Locals reportedly frustrated with Alphabet’s self-driving cars

‘I’m sick of them in my neighborhood’: Locals blast Alphabet’s self-driving cars for blocking the roads and forcing them to drive illegally

  • Residents in Chandler, Arizona, say they are sick of Alphabet’s self-driving cars
  • Waymo tests its self-driving cars in Phoenix suburbs as restrictions don’t apply
  • More than a dozen residents say the cars struggle to cross the T-intersection 
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Alphabet’s self-driving cars are frustrating an Arizona community who live next to the Waymo headquarters, with some locals claiming the frustration has made them feel like ‘murdering someone’.  

More than a dozen residents living in Chandler, southeast of Phoenix, were interviewed by The Information and vehemently declared they hated the cars in their neighborhood, saying the cars even struggled to cross the T-intersection.

Lisa Hargis, an administrative assistant who works at an office next to the self-driving vehicle depot, said she almost hit a Waymo Chrysler Pacifica minivan because it suddenly stopped while trying to make a right turn at the intersection.

‘I was going to murder someone,’ she recalled.  

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Alphabet’s self-driving cars are frustrating an Arizona community who live next to the Waymo headquarters, with some locals vehemently declaring they hate them (A self-driving car is pictured on an Arizona road)


More than a dozen residents living in Chandler, southeast of Phoenix, work near the self-driving technology company office and say the cars struggle to cross the T-intersection. Pictured: Country Club Drive and Southern Avenue in Arizona where a five-car pile up involving a Waymo car occurred earlier in the year

Robbie Monreal, a sales representative nearby, said the wait for the self-driving cars to cross the intersection is usually so long that he has illegally driven around them, saying: ‘I’m sick of them in my neighborhood.’   

Waymo has been testing its vehicles in the Phoenix suburbs for little more than a year where the state of Arizona has no restrictions on self-driving cars. 

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The potential for self-driving cars could eliminate aspects of human error and unpredictability such as dangerous driving, speeding, texting, drinking or driving through stop signs.

However, their coexistence on roads with human drivers has led to confusion with abrupt stopping and slower maneuvering frustrating other drivers.    


Waymo has been testing its vehicles in the Phoenix suburbs for little more than a year where the state of Arizona has no restrictions on self-driving cars. A Waymo Lexus brand SUV is pictured


Waymo recently doubled its operations center in Chandler, Arizona where it tests the autonomous vehicles. Pictured is its fleet of self-driving cars before hitting the road

Self-driving cars are programmed to drive more conservatively, to master situations that human drivers can handle with relative ease, like merging or finding a gap in traffic to make a turn. 

A Waymo spokesperson said its cars are ‘continually learning’ and that ‘safety remains its highest priority’ during testing.

The spokesperson also said that Waymo is using feedback from its early rider program to improve its technology. 

Waymo and other self-driving car companies have said they will continue to try to work out software kinks and expand their regions of operation, but experts are divided on when self-driving cars will actually become mainstream.


A Waymo spokesperson said its cars are ‘continually learning’ and that ‘safety remains its highest priority’ during testing (stock image) 


Waymo and other self-driving car companies have said they will continue to try to work out software kinks and expand their regions of operation 

HOW DOES WAYMO TEST ITS SELF-DRIVING CARS BEFORE PUTTING THEM ON PUBLIC ROADS?

Waymo built ‘Castle,’ a hidden mock city that can quickly be configured to test different scenarios.

It’s located north of the Merced metro area where the Castle Air Force Base used to be an has been rented by Google since 2014.

As part of the initial two-year lease, the firm rented 80 acres from Merced Country for $456,000, being paid in $19,000 monthly installments.

It has different driving environments including residential streets, expressway-style streets, cul-de-sacs, and parking lots.


The Waymo test site is located north of the Merced metro area, where the Castle Air Force Base used to be

At Castle, the roads are named after famous cars, such as DeLorean, Bullitt, Thunderbird, Fury, and Barbaro.

For the structured testing, Waymo looks at how self-driving cars perform on real roads to determine how they need to practice – then they build what’s required at Castle.

The fake city has no buildings except one – a converted military dorm Waymo employees sleep in when they’re too tired to make it back to San Francisco.

It’s hidden, and you need GPS coordinates to find it. 


Castle is located north of the Merced metro area where the Castle Air Force Base used to be, 2.5 hours from the company’s headquarters. There, Waymo is testing several types of self-driving cars, including Chysler Pacificas minivans

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