American Media: Human Beings Still the Key to the Success of Waymo Autopilot Technology


Sina Technology News Beijing morning on August 18th morning, according to the US financial media CNBC reported that Alphabet’s Alphabet, the auto driving car company, has created the world’s most intelligent car, which can use the best AI in the world, but there is another obstacle that may be underestimated: people.
Over the past few months, the company has received regulatory approval to use Alphabet’s artificial intelligence (AI) assets to improve its driving system and to work with other car manufacturers. Currently, Waymo’s mileage is higher than any other company’s similar products.
However, communities closest to Waymo’s main test site in Phoenix, Arizona, say human factors remain complex, from hiring more drivers and supporters to working with city officials and emergency responders.
Earlier this month, CNBC visited Phoenix to see how Waymo is progressing. A few weeks ago, the company launched its first real business in the Phoenix area, the commercial automatic taxi service Waymo One. At the same time, Uber, Tesla and General Motors subsidiary Cruise and other competitors are planning to launch their own autopilot technology, and it is estimated that by 2026, the total market size will reach US $556 billion 670 million.
Although analysts have valued Waymo at $70 billion, CNBC’s trip to Phoenix shows that the road to profitability will require human participation.
Community participation
Arizona officials say they have been in regular contact with Waymo over the past few years. So far, this partnership has worked only because of the participation of the city, which regards citizens as the top priority. If Waymo wants to expand its business scope, it must repeat these efforts on a wider scale.
Several officials in Chandler, Arizona say that the city is transforming some streets and parking lots to suit the needs of self driving cars. Also working with police and fire departments, Sean Duggan, Chandler’s police chief, said his department was working with Waymo to determine the type of emergency vehicle alarm so that Waymo cars could respond.
“When we first started using this technology, there were many problems, and there are still many problems,” Dugan said. “Dialogue is important,” he added.
Duggan said the company also had to work out some details, including how to collect fines and how to develop a comprehensive state agreement so that each jurisdiction could have uniform enforcement standards. Departments must also train employees how to deal with collisions, says Mr Da, because autopilot is more complex than ordinary cars.
Officials and local residents tell us that speed limits have been the focus of controversy among other drivers on the road because autopilot speeds are slower than most human drivers. Local reports said residents vented their anger at Waymo cars by harassing drivers, trying to pull them off the road and throwing stones at them.
Author and mobility expert Dan Albert said: “They function like a 15-year-old driver who wants to get a driver’s license, not a really mature driver.”
He said he and the fire chief had received calls from police officers across the country, expressing concern or curiosity about the technology, especially after a Uber autopilot crashed a pedestrian near Tempe in March 2018.
The labor
Waymo is preparing to form a temporary team to maintain its fleet. Over the past two months, the company has released dozens of job demands, including a new role, temporary labor management director.
Waymo also needs to train a safety driver for each car.
Passengers in Phoenix tell us that human drivers are sometimes needed. Chris Ingle, a Waymo One driver, said that although he had a lot of pleasant experiences, he grabbed the steering wheel when a police officer called to a halt on the highway because, according to him, the Waymo failed to stop in time, causing the police to tow the car away. But he reiterated that this had happened only once.
Waymo also needs maintenance personnel for each warehouse to wash cars and change oil.
“The promise and hope of many companies is to eliminate the labor force, the need to drive, so that people don’t have to be trapped in delivering pizza and other jobs,” Albert said. “In fact, people’s interaction is still an important part of transport services, and we forget that in a large number of transport functions, we need to be complete. End-to-end user experience.”
Waymo also needs the 24/7 operator to solve the driver’s support problem. Its role is at least one thing: when the autopilot car thinks that after a certain driving course is over, we need to tell him to open the door. Officials tell us that if the police want to make a ticket for the illegal driving car, you can dial a phone number. Waymo will ensure that 24/7 will receive all weather.
More passengers
So far, the company has used personnel interaction and feedback from Waymo One drivers to train the driving experience of autopilot. In Phoenix, the company integrates passenger feedback, displaying trees, pedestrians and bicycles on In-car displays. Despite the great progress made in automatic driving technology, more passengers are required to train the autopilot system in Phoenix and other areas where the weather is even worse.
John Krafcik, chief executive of Waymo, also said in a recent automotive industry podcast that although a spokesman for the company said Waymo had built-in advanced driving simulators, it still needed as much field driving experience as possible.

Last month, the company announced that Waymo and Lyft are working together to build a fleet of 10 autopilot vehicles in Phoenix, which requires more passengers. A spokesman said the aim was to test it in front of more people who might not know what Waymo was and what it was doing. She added that the company wanted the new fleet to be larger than the current number of cars.
Rui Yin (UBS) raised the value of Waymo’s assets from $45 billion to $135 billion. At the same time, it said that by 2030, Alphabet’s autopilot could create up to $114 billion in revenue by allowing customers to book autopilot car sharing services.
Psychological change
And most importantly, Waymo must overcome the popular mentality that cars need drivers.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey (Doug Ducey) said that for citizens, self driving cars are still “terrible”, he added, “people feel this is very complicated. It is destructive in many ways, but it will also be a creative new job.
In past interviews, Waymo CEO Kraftsick said it would take about 10 years for Waymo to become ubiquitous, partly because humans could not give up their cars.
And, although most of the people we talked to felt Waymo was trustworthy, there were others who were not confident about the future without safe drivers.
“I don’t want to sit in a robot car,” said a teenage passenger. Speaking about driving a car without a safe driver alone in the future, he said, “I hope it can make drivers feel more interactive and keep talking to you. It’s not like real people. You just go in and it’s a little strange. You never know what’s going to happen.
However, the other family members of the teenager are excited about the self driving car.
Uber’s fatal car accident has not played a negative role. After the incident, Waymo continued to do business as usual, but more efforts must be made to win public trust, because students from nearby Arizona State University are protesting against the self driving car on campus.
Kevin Hartke, Chandler’s mayor, said he had heard about complaints and concerns from the East Coast. Speaking about his communication with Waymo after the Uber crash, he said, “We’ve talked to them and they promised [us] to do the right thing.” (Smei)