Waymo, the self-driving subsidiary of Alphabet, launched its first commercial autonomous ride-hailing service here in the Phoenix suburbs on Wednesday – a momentous moment for the former Google self-driving project that has been working on the technology for almost a decade. I was one of the lucky few to test out the company’s robot taxi experience a week before the launch. And I say “lucky” because to ride in one of Waymo’s autonomous minivans, not only do you have to live in one of four suburbs around Phoenix, but you also have to be in a very exclusive, 400-person club called the Early Riders.
I want this technology to work.
It’s truly amazing technology. But this part stood out for me:
“When I use it, the app is a little buggy, which is typical of most beta software.”
Which of course makes me nervous about the self-driving software too.
What I really mean is that, developers can do amazing things on the one hand, but still struggle to get the basics right on the other. It’s an odd juxtaposition.