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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Publication of Waymo Safety Report on Self-Driving Cars

A Message from Waymo

Waymo (formerly the Google Self-Driving Car Project) published its first Safety Report for our fully self-driving technology. Safety is at the core of Waymo’s mission and we believe our technology could save thousands of American lives now lost to traffic crashes every year.

Waymo LogoIn the Report, we detail Waymo’s work on ― and our commitment to ― safety. This overview of our safety program reflects the important lessons learned through the 3.5 million miles Waymo’s vehicles have self-driven on public roads, and billions of miles of simulated driving, over the last eight years. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued updated federal guidance for autonomous vehicles, Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety, and the Waymo Safety Report also contains information responsive to DOT’s guidance.

While there is a lot of promotion of self-driving cars these days, there is less discussion about the work that goes into making them capable, reliable, and safe. As the first company to put a fully self-driving car on the road without a driver, in 2015, Waymo has had to write its own playbook. That is why we use a safety-by-design approach ― discussed at greater length in the Report ― that informs everything Waymo does and affects every part of our cars, every step of the way. 

At Waymo, we have built a company culture that makes not only safety a core value, but also open communication about safety. For example, Waymo recently partnered with several nonprofits ― including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, and the Foundation for Blind Children ― to launch the world’s first public education campaign on fully self-driving cars. The goal of the Let’s Talk Self-Driving campaign, which includes local and national advertising, is to increase education and understanding about how this new technology can help address some of the biggest safety challenges on our roads today.

Both of these efforts are part of Waymo’s commitment to be transparent and informative to the public about the development of our self-driving technology.