What happens inside those self-driving Waymo taxi vehicles driving around select cities? Not too many people know, but this rare video gives us a glance at what can happen when things go wrong. This Waymo taxi gets confused by some orange cones, blocks traffic, then runs from the response specialist crew.
In select cities, the Waymo One program is up and running, where regular folks can hail a Waymo instead of grabbing a taxi or ordering an Uber. This week YouTuber JJRicks Studios shared a video of a unique ride he took with a Waymo driverless robotaxi.
The first half of the trip appears smooth, but later the Waymo saw some orange traffic cones and it all went downhill. The Waymo should have made a right turn onto the main road, in the inside lane as it should, but never did. Instead, cones confused it, and rather than adjusting or taking the outside lane when it was safe, it just … stopped. Here’s the video for those interested in watching.
As you can see, the software on these autonomous vehicles occasionally runs into a difficult spot. A Waymo remote team spotted the problem and sent a roadside assistant team out to help. Apparently, these roadside assistant teams are usually only a few miles away.
The passenger, in this case, JJRicks, got a call from Waymo’s remote team for instructions. As you watch the video unfold, you’ll see the self-driving car eventually makes the turn, gets stuck again, then panics. From here, it eventually reverses away from the cones but then stops again, delaying even more traffic.
As luck would have it, a nearby construction crew removes the cones, and the Waymo starts driving again, right as the roadside assistance crew shows up. Unfortunately, it gets stuck again further down the road by more cones. Oddly enough, each time the support staff showed up, the car started driving again, essentially going on the run.
Near the end of the video, we finally saw the Waymo taxi surrender, and the staff jumped in to figure things out. Just remember, don’t judge, as this technology is a work in progress.
via The Verge