Nearly two months after saying it might halt operations across the nation in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Waymo immediately said it is going to start restricted driving checks within the Metro Phoenix space beginning on May 11. The Alphabet-backed autonomous car startup described this as the primary a part of a “tiered approach” to progressively relaunch operations with its fleet, with industrial service to observe solely after the well being and security of riders will be ensured.
That’s all to say that Waymo’s eponymous Waymo One ride-hailing service, which was placed on pause in late March, received’t resume pickups and dropoffs simply but. A spokesperson advised VentureBeat that Waymo plans to begin accepting riders once more within the “coming weeks.” To be clear, the section of redeployment detailed immediately solely includes security and take a look at drivers, in addition to different staff and contractors figuring out of Waymo’s services.
Waymo says that it’s following steering from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, and native authorities as its operations resume, redesigning its services to respect social distancing tips and spacing out work areas by the beneficial six ft. The firm has additionally redefined using frequent areas and restricted the utmost capability for varied areas, and it has created trainings for workers round new security requirements and easy methods to work and transfer round its services.
In line with Arizona steering, Waymo staff will put on face masks in services or automobiles excepting situations the place an individual is driving alone. The firm additionally says it has deep cleaned its buildings and that it’s going to proceed to conduct a number of day by day cleanings of its automobiles in partnership with AutoNation. Lastly, Waymo says it’s working with an occupational healthcare supplier to display all individuals earlier than they enter its services.
In the close to future, Waymo expects to start driving once more in different cities, together with San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles. “We’re taking a thoughtful and measured approach towards bringing our driving operations back on the road,” wrote the corporate in a weblog publish. “Resumption of our driving operations in these locations will similarly be guided by ensuring the safety and health of our team in line with … [federal and state] guidance.”
In addition to Waymo, Uber, GM-backed Cruise, Aurora, Argo AI, and Pony.ai had been are among the many corporations that suspended their driverless car applications within the hopes of limiting contact between drivers and riders. In the interim, some, like Pony.ai and Cruise, pivoted to autonomous supply. Others leaned closely on simulation to proceed improvement at the same time as their fleets had been grounded.