AI, Articles, Cognitive Vehicles

Backlash Against Waymo’s Robot Taxi Service

Since December 5, 2018, the world’s first robotic taxi service has been offering its services: Waymo One. But not everyone is enthusiastic about it. The robotic taxi service is also hated and attacked.

The Google sister Waymo fights for the acceptance of the technology in the population. The technology is not yet fully developed, as first test experiences show. There are still some issues that need to be fixed, the system is not yet running smoothly. Therefore Waymo has now developed a double artificial intelligence, ChauffeurNet, which is supposed to imitate human behavior. However, the company is also fighting on another front. Since the service Waymo One has been active, there have been some attacks on the vehicles and drivers of Waymo. To ensure safety, there are also drivers on board who can intervene in an emergency.

As the report of the Californian traffic authority, DMV, shows, there have been 21 incidents of attacks. In particular, the drivers in the vehicles were harassed and sometimes even threatened. They were yelled at, there were stone throws and the tires were cut. In one case, a man with dementia threatened a driver with a gun.

Waymo’s reaction

Waymo has prepared the drivers for such situations and continues to train them further. They also want to work together with the authorities, and this implies above all the law enforcement authorities. The sensor material will probably also be made available for this purpose, as cameras monitor the vehicles’ surroundings and could provide useful information. It is well known that Waymo One vehicles are not popular because of their conservative driving style. But where does the hatred come from in connection with the attacks? Arizona State University researcher Phil Simon believes it has to do with the fear of change and that technology such as that of Waymo leads to job losses, not only in the professional driver segment. This is a generally perceived development for which Waymo is just one example. This development could also be occur in other countries. Whether robotic taxi services will also trigger this kind of reaction will remain to be seen.

About the author:

David Flora is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: