FAQ

For questions about our early rider program, please visit this page.

What is Waymo?

Waymo stands for a new way forward in mobility. We are a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.

We’re determined to improve transportation for people around the world, building on software and sensor technology developed in Google’s labs since 2009. In October 2015, we achieved the world’s first fully self-driving trip on public roads, in a car without a steering wheel or pedals. We refine Waymo technology through 1 billion miles of simulation testing each year, and our cars have self-driven more than 3 million miles on public roads across four U.S. cities. We most recently launched the first public trial of our self-driving vehicles, where we’re turning our focus to users. Learn more about the early rider program.

Why is Waymo working on fully self-driving cars?

Our goal is to transform mobility by making it easy and safe for people and things to move around. We’re committed to developing fully self-driving vehicles because we believe that this is safer and better for everyone.

Annually, over 1.2 million people die on our roadways. In the US alone, traffic collisions kill over 35,000 people a year—the equivalent of a 737 airplane falling out of the sky every single working day of the year—and that number is rising. In the U.S., 94% of crashes involve human error or choice, and this is one place where we believe we really can bring technology to bear. Fully self-driving cars could also help people who can't drive—whether they're elderly, blind, or disabled—to get around and do the things they love.

We've also begun conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck. Truck driving remains one of the deadliest occupations—4,000 people are killed and 110,000 people are injured in truck related accidents every year in the U.S.

What’s the difference between fully self-driving or autonomous cars, semi-autonomous cars, and driver assistance technology?

With fully self-driving technology, the car is designed to do all the work of driving and the person in the vehicle is never expected to take control of the vehicle at any time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls this a fully automated vehicle. This is the type of technology we are working on.

Driver assistance could include technology like adaptive cruise control or automated parking. With some driver assistance systems, there may be moments when the car is capable of self-driving, but it could also back out of this mode in certain situations and the driver is expected to take over as needed. This type of technology falls between function-specific automation and limited self-driving automation by NHTSA’s classification.

What type of vehicles do you have on the road?

We drive every day on public roads so we can refine our technology and make it safe and easy for everyone to get around. Our fleet of self-driving vehicles includes modified Lexus SUVs, custom-built reference vehicles (nicknamed "Firefly"), as well as fully self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans are our first vehicles built on a mass-production platform with a fully-integrated hardware suite, newly designed by Waymo for the purpose of full autonomy. We've also begun conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck.

Our vehicles drive everyday on public roads with test drivers on board. We’ve self-driven over 3 million miles, largely on complex city streets. That's on top of 1 billion simulated miles we drove in 2016 alone.

How does the technology work?

Our fully self-driving technology will handle all the driving so you can go from door to door without taking the wheel. This will deliver the biggest impact on improving road safety and mobility for everyone.

Our vehicles use their sensors and software to detect other roadway users, such as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as objects like vehicles and road work, from up to two football fields away in all directions. Every day, our cars drive safely through many complex scenarios on real city streets. We can adjust to unexpected changes like closed lanes or respond to complex cues at a railroad crossing. We’ve also taught our vehicles to drive defensively, so they try to stay out of blind spots and nudge away from large vehicles. Learn more.

What’s next for the project?

We’ve been refining our self-driving technology since 2009: racking up millions of miles of experience, teaching our cars advanced driving skills, and improving the performance of our software. In October 2015, we completed the world’s first fully self-driving ride on public roads. This ride took place in Austin, TX, in a typical neighborhood, in real traffic, and without a test driver on board.

With the latest public trial of our self-driving cars, we’re turning our focus to users. With feedback from the public, we’ll be able to refine product features and uses that are unique to a fully self-driving car, such as how people communicate with and use our vehicles, the in-car experience, and the types of places people want to go. Learn more about the early rider program.

I would like to provide feedback on how the cars drive on the road. How can I get in touch?

Your feedback is important to us. Please contact us and tell us about your experience.

I’d like to join the team. Where can I find a list of open roles?

You can learn more about available roles here.

How can I get a demo ride or become a volunteer tester?

If you live in the Phoenix metropolitan area, you can apply to join the first public trial of Waymo's self-driving cars, our early rider program.

We are unable to accommodate other requests for demonstration rides or volunteer testers at the moment. However, we're working everyday towards bringing self-driving cars to more people. To stay updated on our progress, please follow our blog and Twitter.

Can you come to my school, event, company or conference?

We are unable to accommodate most appearance requests due to our busy development and testing schedules. For special requests, please use our contact form. Please note we may not be able to respond to all inquiries.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to see our self-driving car up close, please visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA to view their exhibit, “Where To? A History of Autonomous Vehicles.” You’ll be able to learn more about self-driving technology and even sit inside one of our vehicles.

Can you help me with my school or research project?

Please browse this website and visit our blog for more in-depth information on our project. We are unable to provide additional information at the moment.

Can you expand testing to my city or country?

Our team is currently only on the road in Mountain View, CA, Austin, TX, Kirkland, WA, and Metro Phoenix, AZ. We look forward to expanding to other cities in the future.