Testing Waymo’s Safe Exit Feature in a Self-Driving Taxi – Video

Testing Waymo’s Safe Exit Feature in a Self-Driving Taxi – Video

Autonomous Vehicles

Speaker 1: How’s your day going? Oh, that’s right. There’s no one there. I’m about to get into this fully autonomous Waymo car and test out a new feature called Safe Exit, which just to make sure that my surroundings are clear before I get out of the car. Let’s check it out. Waymo, which is owned by Google Parent Alphabet, has been testing its fully autonomous ride hailing service in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Seeing these cars driving around and riding in them feels [00:00:30] incredibly futuristic and weird. I’ve never been in an autonomous car before and, um, I’m terrified and excited at the same time. Let’s see how this goes.

Speaker 2: Heading to Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture.

Speaker 1: Okay. The coolest thing is watching the steering wheel just turn on its own. It feels the same, feels like you’re riding in a normal car with the person in the seat, and then you look over and there’s nobody there. What’s so cool is we’re at this intersection right now and there was a car that it was their turn to go, but they didn’t go. They kind of stalled [00:01:00] and the car stopped. It really does feel like there’s somebody in the seat, in the driver’s seat just looking around to make sure that everyone’s doing what they need to be doing. So we can see on the screen, it’ll show where we’re navigating and our arrival time. 10 minutes. If you need support, you can call for support. You can ask the car to pull over. You can also push a button for that. Play music, just kick back and relax and, uh, take in the weirdness of it all. Rider safety is a huge priority for Waymo, and part of that involves making sure your surroundings are clear when you’re getting out of the [00:01:30] car. This new Safe Exit feature, what it does is when the car stops and I’m at my destination and I’m about to get out, it uses the same sensors that it uses to navigate the street to make sure that there’s nobody around me

Speaker 3: Cyclist

Speaker 1: Approaching. So really the focus here is to make sure that you feel safe inside the car and then people outside the car feel safe, that you’re not just gonna like hit them. There’s no driver to tell me, Hey, watch out. There’s a biker behind you. Safe Exit uses a combination of lidar, radar and cameras to constantly monitor the car surroundings [00:02:00] and detect what’s coming.

Speaker 4: Our software stack also ensures that we are able to understand what is oncoming and accordingly we can inform or alert our riders very far in advance. If you compare this with, uh, conventional safe exit features,

Speaker 1: So there’s two parts to the Safe Exit feature. One of them is on the screen. I’m going to see that there’s a biker approaching or a scooter approaching, or a pedestrian. It’ll also ding so I can hear it. And then on [00:02:30] the outside, there’s also, at the top of the car, there’s this, this screen that kind of shows that somebody is getting out of the car to give people a heads up as they approach the car to make sure that they’re safe too. The pedestrians are the circles and then the bikers are kind of like the oval shaped figures, and then the cars and the trucks are like the, the rectangles, so we can see everything that’s around us. It shows every stop sign as we stop on the screen as well, just so you can kind of see what’s going on. A feature like Safe Exit is [00:03:00] almost critical in a city like San Francisco where you have a lot of bikers, you have a lot of pedestrians, a lot of people on scooters.

Speaker 1: San Francisco is kind of just, it’s a very busy hub. It’s a, it’s a lot of diverse ways to get around and so I think it makes total sense that this is something that they would be rolling out here first. Sometimes you don’t always wanna talk to somebody. This is good for the loaners, so these cars have designated pick up and drop off spots so you’re not just like somewhere that isn’t safe. So it’s gonna find us the best spot to be dropped off. It’s found this [00:03:30] nice little curb. That’s the end of my first autonomous ride. That was so cool. Oh, approaching. Oh, there is vehicle approaching,

Speaker 5: Cyclist approaching.

Speaker 1: There it is. And there he is. There’s Mitch. All right, two for two. I love it. All right, now we can carefully. Oh, approaching vehicle approaching. Now, there is similar technology that exists in non-autonomous cars. Kia, for example, has a safe exit assist feature that’ll also notify drivers if there’s a car or cyclist approaching. [00:04:00] But Waymo’s Tech is a little bit more advanced.

Speaker 4: The current or conventional safe exit features are very limited in their range, and this sensor system sees much, much further than conventional. I think it could definitely be a huge, huge safety benefit if, uh, more cars are equipped with this.

Speaker 1: The data Waymo collects in San Francisco could help it effectively roll out in other cities in the future.

Speaker 4: San Francisco has a very diverse road user population. I would say if [00:04:30] we are able to do it here in the right way, we could probably roll it out to most other cities which are less dense and which have a similar en environment.

Speaker 1: Of course, this all begs the question, why would I want to ride in a fully autonomous car anyway?

Speaker 4: The consistency of the driving, it’s the safety and it’s to having an own space is an experiential difference to having a driver. [00:05:00] A lot of our users say that they can actually let the guard down when they are sitting in our car.

Speaker 1: And features like Save Exit are designed to ease some of the uncertainty around this new experience. And I have to say, it does seem like a helpful piece of tech for both Rider and others on the road. All right, looks like that feature worked pretty well and kept me alive and looks like it’ll keep other people safe too. There’s that little indicator for people who are passing by. Thanks so much for riding along with us, and thanks for watching.

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