FOX 10 takes a ride in Waymo self-driving car

- When Waymo invites you for a spin in a self-driving car, it's exciting and terrifying.

"People get in the car, think it's going to be some kind of science fiction thing and then they get out and think that was kind of boring," said Waymo lead systems engineer, Jaime Waydo.

Waymo was formerly known as Google's self-driving car project.

"We have 2.5 million miles of driving experience which is the equivalent of having been driving for 300 years," said Waydo.

Elizabeth Chu, a Waymo operations specialist was our mandatory driver. Test driver John Pittman monitored the ride in the seat beside her.

My eyes were fixated on the giant red button that lets the driver take control. But frazzled nerves quickly disappeared as John meticulously watched the screen.

"All of these are just vehicles that are in this case, parked off to the side of the road.. it can see there's a person standing there and it also identifies all the trash cans that are standing there in the bike lane,"  he said.

The car knows the speed limit, identifying every stop sign and obstruction in its path.

"I'm not providing any steering, braking or acceleration right now. I keep my hands here in case I do want to control," said Elizabeth.

It's easy to forget a computer is driving the car. It moves conservatively, but is still a head turner.

"Everyone stares. I get this a lot like, 'Show us your hands!' I get people just pulling out their phones, driving behind us, trying to record us," said Elizabeth.

Online: waymo.com


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