Waymo has finally let the public take rides in its around the Phoenix area. Now, we get our first look at how humans respond to an empty driver's seat.
Waymo released a video showing early reactions to its driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans. For now, it's just a quick video, but the reactions seem pretty similar across the board -- it's a mix of amazement and fascination. It's not like folks didn't know what they were getting into, after all. Heck, one guy even feels confident enough to take a nap.
That's likely the response Waymo is going for. Its fleet of vans has driven billions of simulated and real-world miles in order to gain the know-how to ditch the safety driver entirely. This public pilot is currently limited to certain parts of Phoenix, but Waymo wants to expand that geofence as testing and legislation permits.
Since there isn't another human in the vehicle, riders engage with a touchscreen system built specifically for Waymo's fleet. It can start the ride, and while it's in motion, riders will get a simplified version of what the car's many sensors "see" as the Pacifica completes its route.