Waymo Driver is now fully autonomous in San Francisco, riders demand EVs only

Today, Waymo celebrates its 6 month anniversary of launching in San Francisco, adding to the offering in Phoenix AZ. The robotaxi service has until now required a safety driver behind the wheel, but having reached a satisfaction level that they believe is safe and meets the mark in terms of safety.

The service has been operating under a ‘Trusted Tester’ or limited beta program but after recently receiving a permit to begin charging for rides using the Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

Interestingly the feedback from 6 months of testing has led Waymo to the following conclusions and improvements:

  • We’ve made careful improvements to our braking patterns to handle San Francisco’s many four-way stops even more smoothly.
  • We’ve tweaked how we drive on San Francisco’s many steep hills to provide an even more comfortable, natural riding experience.
  • We’re prioritizing parking lots for pick-up and drop-off points, which not only provides our riders with trusted locations to hail a ride, but also preserves valuable curb space for other road users—particularly important in a city as dense as San Francisco.
  • Our choice of an electric-only fleet for our ride-hailing operations in San Francisco reflects not only our own commitment to sustainability—but also feedback we’ve received from our community.

That last point about using EVs is a really interesting one. Waymo is using the Jaguar iPace in San Francisco, however, they have relied heavily on retrofitting their technology on a Fiat Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan.

If Waymo now takes the feedback from the community in San Francisco that they want to be driven in electric vehicles, does this extend to their fleet in Phoenix and therefore mean they need to replace these vehicles that are yet to pay for themselves and the autonomous hardware bolted to them.

In the latest video from Waymo, they detail that since August 2021, around 6 months, they’ve provided over 10,000 rides under the Waymo One Trusted Tester program. That sounds a lot on the surface, but this averages out to just 0.01825 rides per day.

The whole idea of robotaxis is that the economics of each ride is far less than it costs to pay a human to drive you (aka the Uber and Lyft model). Waymo clearly has a long way to go to scale paid rides in their autonomous vehicles to become profitable and scaling to more locations is taking a long time.

Those wondering about the safety experiences of Waymo and their autonomous capabilities compared to competitors should visit the Californian DMV that required providers to details all AV incidents within 10 days of an incident.

Unfortunately for Waymo, there’s been quite a few recent incidents in the lead-up to this 6 month anniversary. Waymo is also not alone, with others like Cruise, Zoox and surprise.. even Apple (who is yet to officially announce an Autonomous Vehicle, has experienced incidents.

I’ve listed the incidents that Waymo has experienced 22 since January 1st, 2022. While some of these were in ‘Autonomous Mode’ and that’s bad, the ones that occurred in ‘Conventional Mode’ aka human driving, are still important as they take vehicles off the road, increase repair costs and decrease revenue opportunity.

Thankfully it looks like the majority of these incidents occurred at low speed and resulted in minor damage. The detail is provided below.

1. Waymo February 28, 2022 (1) (Autonomous Mode)

On February 28, 2022 at 12:49 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Cesar Chavez at Mission Street.

The Waymo AV was stopped at a red light facing west on Cesar Chavez at the Mission Street intersection in the left turn lane in autonomous mode. While the traffic light was still red, the vehicle immediately behind the Waymo AV began to accelerate toward the right side of the Waymo AV and made contact with the right rear bumper of the Waymo AV. The other vehicle left the scene without exchanging information. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

2. Waymo February 28, 2022 (2) (Conventional Mode)

On February 28, 2022 at 1:00 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Polk Street at Jackson Street.

While traveling southbound on Polk Street at Jackson Street in autonomous mode, the Waymo AV approached a green light and signaled for a right turn when a pedestrian entered the adjacent crosswalk in accordance with the pedestrian “WALK” signal. As the Waymo AV began to slow, the driver transitioned the system into manual mode. A few seconds later, a passenger vehicle approached from behind and made contact with the rear bumper of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

3. Waymo February 19, 2022 (Autonomous Mode)

On February 19, 2022 at 7:45 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle at the northbound merge lane on the 100 block of Bayshore Boulevard.

While attempting a merge onto northbound Bayshore Boulevard from southbound Bayshore Boulevard, the Waymo AV came to a stop to yield for approaching traffic on the right. While stopped, a vehicle approached from behind and made contact with the rear bumper of the Waymo AV. The other vehicle left the scene without exchanging information. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

4. Waymo February 14, 2022 (Autonomous Mode)

On February 14, 2022 at 3:02 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Kansas Street at 16th Street.

The Waymo AV was stopped at a red light facing north on Kansas Street at the 16th Street intersection in autonomous mode. While the traffic light was still red, the vehicle immediately behind the Waymo AV began to accelerate and made contact with the rear bumper of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

5. Waymo February 11, 2022 (1) (Conventional Mode)

On February 11, 2022 at 2:07 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Silver Avenue at Mission Street.

After making a right turn onto southbound Silver Avenue from Mission Street in manual mode, the test driver of the Waymo AV pulled over to the right shoulder of Silver Avenue while waiting for emergency vehicles to pass. A moment later, a passenger vehicle turned right onto Silver Avenue from Mission Street into the oncoming traffic lane and swerved into the driver door of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. Both vehicles sustained major damage. The driver of the other vehicle was transported from the scene by first responders with injuries.

6. Waymo February 11, 2022 (2) (Autonomous Mode)

On February 11, 2022 at 5:36 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Market Street and Valencia Street.

The Waymo AV was approaching stopped traffic in the left turn lane on Market Street at Valencia Street when a passenger vehicle approached from behind and made contact with the rear bumper of the Waymo AV. The other vehicle left the scene without exchanging information. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

7. Waymo February 10, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On February 10, 2022 at 8:00 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a pole in a parking structure on Broadway at Montgomery Street.

While reversing out of a parked position in manual mode, the test driver of the Waymo AV struck a pole. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV sustained minor damage to the rear bumper.

8. Waymo February 9, 2022 (1) (Autonomous Mode)

On February 9, 2022 at 3:05 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a pick-up truck on Coral Road at Wisconsin Street.

The Waymo AV was traveling westbound on Coral Road in autonomous mode and came to a stop while yielding to an oncoming pick-up truck in a narrow roadway. The oncoming truck continued proceeding straight and made contact with the rear left sensor of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). Both vehicles sustained minor damage.

9. Waymo February 9, 2022 (2) (Conventional Mode)

On February 9, 2022 at 5:46 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, CA was in a collision involving a bicyclist on Parker Avenue at McAllister Street.

The Waymo AV was in autonomous mode and traveling southbound on Parker Avenue when it came to a stop at McAllister Street. As the Waymo AV proceeded, a bicyclist traveling northbound on Parker Avenue proceeded through the stop sign without stopping in order to make a left turn onto westbound McAllister Street. The Waymo AV began to brake and the test driver (in the driver’s seating position), disengaged the AV system and continued braking. As the bicyclist attempted to complete their left turn, the bicyclist made contact with the driver side rear corner of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo sustained damage.

10. Waymo February 8 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On February 8, 2022 at 8:56 AM PST, a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Harrison Street at 9th Street.

The Waymo AV was traveling southbound on Harrison Street in manual mode, and began slowing for a red light as it approached the intersection of 9th Street. The Waymo AV was in the second lane from the left on a one-way street. A passenger in a taxi cab that was stopped in the lane to the left of the Waymo AV opened the rear passenger door as the Waymo AV was coming to a stop. The edge of the taxi cab’s door made contact with the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The other vehicle sustained minor damage.

11. Waymo February 6, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On February 6, 2022 at 1:53 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Pine Street at Fillmore Street.

The Waymo AV was stopped in the right lane of a three lane, one-way street in manual mode while boarding a passenger. A passenger vehicle stopped behind the Waymo AV then attempted to go around the Waymo AV, attempting to merge with traffic in the center lane but colliding instead with a third passenger vehicle and also making contact with the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV and the passenger vehicle that made contact with it sustained moderate damage. The third vehicle sustained minor damage. The Waymo AV passenger reported minor discomfort at the scene but advised they did not require medical attention.

12. Waymo February 4, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On February 4, 2022 at 11:00 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on 2nd Avenue at Fulton Street.

While the Waymo AV was parked on the right side of the road on 2nd Avenue, a passenger vehicle reversed out of an adjacent driveway and made contact with the front right bumper of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. Both vehicles sustained minor damage.

13. Waymo February 1, 2022 (Autonomous Mode)

On February 2, 2022 at 8:44 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a SUV on Clipper Street and Noe Street.

The Waymo AV was stopped at a stop sign facing west on Clipper Street in autonomous mode while yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk. After the pedestrians had crossed, the Waymo started to edge forward when an SUV to the Waymo AV’s rear passed the Waymo AV by driving in the oncoming traffic lane and made contact with the left rear sensor housing of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

14. Waymo January 28, 2022 (1) (Autonomous Mode)

On January 28, 2022 at 8:40 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, CA was in a collision involving a SUV on Noriega Street at 25th Avenue.

While proceeding straight on eastbound Noriega Street in autonomous mode, the Waymo AV slowed down and came to a halt at the stop sign at the intersection with 25th Avenue. As the Waymo began to proceed, a SUV approached the Waymo AV from behind and made contact with the rear of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). Both vehicles sustained moderate damage.

15. Waymo January 28, 2022 (2) (Autonomous Mode)

On January 28, 2022 at 6:30 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Franklin Street at Golden Gate Avenue.

The Waymo AV was stopped at a red light on northbound Franklin Street at Golden Gate Avenue. After the traffic light turned green and the Waymo AV had begun to accelerate, the passenger vehicle behind the Waymo AV struck the rear of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). The Waymo AV sustained minor damage, and the trailing passenger vehicle sustained minor damage.

16. Waymo January 22, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On January 22, 2022 at 2:11 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, CA was in a collision involving a motorcycle on Folsom Street at 23rd Street.

The Waymo AV was in autonomous mode on southbound Folsom Street in the intersection with 23rd Street, when the Waymo AV began to slow for a motorcyclist traveling on northbound Folsom Street signaling to make an unprotected left turn onto 23rd Street. The test driver (in the driver’s seating position) transitioned to manual mode and continued to slow the Waymo AV. The motorcyclist attempted to turn behind the Waymo AV and made contact with the left rear corner of the Waymo AV. The motorcyclist remained upright and rode away without stopping to provide any information. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV sustained damage to the driver’s side of the rear bumper.

17. Waymo January 20, 2022 (1) (Autonomous Mode)

On January 20, 2022 at 2:24 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Polk Street at Sacramento Street.

The Waymo AV was stopped at a red light facing north on Polk Street in autonomous mode at the Sacramento Street intersection. The light turned green and the Waymo AV proceeded partially into the intersection, yielding to pedestrians in the left crosswalk while preparing to make a left turn. A passenger vehicle parked behind the Waymo AV on the right shoulder of Sacramento street pulled out of the shoulder and made contact with the right side of the rear of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present. The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

18. Waymo January 20, 2022 (2) (PDF) (Conventional Mode)

On January 20, 2022 at 8:36 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on Sunset Boulevard and Judah Street.

While proceeding straight on northbound Sunset Boulevard in manual mode, the operator of the Waymo AV slowed the vehicle while approaching stopped traffic at the Judah Street intersection. A passenger vehicle approached from behind and made contact with the rear of the Waymo AV, then immediately left the scene of the collision. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV sustained minor damage.

19. Waymo January 18, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On January 18, 2022 at 5:20 PM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, CA was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle on 14th Street at S. Van Ness Avenue.

The Waymo AV was in autonomous mode on eastbound 14th Street as it approached S. Van Ness Avenue. The test driver (in the driver’s seating position) transitioned to manual mode before reaching the intersection. The Waymo AV then proceeded through a green light into the intersection in manual mode. A passenger vehicle traveling northbound on S. Van Ness Avenue then entered the intersection against its red light, making contact with the front of the Waymo AV. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV sustained damage to its front fascia and the passenger vehicle sustained damage to its driver side doors.

20. Waymo January 6, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On January 6, 2022 at 9:25 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle at Divisadero Street and Geary Boulevard.

While the Waymo AV was proceeding straight in manual mode in the right lane on northbound Divisadero Street, a passenger vehicle in the left lane attempted an abrupt lane change at the entrance to the intersection at Geary Boulevard as the Waymo AV was approaching the intersection. The front left fender of the Waymo AV made contact with the right front panel of the passenger vehicle. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. Both vehicles sustained moderate damage.

21. Waymo January 3, 2022 (Autonomous Mode)

On January 3, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a heavy truck at the northbound merge lane on the 100 block of Bayshore Boulevard.

At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position). While attempting a merge onto northbound Bayshore Boulevard from southbound Bayshore Boulevard, the Waymo AV came to a stop to yield for approaching traffic on the right. The Waymo AV was rear ended by the truck, causing minor damage to the right rear bumper of the Waymo AV. The truck sustained damage to the left front bumper.

22. Waymo January 1, 2022 (Conventional Mode)

On January 1, 2021 at 2:04 AM PST a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle (“Waymo AV”) operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a passenger vehicle at Marin Street and Kansas Street.

While proceeding straight in autonomous mode on westbound Marin Street, a passenger vehicle turned right onto Marin Street from Kansas Street, crossing the center lane line and traveling in the oncoming traffic lane. The driver of the Waymo AV transitioned the system into manual mode and slowed, and moved to the right most edge of the lane. The oncoming passenger vehicle struck the left side of the Waymo AV and immediately proceeded to leave the scene of the collision. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was not engaged and a test driver was operating the Waymo AV in manual mode. The Waymo AV sustained moderate damage to the left front panel and both doors on the left side of the vehicle.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwrighthttp://techau.com.au/author/jason/
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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