Are we one step closer to getting the flying cars we were promised while growing up? Not likely, but we are in a world where a human driver is becoming a thing of the past. Introducing Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving vehicle division, that has been in the testing phase since 2016. It took a little hiatus due to the pandemic, but now it’s back and better than ever.
Before the pandemic, Waymo vehicles were out in Phoenix, Arizona, but 90% of the rides still had a human behind the wheel. So more often than not, these drivers would take over, turning it into your everyday taxi ride. Well, thanks to the pandemic these drivers are no more. This time around, the service will be fully driverless. However, you’ll only be able to ride one if you happen to be in Phoenix, Arizona and are a previous Waymo One user.
As exciting as this may sound, I will admit, the idea of having no one behind the wheel freaks me out. If you’re like me and still prefer a human driver, Waymo hears you loud and clear. Although the goal has always been to have a self-driving car, Waymo understands that consumers need to accept it first. With that being said, Waymo does plan to bring back drivers later this year. The reason why they have not brought them back is due to the lack of safety measures. The Waymo team will be adding in-vehicle barriers between the driver and passenger for better safety measures.
Will human drivers actually be a thing of the past sooner than we think? It’s hard to say. One thing’s for certain, our futures may start to look like what we see on television. Are we ready to take that risk of giving technology all the control, especially when it comes to a moving vehicle? Only time will tell. Another issue tech companies will have to face are costs and profits. It takes a lot to make these vehicles, but yet it is still massively unprofitable. Once Waymo and others, such as Tesla and GM, figure out all the mechanics we’ll be welcoming in a new reality.
Itzell Ramirez-Lopez is a marketing intern for Worthix. She is currently a fourth-year at the University of Georgia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, with an emphasis in Digital Marketing. She is also pursuing a certification in Legal Studies. She will be graduating in May 2021.