Google releases safety report on driverless cars

Google releases safety report on driverless cars
© Getty

Google’s self-driving car company has submitted its first-ever safety report to federal regulators about its technology, the company said Thursday.

Waymo said the evaluation, which was also made publicly available, shares “important lessons learned” during the history of the company’s self-driving program. The report also highlights the various processes, techniques and technologies that are used to ensure passengers are safe while using Waymo’s autonomous vehicles.

The report was sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation, which recently updated federal guidance for driverless carmakers.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We hope our Safety Report serves as a resource for anyone who wants to understand Waymo’s technology and commitment to safety, and that it contributes to the larger public conversation about driving safety,” Waymo said.

The report’s release comes on the heels of a newly launched Waymo campaign designed to educate the public and raise more awareness about driverless cars.

The effort aims to increase understanding about autonomous vehicles and highlight how driverless cars can improve safety, enhance mobility, reduce traffic and deliver other benefits.

Google has been a leader in testing its driverless cars on public roads, while Uber has 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," said Waymo CEO John Krafcik in a blog post earlier this week.

“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."

Lawmakers in Congress have also urged automakers to better communicate to consumers the abilities and limits of the emerging technology.