How does Waymo design for the driverless experience?

The robotaxi pioneer relies on its app and passenger interface to serve as a proxy for a human driver. By Megan Lampinen

Self-driving taxis promise to bring safety, environmental and societal benefits once they are deployed in large numbers. Several players are trialling pilots at different stages of maturity, and the race is on to secure a leadership position in what could be a lucrative segment. ResearchAndMarkets estimates it will grow from 617 units in 2021 to 1,445,822 units by the end of the decade at a CAGR of 136.8%, but there’s a big uncertainty in that forecast: consumer acceptance.

No matter how good the self-driving technology, robtaxis will never take off if travellers are reluctant to ride in them. Removing the driver from the equation suddenly leaves riders with new uncertainties and nobody on hand to reassure them. A good proxy for communication could be the key to cracking consumer concerns.

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