Among the countless situations autonomous cars must master before we see driverless vehicles giving us rides is actually a seemingly mundane one: Where do you pick up passengers?
“Pickups can be one of the most stressful moments for passengers,” said Juliet Rothenberg who oversees rider experience for Waymo, formerly known as the Google self-driving car project. “We’re exploring features to recognize riders earlier.”
Here’s the problem Waymo’s self-driving minivans have encountered when picking up riders in a pilot program in Arizona.
Sometimes the passenger is actually not at the exact location they indicated when calling for a ride on the Waymo self-driving car app. some other times, riders do not realize they need to be at the exact pickup location. The riders will walk toward the minivan as the item is actually moving toward the designated pick up spot. Since the auto will only do the designated pickup location, flagging down the auto earlier is actually not an option. The “brains” of the self-driving minivan may miss where to pick up the passenger, in addition to in which passenger could be frustrated.
The situation is actually one ride-hailing users have encountered numerous times. the item is actually not uncommon to have an Uber, Lyft or some some other driver call you on a busy city street in addition to say, “Where are you? I’m here.”
Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions Waymo gets through those using its self-driving minivans is actually one we can all relate to. “What’s happening with my pickup is actually one we hear through riders,” said Rothenberg.
Waymo says the item is actually working on ways to eliminate the frustrating situation, although the item won’t say what those solutions might include.
inside meantime, the item looks like self-driving cars are wrestling which has a problem all of us have encountered numerous times: The person being picked up is actually not where we thought they might be.
Also see: A recent ride in a Waymo self-driving van shows they’re almost ready for prime time
Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.