Waymo's self-driving car takes its first live televised ride-along with FBN

By AutoFOXBusiness

Waymo CEO: Safety is urgent

FBN’s Liz Claman, during an exclusive interview with Waymo CEO John Krafcik, takes the first live ride in a fully autonomous vehicle.

Waymo is charging up some big plans as it gears up to put more self-driving vehicles on the road.

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In a FOX Business exclusive, Waymo CEO John Krafcik and “Countdown to the Closing Bell” host Liz Claman took part in the company’s first live televised autonomous ride-along since the company hit 10 million public test miles in Chandler, Arizona.

“Our founding principal is safety and accessibility. We want these two things with our technology,” he said on Thursday. “The world is waiting for this technology.”

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Waymo’s global fleet consist of approximately 600 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vans with a built in dome consisting of 19 cameras, six LIDAR and radar sensors that can see an object the size of a soccer ball as far as three football fields. The imaging system allows the autonomous vehicle to accurately see in three dimensions to precisely determine the distance of objects and people on the road.

“Waymo is equipped with a lot more sensing capabilities,” Krafcik said. “It can see chickens crossing the road and we have seen chickens crossing the road,” Krafcik said.

The self-driving car company has incorporated into its fleet a safety driver as part of the vehicle’s safety measure.

“They are there to supervise the overall experience for our riders and ensure that our riders are having a good time,” Krafcik said.

Waymo One customers can choose any destination within Waymo's Metro Phoenix service area and hail the autonomous vehicle through the Waymo mobile app. The average ride could cost you an average of $7.00 to $8.00 in Chandler, according to Krafcik.

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Mayor of Chandler, Kevin Hartke, is onboard with Waymo’s self-driving initiative telling Liz Claman the ride-along vehicle he was on board was able to make a move he normally would have made during his own drive.

“I am on the Waymo one list. I’ve driven in the vehicle. I had somewhat at one point tried to go quickly around and the vehicle adjusted far superiorly than I could have caught it had I been in that seat,” he said.

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Krafcik said Waymo makes its own 3D GPS mapping system that he says are “hyper accurate.”

“One of the most important things to understand about our self-driving service is we need those finely detailed maps to understand very securely where we are,” he said.

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Waymo was originally part of Google’s “Project Chauffer” and is now a subsidiary of Alphabet. Its competitors include GM, Ford, Daimler, Toyota, BMW and Volvo who are all developing self-driving vehicles.

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