Self-driving might be fractionally easier to pull off in the last-mile sector

With no passengers to worry about, autonomous delivery vehicle developers can focus entirely on protecting those outside of the vehicle. By Xavier Boucherat

A May 2021 video from YouTube blogger Joel Johnson underlined the challenges that remain in self-driving vehicle development. The 35-minute upload shows a Waymo service operating in Chandler, Phoenix, where the developer is allowed to trial its autonomous vehicles (AVs) without a safety driver among a select group of customers. In the video, the vehicle repeatedly gets stuck along a busy intersection, due in part to the construction work cones deployed in the right lane. To stop the vehicle holding up traffic, a roadside assistance team is deployed, but on two occasions, the vehicle effectively ‘runs away’ from the team, driving off before they can board.

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