Waymo’s self-driving fleet is coming to New York City streets
The company is looking to test out its vehicles in harsh weather and traffic conditions.
Waymo is looking to make its way into the big cities. The Google sibling company has brought a fleet of its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica vans to New York City in an effort to map the city and test its fleet in harsh weather conditions.
Waymo begins its venture into the Big Apple this week says the company in a recent blog post, and it is bringing in its fleet today, which Waymo says will immediately begin driving around the city.
Interestingly, the fleet of vehicles will actually be driven manually, and there aren’t any set plans to bring Waymo’s driverless rides for passengers in the city any time soon. In fact, the company told The Robot Report that it didn’t have “any immediate plans to launch [a robotaxi service] in New York City.”
READ MORE: Elon Musk says a Tesla robotaxi is coming in 2024
Instead, the company is sending its fleet to NYC to help its vehicles learn about driving in potentially more hazardous situations.
New York City is extremely densely populated and traffic inside the city can be pretty hectic. Waymo hopes its Chrysler Pacificas will learn about driving in heavy traffic so they can share that information with the rest of the company’s fleet.
READ MORE: Self-driving trucks could replace 90% of human drivers, study finds
Another major aspect of this new venture from Waymo is the weather. Weather continues to be one of the biggest obstacles in the development of fully autonomous vehicles, as snow and ice tend to obscure the vision of cameras and radar that autonomous vehicles use to study their surroundings. Testing in NYC is a great way for the company to see how its vehicles handle snow and ice, as there is plenty of that in the city.
Waymo says that it won’t ever have more than five vehicles on the streets of NYC at one time, in an effort to not contribute to the city’s congested streets. Testing will take place in Manhatten, mostly south of Central Park.
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