Waymo's self-driving car fleet has racked up 8 million miles in total driving distance...

By Polycount · 21 replies
Jul 20, 2018
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  1. Despite public concern regarding self-driving car tech following numerous crashes from Uber and Tesla vehicles in recent months, companies like Waymo have forged ahead relatively uninhibited.

    Indeed, Google's self-driving car branch has done quite well for itself lately. The company has managed to get permission to test its self-driving vehicles in a wide variety of cities across the US, allowing Waymo's autonomous tech to adapt to many different driving conditions.

    The vehicles have been tested so extensively that they've now managed to clock in over 8 million miles of travel. Most importantly, this driving occurred on public roads, not closed circuits or private property. That means Waymo's cars were exposed to actual human drivers - tailgating and all.

    Impressively, Waymo's total self-driving car miles increased almost exponentially over the past several months to reach this level. As of November last year, the vehicles had only racked up around 4 million miles of total driving distance, meaning those numbers doubled in a mere eight months.

    According to Waymo CEO John Krafcik, the company's vehicles are driving an average of 25,000 miles per day, in addition to "over 5 billion miles" in simulation to date.

    Krafcik says all of this testing is how Waymo plans to build "the world's most experienced driver" - an ambitious goal, but one the company may be able to pull off if its numbers are accurate.

    Waymo's slower approach to the advancement of self-driving car tech is arguably a safer choice than the paths other self-driving car companies are taking.

    Rather than throwing the technology into the laps of drivers as Tesla has done, Waymo is taking as much time as it needs to put the tech through its paces, potentially avoiding problems before they arise.

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  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,129   +1,643

    How do these things not get jacked continually?
     
    Polycount likes this.
  3. Polycount

    Polycount TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 918   +209

    Maybe they have hidden, autonomous machine guns?
     
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  4. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,181   +311

    Kinda hard to steal a moving car riddled with video cameras?
     
    Burty117, m4a4, Evernessince and 2 others like this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,105   +2,595

    Contrary to all the comments by others against these vehicles, there are many that are proving on a daily basis that they are the wave of the future. As one that is approaching the time when I will not be able to operate a vehicle, I look forward to their abundance, which will allow me to maintain my freedom and avoid the nursing homes for a much longer time!
     
  6. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,937   +2,301

    Because everything inside and outside those cars is being recorded non-stop, not to mention an intricate, custom engine-start system, designed to be operated remotely.
     
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  7. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 641   +371

    It might even have a steering wheel missing or the first destination after getting jacked would be the police station, like fast dial on 'roids.
     
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  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,786   +1,914

    Not to mention, you don't have to pay insurance, you don't have to worry about maintenance, you don't have to worry about someone else taking the car while you need it, and you take all the bad drivers off the road among many other advantages.

    Autonomous cars are going to make us look back and wonder why we spent years of our life training, driving, and maintaining our vehicles. None the less, we will also gawk at the amount people paid for insurance, which like healthcare, has it's cost inflated by companies in the middle. If everyone pooled their money together and everyone was just insured the overall cost would be far lower.
     
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,745   +1,310

    An active life, good diet, and exercise, including resistance training, will help with that, too, according to recent research.
     
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,745   +1,310

    Maybe it even locks the doors, and has those hard-to-pull-up locks, too! LOL
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  11. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,095   +633

    I wonder what would happen if these companies pooled their resources together and created a standard for self driving cars...
     
  12. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Booster Posts: 139   +34

    Give it time a lot of tech in there worth something be hacking them soon enough or just towing away.
    Also has none had a puncture yet does it fix itself or ring breakdown itself?
    Just wait until these are a few years old and things start failing...will get interesting insurance blame game.
     
  13. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,999   +1,301

    Whey they first made airbags women got hurt from them because all the testing had been done by men and for men.

    Considering these self-driving car companies all exist in CA and AZ - what will happen when someone takes one in the snow? As someone who lives up north, I'm far more interested in how they handle construction (a daily challenge) and snow covering the lines and/or curbs in the road.

    I know you have to start on the easy roads in the sunshine, but I think this is and area where we need quality and quantity.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  14. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,645   +404

    Given the advancement of traction control systems in all vehicles and 4 wheel drive becoming more and more common with the surge in popularity of SUVs, I don't think this will be a problem. I'm assuming the software will already provide ways of correcting driving trajectory. Just be more severe use of those corrections.
     
  15. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Maniac Posts: 290   +183

    It seems like common sense rebukes your assumptions. Perhaps you haven't put much thought into it?

    Do you think all of these things are "free"... lol. You are still paying for insurance, maintenance, and theft, plus the extra profit they are scraping from your wallet for doing these things for you. How does having a self-wrecking car keep "bad drivers" off the road? You realize there still will be...? I'm not seeing any advantages other than these heartless things getting in pointless wrecks and injuring/killing people without remorse.

    Umm, no, I will not be wondering. If it ever comes to this, I will be wondering why so many people give up their freedom of driving and enjoyment of driving. Training/driving/maintaining? Training takes less than a few weeks. I didn't even need training as I paid attention to how my parents drove. That comment is laughable. Driving? No thanks. I love driving, but yet you want to take away my freedom to enjoy this? Maintaining? Umm, these things need maintenance, and many times more than a standard car. You have multiple cameras and software that will fail constantly, and need software and hardware updates over and over. Let's not count when all of these multitudes of manufacturers go out of business making these third-party cameras and software. You will be stuck with a dead car. You really need to think ahead before these things.
     
  16. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,745   +1,310

    Trumpeting the number of miles like this is pure marketing, IMO.
     
  17. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,999   +1,301

    I dont mean traction wise - I mean, the lane lines are covered in snow, so how does the car know what lane to drive in? Or the curb is covered in snow, so does it hit it when it turns a corner (I've seen people do this). When the orange barrels make you drive on the wrong side of the road will the car be able to figure it out? (this is one is true at TWO different places within 1 mile of my house right now.)
     
    Arris likes this.
  18. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,786   +1,914

    Well first, the car companies and insurance companies are both already scrapping from your wallet. The only difference is that right now you pay as an individual, meaning your bargaining power is very low. You accept the price the companies give to you. On the other hand autonomous car companies will undoubtedly be able to get better insurance rates and get the cars in bulk at a lower price. When I go to order 1,000 network adapters for my company I get them at $8/unit instead of the retail price of $20. Not to mention that the cost of insurance will drop as autonomous cars create less accidents then humans (it's kind of hard not to).

    Are you talking about people here or autonomous vehicles? The irony of this statement is palpable. I suggest you look at autonomous vehicle accident rate vs human accident rate. These cars are still in their infancy and already get into a fraction of accidents humans do.


    Yep, just like we gave up our freedom to wash our own cloths to the washing machine and just like we gave up our freedom to start our own fire to the stove. There is no loss of freedom here. You can still go anywhere you want. If you want to drive there will always be driving tracks so any complaint about not being able to drive is ridiculous. Are you seriously suggesting that everyone in the world give up their time to drive because you feel like it? That's an incredibly selfish point of view. Not everyone enjoys driving and many people have other things they could be doing in the meantime.

    That which is submitted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. A patently false statement clearly driven by your displayed bias.

    I hope you realize that cameras rarely fail and autonomous cars use LIDAR and other technologies in conjunction with cameras to drive. LIDAR uses lasers and they have an even lower failure rate.

    Need software and hardware updates? Oh you mean like modern non-autonomous cars already do? Or did you conveniently forget that most cars already have computers built in and there's nerry a year where there isn't a recall.

    Thank you for bringing up all the falsehoods spread by autonomous naysayers. Now everyone can look at this thread and see they have been debunked time and time again.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  19. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,786   +1,914

    There are a couple of ways car manufacturers are tackling the issue of snow covering the road. First, high fidelity maps. Second, cheap sensors built into the road. Third, improved sensors that penetrate the snow.

    Any one of these strategies work, the second one being the biggest hassle and most likely won't make anywhere. Option 1 and 3 are already in use by google, ford, and other companies. At some point the sensors should be good enough to drive in whiteout conditions with sensors that can see through the snow, something humans can't do.
     
    MilwaukeeMike likes this.
  20. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Maniac Posts: 290   +183

    "the cost of insurance will drop as autonomous cars create less accidents then humans (it's kind of hard not to)."

    "I suggest you look at autonomous vehicle accident rate vs human accident rate. These cars are still in their infancy and already get into a fraction of accidents humans do."

    I have. Have you not? Really? They are citing 8 million miles. That is laughable. It sounds like a lot. So let's see here... Roughly driving statistics of 24 people's lifetimes of driving? lol... I'm not impressed in even the slightest. Do I really need to cite how many pointless wrecks and deaths there has been already? I'm pretty sure I can walk up to 24 random people and none of them have driven over anyone. I'm sure you have the 5 seconds of time to search google even if you've been living under a rock.

    "Are you seriously suggesting that everyone in the world give up their time to drive because you feel like it?"

    Umm, how in the world are you reading it like that?? The suggestion above was to eliminate me from driving my own vehicle. How incredibly selfish is that? That's an incredibly selfish point of view to think you can take that away from me. You are essentially forcing me to step into one of these things. Liberal mentality here.

    "Yep, just like we gave up our freedom to wash our own cloths to the washing machine and just like we gave up our freedom to start our own fire to the stove. There is no loss of freedom here."

    What? LMFAO

    "That which is submitted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. A patently false statement clearly driven by your displayed bias."

    Really? I guess you do not know everything requires maintenance? You really need to get out in the real world. These will be like TVs, too. They constantly go out of date and the manufacturers won't care to update them. Scrap them. You realize people are too cheap to even buy tires before they go bald? It's not bias either. I am sharing my mechanical and technological experience - I am a mechanic and also a highly skilled IT admin for several decades. I know how unreliable both industries are. The more complicated they are, the easier they break. I'm looking out for not only my safety, but everyone else's. It's frightening how little people care about the public's safety - all so people can play on their phones instead of be a responsible driver.

    "I hope you realize that cameras rarely fail"

    Rarely...? Please site some numbers. That also is a perspective. One fail most certainly will cause a crash and/or death. I guess you have never owned nor maintained a vehicle? The failure rate of even brand new vehicles is debilitating. Most of my family are mechanics in brand new car dealerships. These cars are many times more complicated than standard cars, and good luck training techs to fix them.

    "Need software and hardware updates? Oh you mean like modern non-autonomous cars already do? Or did you conveniently forget that most cars already have computers built in and there's nerry a year where there isn't a recall."

    See the comment above. Heck - manufacturers can't even get bluetooth on freakin stereos to work! Firmware updates come out all the time. Even brand new Land Rovers constantly have firmware updates - even their latest transmission won't even shift right. My own brand new Fusion had a major issue every other month (I sold the darn thing. I feel sorry for the next person). Multiple recalls.

    Holy cow... I just don't see to even respond to this any more. I am in disbelief.
     
  21. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,786   +1,914



    Well first let me just link the facts

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_autonomous_car_fatalities

    There are a TOTAL of 4 semi-autonomous vehicle fatalities, all of which are the result of driver error after being warned by the vehicle to pay attention, hence why they are called semi-autonomous. I'd advise you stop the hyperbole, because it's only making your opinion further from the facts.

    Incorrect. The only thing autonomous cars change is that they allow people to have the option of transportation without a license or even without ownership of a vehicle. Nothing changes for you. All you are doing is projecting your fears onto new technology and trying to bring down others with you. That is evident from you throwing labels around like "liberal", because for you generalizing and dehumanizing is one of the ways you fight those fears.

    Clearly the idea of technological advance was missed. Giving up menial tasks once thought essential isn't a loss at all. You are like the farmer who sows and reaps his fields by hand in the modern area. Oh wait, there aren't any of those left because the job has been made safer and easier thanks to technology.


    So LED bulbs require maintenance? Nope, there are many components that are designed to be maintenance free. For example un-serviceable parts like power supplies. No, I'm not seeing anything in an autonomous vehicle that would require worrisome maintenance. If anything cars of the potentially close future will require less maintenance once most cars are electric. As you said "The more complicated they are, the easier they break" and electric cars have far fewer moving parts and / or parts in general. Of course that's a gross oversimplification, as non moving non mechanical parts require far less maintenance which is exactly what electric autonomous vehicles will be.

    If you really are the mechanic / IT admin you claim to be, let's see you backup your opinion with some data. Otherwise you've simply stated more conjecture and as I said before that which is submitted without evidence can be dismissed likewise.

    https://www.consumerreports.org/digital-cameras/digital-camera-reliability/

    Not exactly autonomous car camera failure rates but there are 0 studies out so I thought I'd be generous and grab non-rugged camera failure rates.

    "Take a look at our reliability findings. For point-and-shoot cameras, the median estimated failure rate by the third year of ownership was only 5 percent. And for interchangeable-lens cameras (SLRs and mirrorless models), that rate was just 4 percent.

    By contrast, the estimated failure rate for laptops by the third year of ownership ranges from 17 to 33 percent."

    That's considering the first 3 years are when it's most likely to break, failure rates drop off after the 3rd year.

    Mechanics don't touch most of the Autonomous features. They use the car's built in computer to run diagnostics and simply replace any broken parts. Electrical components, cameras, and the LIDAR aren't "tuned" by the mechanics. That's a ridiculous assertion and would require them to know not only know the software systems but also have an electrical engineering degree which isn't up the alley of 99% of mechanics. I can't say I'm shedding tears for mechanics who have to adapted to a shifting market, that's just the way life is.

    Stereo system have nothing to do with autonomous cars nor have I ever experienced a catastrophic stereo failure. At most intermittent sound loss. The statement that car manufacturers can't get bluetooth or stereos systems to work is an example of gross hyperbole. In the rare case of bluetooth issues, it's likely a problem with the user's phone not liking the car's bluetooth transmitter / receiver which can happen with any device. Notwithstanding, the rate at which this happens is very low and it's only getting better over time. There's a big difference though with getting a bunch of random devices working with the car and a car's autonomous vehicle systems, which are put together by the auto manufacturer and their potential software partner. In other words, in the case of Bluetooth the auto maker does not have complete control of every device in the chain while it does in the case of it's autonomous vehicles. Like I said earlier though, modern cars already have these features, autonomous or not.

    If you are so worried about safety as you claim to be, shouldn't you be shooting for laws that keep autonomous cars on private / low traffic roads until they meet a certain quality threshold and then slowly introduce them into regular roads? After all, autonomous cars have the goal of making roads more safe and making transportation more accessible. I'm all fine with making sure they are up to snuff before putting then into mass use. You can still drive without issue and other people can reap the benefits the autonomous vehicles if they wish.

    Regardless, thank you for the opportunity to change people's minds on the autonomous vehicle debate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  22. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 641   +371

    This is a fantastic reply.

    One other thing that is important to note is that in most of the crashes involving AI, it has been the humans at fault.

    You also have to look at how crashes are counted and recorded. For insurance purposes, they want you to report even a tiny nudge. Insurance does not care if the accident was against street furniture, against yourself, another person, or something else; they will use any excuse to jack up your premium. Hence, quite a few people don't even bother reporting minor things or settle it between themselves.
     

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