Rototaxi.
According to the entrepreneur, a taxi is also expensive. On average, it is $ 14. The same distance on Lyft costs less by 1 dollar, and on Uber - by 2 dollars.
According to Waymo, all this is just a test, so the final price will be slightly different. Anyway, but Waymo drivers (operators) get more than drivers of Uber, Lyft or any other service, so a higher price tag can be explained by the company's desire to bring the service to some level of profitability.
Richardson believes that another big minus of the Waymo is a limited number of locations where a rover mobile can pick up a passenger. Taxis of any kind can come to the place where the passenger needs, so he does not have to particularly walk. The pick-up time is about the same as in a taxi - 5-20 minutes, depending on the location of the passenger, time of day and other factors.
Of course, over time, we can expect an expansion of the rototaxi route network, as well as a general improvement in the company's work model. Now the service, although announced a public launch, but in fact it all looks like a beta test.
As for the positive moments, there are a lot of them. Richardson said that he had never seen a robotic car put himself and the people inside at risk. "Drives" the autopilot carefully, but confidently. As mentioned above, during four flights in robocare, an entrepreneur noticed only once that the operator interfered with the system. This happened when a roboticia followed a bus along a car-loaded road branch. When the bus turned off to a stop to pick up people, there was an empty seat in front of the robotaxi. But the car stopped anyway - and then the operator took control, sending Waymo further on the road.
As for the route, when choosing it, the car is guided by some considerations of its own. One day, when transporting Richardson from point A to point B, the robomobil chose a path, the follow time for which is 5 minutes longer than when following the usual route. According to representatives of Waymo, the choice of the path is worked out by a rover mobile taking into account weather conditions, time of day and traffic on the roads. That is, it may well be that the usual route was too loaded with machines, so if the robotaxy followed it, the delay would be more than 5 minutes. Richardson also highlighted the opportunity to park in difficult conditions - the system copes with this task with a bang.