Google launches educational campaign on driverless cars

Google launches educational campaign on driverless cars
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Google’s self-driving car company has launched a new educational campaign on driverless vehicles, part of an effort to win over consumers who may be skeptical about the emerging technology.

Waymo announced Monday that it was teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council and several Arizona-based organizations to work on “the world’s first public education campaign on self-driving cars.”

The “Let’s Talk Self Driving” campaign will aim to increase understanding about autonomous vehicles and highlight how driverless cars can improve safety, enhance mobility, reduce traffic and deliver other benefits.

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Google has been a leader in testing its driverless cars on public roads, while Uber has already been using autonomous vehicle technology to pick up passengers in some cities.

But the industry recognizes that the lingering confusion and apprehension over self-driving vehicles will likely be the biggest hurdle to their widespread adoption.

“People who see our self-driving cars on the road often have a lot of questions. This is especially true now in the Greater Phoenix region of Arizona, where the sight of self-driving cars being tested on public roads is commonplace,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.

“There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to self-driving cars. As with any new technology, there's great enthusiasm and curiosity about self-driving cars — and there's some confusion, too,” he said.

While the technology has the potential to drastically reduce the number of traffic fatalities every year, there has also been growing concern that some consumers don’t understand the limits of the technology.

A fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle was blamed on the fact that the driver was incorrectly using the Autopilot feature, which still requires a driver behind the wheel.

Congress and the administration have been calling on the industry to step up educational and public outreach efforts when it comes to autonomous vehicle technology.

And senators recently added language to a driverless car bill that directs automakers to better communicate to consumers the capabilities of self-driving vehicles.