Everyone has mostly heard something about Self Driving cars. Whether it’s a Tesla on the news, Uber killing a pedestrian or just that cute car Google made a while ago most are at least aware of them.
However so far they’re still a “developing technology”. They’re on the roads sure… but not for you or I. I can’t go out and ride in one. When my taxi pulls up after a night out there’s still a human driver in there so no one really takes the whole thing very seriously I think as it’s not “there” just yet.
2018 is the year that this changes though.
During the Google I/O Keynote John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo came on stage and announced this:
Phoenix will be the first stop for Waymo’s driverless transportation service, which is launching later this year. Soon, everyone will be able to call Waymo using our app and a fully self driving car will pull up, with no one in the driver’s seat, to whisk them away to their destination.
Coming To Phoenix 2018
That’s right. The fully available, consumer facing and usable product of self driving taxi services is coming to Phoenix by the end of this year. From there it’s just scaling up and with Waymo’s plan to deploy upwards of 20,000 Jaguar I-PACE’s over the next 2 years… well that seems like a given.
Also don’t be fooled into thinking that this rollout will be slow either. The I-PACE is a luxury car but Waymo is focussed on building the driver. They have plans to roll their technology out to many partners in many cities with services for delivery of food, personal cars and even moving furniture or other goods in vans and trucks. They plan on having their driver technology in many, many cars just like Android is on many, many phones.
The 20,000 number is just for the I-PACE. I’ve no doubt they’ll be launching even more driverless vehicles of different types over that time too. Driverless cars can also drive 24/7/365 meaning those 20,000 cars alone could potentially drive up to 1 million trips per day.
For more details about it you can watch the presentation in the video below which starts at the right time index.
While it’s unclear right now where Waymo will roll out their self driving services to after Pheonix I think this will be a pivotal point in the technology. They are set to be the first company in history to do this and have it be a fully public, consumer delivered product.
I see the day they start this service as being more important than when the iPhone was launched. Self Driving cars are going to disrupt, change and improve an unimaginable number of peoples lives.
I cover this technology and its consequences in my upcoming course How To Stay Employed In The Robotic Future at length as it not only represents a huge disruption but also an amazing opportunity too.
I also predict that a few short years after it is fully rolled out, it won’t be seen as anything “special” either. Just like smartphones – an immensely complex and astonishing combination of inventions and advanced technology – are seen as “just a thing we have now”, so too will self driving cars.
And I can’t wait for that day.
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