Waymo’s Robot Taxi Service Improves, But Is It Enough?
Waymo is running its self-driven taxi service in two cities:
- Phoenix, where they have some paying customers and some riding for free
- San Francisco and the adjacent towns, with just employees as passengers.
According to an internal data checked by The Information, a majority of riders have left a positive review about their experiences riding in Waymo’s robot taxis. However, there are still a few notable complaints.
The feedback recorded was based on 10,500 trips, which took place in July and August. The comments are given by anonymous passengers through Waymo’s mobile app.
Around 6,100 rides took place in the suburbs of Phoenix, with the rest in the Bay Area. Out of those 10,500 trips taken, 70 per cent of them received the highest rating of five stars, and 30 per cent were rated four stars or less.
That is an excellent improvement from the 40 per cent negative complaints from a previous batch of data which was reviewed by The Information.
This feedback offers a rare window into the growth of the company as it possesses the most advanced self-driving technology on the road today.
In spite of using public roads, Waymo is not obliged to reveal customer feedback to local supervisors.
An Overview of the Feedback
Most of the passenger complaints were about the circuitous routes, weird drop-offs and shaky driving. Others have praised the service for getting out of tricky traffic situations.
The complaint rate in San Francisco was 47 per cent, higher than the total complaint rate of data worth two months.
An anonymous employee had said that this could be because Waymo urges its employees to be strict reviewers while using the self-driving taxi service.
How Does Waymo Work?
A majority of Waymo trips are taken place with human safety drivers behind the wheel who keep their hands on their laps as the vehicle drives itself.
Waymo has also offered some passengers rides in fully driverless vehicles, with no safety driver but only in limited areas.
Some users do need to sign a nondisclosure agreement to test the vehicles, while others who pay for the service and are not subject to NDAs.
The land in San Francisco is harsher than suburban Phoenix, with narrower roads and more pedestrians and cyclists.
The data emphasize the difficulties that Waymo will face as it seeks to increase its self-driving taxi service.
That being said, experts do believe that it will take years before autonomous cars can match up with the convenience and reliability of human-powered ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
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