In many of the states around the country, the requirement to have a driver in the seat for vehicles that are being tested with self-driving technology is part of the agreement made during the testing phase. For over a year now, the Chrysler Pacifica models offered by the Google-based company, Waymo, have been able to offer impressive rides to and from where passengers want to go. This company has successfully tested in Arizona during this entire time and offered most of these rides without a fee to those willing to allow the vehicles to do the driving needed on the road.
Now that Waymo has completed a number of rides and passed several of the tests required for the self-driving technology, this company is ready to take the next step in the ride needed. The next step will be offering rides without a driver in the front seat to take over the wheel in case there is an issue with the programming and the function of the vehicle. This step forward could be the most frightening and exciting because those people who are willing to allow the Waymo Pacifica minivans to drive them will literally be putting their lives in the hands of this system.
Are We Ready for This?
Think about the function of driving and the amount of control you have when you drive. Do you have to react to other drivers on the road; are you typically faced with some situations that don’t seem like they were a normal part of the drive; do you know how to be a defensive driver? Now, consider the thought of giving up all this control in order to allow a van to drive you where you want to go without the need for a driver behind the wheel.
If the thought of riding in the back of a vehicle that has no driver in the front seat is something that scares you, you’ll have a couple of choices. First, you can choose to have a vehicle that has a driver, that’s always an option for you. Second, you can face this fear and learn more about what the new Waymo vehicles offer and take advantage of a free ride with technology that will amaze you when you see it in action on the road. If you choose the second option you’re going to have a ride that might scare you, but it will also leave you impressed.
Can Waymo actually offer these rides without a drive in the front seat? The answer is “yes” but they don’t leave you to your own devices when you head out on the roads in these vehicles. There is a Waymo employee in the vehicle to be able to push a button that will pull the vehicle to the side of the road if there is any inkling that something has gone wrong during the ride. This safety system allows the van to do the driving without any potential interference by the employee who is seated in the backseat but offers the ability to make sure the van can be stopped when needed.