Town Square

Post a New Topic

Driverless cars OK'd for local streets

Original post made on Oct 30, 2018

Google's autonomous car offshoot, Waymo, announced Tuesday it had received permission from California regulators to begin piloting autonomous vehicles with no human in the driver seat.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 2:49 PM

Comments (73)

56 people like this
Posted by Waymo Problems to Worry About
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm

A Waymo car came close to hitting me last Thursday night on California Avenue when I was walking across an intersection with stop signs on all four sides. The car swerved after a bit and ended up in a peculiar angle in the opposing lane, alarming a driver who was coming towards it.

With a human driver, you can try to make eye contact. How do you know if an automated car sees you before you cross a street?




41 people like this
Posted by human driver
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Probably the most ill-informed decision giving them permit for driverless car. Lack of transparency of the algorithms, test results against ALL of the traffic rules (not necessary for humans), number of software updates/fixes made in the last week, last month and why, and other information were most likely not provided or reviewed.
If Waymo cars were programmed by the poor drivers "training" it by driving them around, it will be annoyingly driving on Lane 1 (one) SLOW even though other lanes are open, blocking traffic. And tapping the horn at it WILL NOT help, unlike for humans. The Waymo cars have been dismal in my observations, following "rules" with NO sign of COMMON SENSE!

Sigh.


33 people like this
Posted by No Way to WAYMOs
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 30, 2018 at 5:35 pm

WAYMOs are the lamest creation to date. They go too slow, are overly cautious and hold up the flow of traffic. I hate getting behind those stupid things.

I see them roaming about aimlessly all over the residential streets of MV seemingly going nowhere in particular and with no passengers on board...just a geek-like driver who is sometimes operating the vehicle manually and at other times just along for the ride. They add to traffic gridlock and serve no real purpose in the greater realm of things. Get behind two of them and you can easily add wasted minutes to your local commute or errand. Four way stops are even worse as they seem to let 2-3 cars clear the intersection before finally proceeding forward or initiating a right turn. Didn't the Googleheads realize that the design is actually adding to roadside danger? Probably not.

And what were those California legislators thinking? Are they as idiotic as the WAYMO concept itself?

Rant over. May WAYMO eventually go the way of the Pet Rock.



6 people like this
Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2018 at 7:55 pm

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 30, 2018 at 8:42 pm

If you think Waymo cars are driving too slow then you are probably a speeder. I for one welcome the Waymo cars, I hope they drive side-by-side on Alma, Middlefield, and Embarcadero during rush hour to help enforce the speed limit that so many ignore.


47 people like this
Posted by human driver
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2018 at 8:44 pm

How about trying Waymo first as street sweeping/cleaning vehicle? A street roomba!


16 people like this
Posted by human driver
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2018 at 8:59 pm

It's not that Waymo cars are too slow, the cars do NOT understand "SLOWER" cars rule in a multi lane roadway. Especially when there's another human driver in the other lanes driving normally. A human driver in the same situation reacts to the situation, uses COMMON SENSE, and lets traffic flow (unless they are one of those who think they are traffic cops or the if-I-dont-then-you-cant drivers).
Waymo seems to be programmed to take lane 1 (one) as they will EVENTUALLY need to make a left turn! No COMMON SENSE, that's all.

More importantly, there is NO TRANSPARENCY on known issues, bug fixes. Sebastian Thrun recently cited the ability to BUG FIX ALL of the self-driving cars when mistakes are made as an "advantage" (apparently contrasting that all humans
can not be "fixed"/corrected but omitting that not all of the humans make the same
driving mistakes and cause accidents). That is called bug fixing it to existence -
remember Windows updates, Acrobat reader updates....anyone?

They cite millons of miles driven (even though it could be the same roads) as
evidence of Waymo but do NOT provide number of bugs found, fixed, still not
root caused, etc. If my neigbor doesn't update their Windows with security
updates, I'm not that affected/concerned but if the Waymo cars do not have
the updates/bug fixes that's a hidden danger to everyone.


29 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Can we please have an identifier on these cars to show that they are unoccupied. After all, we would not want someone to risk their own life to save a non-existent occupant in the event of a car in flames or having driven off a bridge!


20 people like this
Posted by RS
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 31, 2018 at 6:41 am

I think i trust the driver less car more than the distracted human driver. How many accidents occur with human drivers? Way too many.


25 people like this
Posted by Swerve
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2018 at 7:57 am

Twice I’ve seen a Waymo swerve for no reason whatsoever. They were driving straight along in the left lane then suddenly they just swerved into the right lane and back again in a jerky motion. There were no obstacles or other cars around at the time. I was two car lengths behind it when I witnessed this but backed off another two. Why are public roads being used to test these flawed experimental vehicles? At least keep then off the roads during rush hour or when kids are walking and biking to school.


24 people like this
Posted by MJW
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 8:23 am

Tuesday, 10/30, trying to cross Middlefield at Colorado with my dogs a Waymo cut in front of me. How will infractions such as this be enforced against driverless cars? Are the cars sensitive to wildlife and domestic animals?


23 people like this
Posted by Beware of Waymo
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2018 at 8:57 am

> ...a Waymo cut in front of me. How will infractions such as this be enforced against driverless cars?

The WAYMO will have to go to Traffic School. If further infractions occur, the WAYMO will have its license plate suspended.


30 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 9:53 am

WayMo vehicles seem to have human beings behind the wheel 100% of the time. So, it is possible that you were "cut off" by a human driver rather than the vehicle run by software, cameras and sensors.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a teenage boy (or possibly young adult) in dark sunglasses driving a BMW SUV on Charleston near Middlefield like a maniac. Ironically, he dangerously cut-off the WayMo (and all of the cars behind it) to beat the Charleston "merge" because he was in a hurry. I'm far more concerned about reckless drivers like that than a WayMo.

Of course, I also agree that they (WayMo vehicles) are so safe that they might be "over-safe." Have you ever sat behind one trying to take a left-turn onto Alma St.? There were many opportunities to take a left that most humans would have taken advantage of. I hope that this is the vehicle being safe rather than the driver. They might want to program those WayMo vehicles to take advantage of traffic lights for left-turns.

Personally, I am excited by this next step in the evolution of driving. I'm glad that this community is part of it too. Imagine all of the things that you can do (in terms of productivity) without having to focus on driving!


18 people like this
Posted by fact not anecdotal noise N
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:17 am

As a pedestrian, I wouldn't trust a Waymo. As noted above, how do you know if the 'driver' accurately sees you? I know if I can't see a driver's eyes, I'm at much greater risk.

As for all the anecdotal stories above - phish!

I want facts: if Waymo brags about millions of miles, release the data of what happened in those millions of miles, otherwise, it's just a useless marketing 'fact'.


33 people like this
Posted by Our Kids Are Now Guinea Pigs
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:32 am

Our Kids Are Now Guinea Pigs is a registered user.

So it appears my children riding their bikes to school in Palo Alto will now be Waymo's driverless car guinea pigs on the road. I see Google/Waymo's cars driving down Cowper and East Meadow all the time, including during peak commute hours to school. I wonder if Google employees would be so enthusiastic and quick to put JUST their own children on the road in some "test town" to be guinea pigs for driverless cars? I think not. These Waymo driverless cars, in spite of a CA DMV permit, should NOT be allowed on Palo Alto's officially designated Safe Routes to School roads during peak hours when kids are commuting to multiple schools (elementary, middle and high schools).


22 people like this
Posted by tester
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:19 am

Can Palo Alto residents please get a share of the profits, since we are involuntary tests subjects. Thanks for the public input, very democratic..NOT!


21 people like this
Posted by Where can we find the third-party data?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:24 am

Where can we find the third-party data? is a registered user.

I want to know who collected the data that was used to persuade decision-makers on this. Waymo...or a third party? If Waymo (or or some other Google-affiliated company) collected the data, it should be thrown out as not objective.

Any other auto change is required to be rigorously third-party tested. Was this third-party tested?

I am astonished that such an important public safety decision was made without more public notice, enabling people to explore and comment on the data. Where can members of the public find the data that was used for this decision? Weekly? There is a very big piece missing from this story. Please investigate.


25 people like this
Posted by Weekly, more info, please.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:36 am

Weekly, more info, please. is a registered user.

Where do we look for more info about how this decision was made? Where can we find staff reports and data that persuaded key decision-makers. Who collected and analyzed that data? Who were the key decision-makers? When , where how was the decision made? What voice did our City Council and citizenry have in that process?

A good investigative report would be very helpful. Dive deep, please.


26 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:00 pm

A Waymo car got into an accident with a motorcycle recently in this area. Horrific surgery and recovery needs to take place. Waymo’s fault.
They treat Yield signs as stop signs, stay at stop signs practically until all other cars nearby have gone (leaving you waiting behind far past your turn), drive 15 in 35, can’t merge, drive slow in the fast lane, hold up traffic, and cause more confusion on the roads than not. I hate Waymo so much. We used to live near their HQ in Mountain View and they drove 6am- late PM everywhere. So frustrating that it’s all out of our control now that they have DMV permission.


4 people like this
Posted by Safe-vs-Slow
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Safe-vs-Slow is a registered user.

Interesting that we have arguments about Waymo cars not being safe enough and at the same time arguing that Waymo cars drive too slowly and take too long to make a left turn through traffic.
As to point #1 - it is CRITICAL they are and learn to be safe.
As to point #2 - that is a direct consequence of #1.

You know, when the 'horseless carriage' was first introduced there were communities that required a human being to "precede such [vehicle] on foot by not less than sixty yards, and shall carry a red flag constantly displayed, and shall warn the riders and drivers of horses of the approach ...". People might find this article enlightening: Web Link.

The technology is coming.
Yes there are problems (driving in lane #1, 'excessive' caution at stop signs, etc).
But it is coming.


16 people like this
Posted by AutoSafetyStats
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:12 pm

AutoSafetyStats is a registered user.

In the 1970s about the same number of people were killed in automobile accidents EACH YEAR as who died in the entire Vietnam War.

In 2010, there were an estimated 5,419,000 crashes, 30,296 of with fatalities, killing 32,999, and injuring 2,239,000. About 2,000 children under 16 die every year in traffic collisions.

We mourn the 3000 innocent people who lost their lives in September 2001 and continue to rattle our swords to this day about it, but we accept as part of our way of life that more than 10 times that many die on our highways each year and we do little or nothing about it.

In the longer run, autonomous vehicles hold the promise of reducing this carnage and expense.


17 people like this
Posted by Jiao Jun
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Waymo onboard computer system not perfected. Too much road info to process at one time. Result is overly slow, cautious vehicle. Peripheral sensors need improvement.

But still better than my mother-in-law's driving.


10 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 3:24 pm

They should have thought of a better name for the company. Wham-O has been around for a long time (1950's?) and had a long string of breakthrough products from frisbees to Hula Hoops,Slip-n-Slide and super balls. The Waymo cars are a minor irritation but would become a major headache if they increased in number/density. Just this morning I had to go around one on Middlefield that several times crossed the lane divider for no apparent reason, put its turn signal on then turned it off twice, tapped breaks several times... very unpredictable behavior. At least human drivers are predictably bad so you can plan for their next likely move.


20 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm

"I wonder if Google employees would be so enthusiastic and quick to put JUST their own children on the road in some "test town" to be guinea pigs for driverless cars? I think not."

I wonder if Waymo engineers and the bureaucrats that cater to them would stand in FRONT of their work. Better them than me.


16 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Hate these driverless cars, one merging on to Oregon expressway east from Alma almost hit me, the guy at the wheel looked like a idiot..
I wonder how much fuel/energy they have wasted with all of these cars rolling around the area?
Some days I have seen as many as ten Waymo cars just in Palo Alto..


21 people like this
Posted by No Way to WAYMOs
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 31, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Like many automotive manufacturers do, these WAYMO crap-mobiles should be track-tested first with several WAYMOS running at various speeds and approaching lap turns at different intervals. Also add a dummy animal darting across the track periodically to simulate panic stop situations.

A simulated urban track could also be designed as well for local driving simulation.

To actually be running and testing these vehicles on regular city streets alongside other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists is absurd and borders on reckless and irresponsible.

A WAYMO 'test driver' is an oxymoron of sorts. More like a mindless dweeb behind the wheel of a robotic car.


21 people like this
Posted by more trees
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 31, 2018 at 6:04 pm

San Antonio Ave a few days ago, one Waymo car wanting to turn right into headquarters and another coming at it wanting to turn left into the same roadway. It was evening rush hour. The two of them sat there at long length with cars piled up behind both. I finally honked and the one in front of me leaped forward with a jerk a bit sideways and turned left in front of the other--even though the one turning right had the actual right of way. Which neither car could figure out.


9 people like this
Posted by UGH
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm

But they are SO SLOW!!! how aggravating!


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Dumb question: what is the purpose of the driverless Waymo's? Are they simply driverless Uber/Lyft's? Are they supposed to drive kids to school?

There was a funny article in the Chron today about how sidewalk robot delivery boxes would stop package thefts. Ok. But they only said the robot delivery boxes were making food delivery! Pizzas are hardly the high-ticket itens attracting package thieves.


13 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 9:05 pm

"A simulated urban track could also be designed as well for local driving simulation."

Yeah, but using real city streets for free is way cheaper for Waymo-Google.

"To actually be running and testing these vehicles on regular city streets alongside other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists is absurd and borders on reckless and irresponsible."

Of course, but it's way cheaper for Waymo-Google.

"A WAYMO 'test driver' is an oxymoron of sorts. More like a mindless dweeb behind the wheel of a robotic car."

True, but they get paid for being mindless dweebs and therefore cost Waymo-Google money. Can't have that now, can we.

It's much cheaper and cost-effective to lobby starry-eyed politicians who live elsewhere than to build realistic dedicated public-safe test facilities.


31 people like this
Posted by Autonomous
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2018 at 9:45 pm

I cannot wait for all those Uber drivers to be replaed with Waymo. It wiil be great when all autonomous vehicles come online. Then we can get rid of all truck drivers, streetsweepers, pizza delivery folks. All these folks will be out of jobs and have to move away. This will relieve our housing "shortage" to make way for new young techies. They can in turn invent new robots to get rid of all our landscapers, Nanny's, food service workers.

Maybe they could get rid of the majority of city employees and that pesky pension problem they create.

Maybe they can invent a robot to replace the City Manager, aand his outrageous salary of $300,000 + a year.

Maybe they can make a robot to get rid of some of these high end real estate agents that specilize in offshore investment of our local real estate.


Maybe they can make some robots to replace these millennial techies that keep moving in.

Utopia!!!

Yippee!!!!


17 people like this
Posted by wayno
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:31 pm

This has got to be the stupidest concept ever. Why anyone would think this is a good idea is beyond any imagination. This is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. Seriously, this is a disaster. What is wrong with the Palo Alto decision makers--it is all about how blindly progressive and "forward" thinking Palo Alto is. Stop this non-sense. there is no logic in having driverless cars. Please stop this insane non-sense. There will be accidents, deaths, hackers--cars will be used as destructive forces and no one will be at fault--there won't even be a human in the car as it does all of its destruction. There is no proof that there is any benefit whatsoever in this stupid concept of driverless cars. Just one of many very stupid decisions and wayward direction of Palo Alto. Way-NO!!


16 people like this
Posted by driverless cars
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:40 pm

Driverless cars-- there are too many of them circling around our neighborhood--day after day after day. They still can't figure out how to navigate simple directions-let alone when something presents itself that becomes an unknown. Get them off the road. they are a menace to our neighborhoods. God forbid they ever get onto the freeways. They are a danger to our streets--bikers go through stop signs--they won't recognize that the bikers aren't going to stop. People not paying attention will step right into their path-and, they will not be able to navigate the situation. Pets in the street are fair game for these cars. This is nothing more than another scam being put upon us. we don't want to live in a city that feels that this is the next great wave. Please, get these cars off the road.


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:53 pm

What better way to keep Palo Alto in the national headlines?

"I don't care what the newspapers say about us as long as they spell our name right."


14 people like this
Posted by Quit Complaining
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2018 at 8:05 am

The number of drivers on the road on a daily basis who are tired, under the influence, distracted (I ride my bike and can see you all texting!), showing off (I remember my 16-year-old self!), and/or angry cause almost 4 million fatal car accidents a year. Will Waymo cars kill people? Yes. Will they kill 4 million people a year? I think not.


2 people like this
Posted by Waymo Applications
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Will Waymo technology eventually be offered as an add-on accessory to one's own vehicle?

I am a DIYer and would have no problem installing the system myself if it were offered in a convenient kit form.

While I wouldn't use it myself, the WOS (Waymo Operating System) might be a useful safety feature for newer adolescent drivers and old people. It wold also allow people who are DUI candidates to drive home after a night of excessive drinking.


8 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm

I’ve witnessed very slow Waymos in the left lane - like on San Antonio Rd., for example. I read some stop suddenly leading to drivers behind rear-ending them. I am displeased they are testing truly driverless now on our public streets, putting the public at risk. Use your leased land over @ Moffett Field or etc.


3 people like this
Posted by UX design
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

The pedestrians need to know that the cars see them as much as the cars are visible. I would put a little sign on the dash like lyft has letting pedestrians know that the car senses them and it is ok to cross the st


12 people like this
Posted by A Waymo Nightmare
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Can you picture a fire engine or EMT vehicle operated by a WAYMO system?

While the Waymo is cautiously motoring along at its high-tech pace...houses burnt to the ground, people dying etc.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I think many of us know what the Waymo cars look like and give them a little more caution, kind of like a Student Driver sign on a Drivers Ed car. We will have to train our children as both pedestrians and walkers to be even more careful as they cross the street or ride their bikes.

Perhaps it will make us all better road users.


10 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 1, 2018 at 4:38 pm

"Seriously, this is a disaster. What is wrong with the Palo Alto decision makers--it is all about how blindly progressive and "forward" thinking Palo Alto is."

Maybe some, but in this case it's mostly about being stark star-struck gaga over something they understand very little about: technology.

Texting on an iPhone does not a technologist make.


6 people like this
Posted by Chance To Learn More
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 1, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Chance To Learn More is a registered user.

FYI, there was a post on Nextdoor saying that Waymo will be hosting a community forum at Cubberley on Tuesday, November 27 at 6pm in Room H-1, and there will be a Q&A session.


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 2, 2018 at 12:01 am

@Quit Complaining, "almost 4 million fatal car accidents a year."

If true, we'd all be dead. Your number looks more than a factor of 100 high to me.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 7:19 am

Posted by more trees, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove

>> San Antonio Ave a few days ago, one Waymo car wanting to turn right into headquarters and another coming at it wanting to turn left into the same roadway. [...] The two of them sat there at long length with cars piled up behind both.

Please, please-- I hope people start posting videos of these situations on YouTube. Hilarious. Irony.


2 people like this
Posted by Quit Complaining
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 2, 2018 at 8:40 am

@musical I stand corrected. ~ 5 million car crashes per year with 37,000 fatalities.


2 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 10:59 am

Wikipedia has a great chart that puts traffic fatalities in perspective.

Total traffic death has declined from a peak of 55,000 in 1972 to 32,000-37,000 starting around 2010. The graphs of total vehicle miles traveled and death per vehicle mile traveled have been going in opposite directions since 1925.

Reducing traffic death below 32,000-37,000 has been difficult because about 1/3 of these fatalities involves a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Wikipedia chart: Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Melinda McGee
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 2, 2018 at 12:36 pm

I am fed up with the Waymo cars driving constantly up and down Alma street and circling my neighborhood circles like sharks. They are harassing my neighborhood, adding to the already bad traffic congestion on Alma, creating more air pollution, burning fossil fuels for no reason. They are using our tax-payer paved streets as their "business" domain and getting a free ride from the City of Palo Alto and adjoining communities at no charge to them and no benefit to us. How many tens of thousands of miles have they logged in our neigbhorhoods. They need to disclose this.
WAYMO - STAY OUT OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD! I have written to them and talked with them and they are unresponsive. These are our streets not theirs. At least the Uber drivers are providing transportation for someone. Tonight they were in my neighborhood when kids were out trick or treating. Next the driverless cars will be invading my neighborhood. GO AWAY WAYMO!


Like this comment
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Correction:

"The graphs of total vehicle miles traveled and deaths per vehicle mile traveled have been going in opposite directions since 1955 (not 1925)"




10 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 2:04 pm

(1) Why do Waymos brake for no reason? Clear road with nobody in front of them and these vehicles are continually tapping the brakes. (2) Are Waymos also testing the overall durability of brake pads and linings?

(3) Are Waymo test drivers former (or retired) Prius drivers? Dull, slow and overly cautious.

(4) Why do they seem to be going nowhere in particular? I have actually seen them circling around through neighborhoods.

(5) Why are there so many of them?


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Posted by Questions, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Are Waymo test drivers former (or retired) Prius drivers? Dull, slow and overly cautious.

I drive -every- vehicle in a dull, slow (speed limit or below), cautious manner. Don't pick on Priuses.


4 people like this
Posted by PA Voter
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm

>> I drive -every- vehicle in a dull, slow (speed limit or below), cautious manner.

Are you a human Waymo OS?


8 people like this
Posted by @Melinda McGee
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2018 at 6:24 pm

"I have written to them and talked with them and they are unresponsive."

Can't imagine why.


6 people like this
Posted by Thomas
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 3, 2018 at 2:50 am

For everyone hating on Waymo, please read up on the tech, history, and safety stats.

They are driving slow intentionally to please the non-believers and are far safer than the average human driver. They could be cranked up to drive faster and more human-like, with slightly increased resulting damage. But, any single incident gets so exaggerated in the news while the 100+ other (human) driving deaths that day get ignored. Their goal is to avoid a single instance so that we aren't hampered for years.

For every year that self-driving cars aren't deployed, another 100,000 people will die. It is in the public's best interest for them to proceed forward as fast as possible.

A road full of self-driving cars will be highly optimized for safety and travel time. Higher speeds can be achieved since they can drive on the highway with practically no gaps. A whole line at a stop light could take off simultaneously.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2018 at 8:36 am

Reading through the comments on this thread shows me that there is a lack of knowledge about these cars.

It is not our fault that we don't know and understand them. They have been forced on us and we are their guinea pigs. It would be kind if we had been instructed how to interact with them and what we need to do. If the fact is that we should treat them like any other car, then at least we should be told that. If they are programmed to behave a certain way, then at least tell us. If they are consistently circling a certain intersection to get more information, then tell us why that particular intersection is difficult for them. If they are working on certain aspects of their programming then let us know that is what they are doing and ask the rest of us road users to either help in a certain way, or to be a little more lenient with them.

I remember the first time I was in the car with a 16 year old student driver. I wanted everyone on the road to know that this student driver was learning, just as every driver on the road once was. I wanted everyone on the road to know that the car might appear to hesitate a little longer, be a little more cautious, may occasionally make a couple of mistakes (hopefully none too serious), that the passenger was in fact not a passenger but a teacher giving instruction and occasionally may be the one who would wave an apology to another car. There is a reason why student driver signs on student driving school cars are big and obvious. In many countries all student drivers legally have to signs or stickers on the car to show that they are not fully licensed drivers and some similar signs saying that they are rookie drivers with less than a year's experience driving with a license. It does help other road users to know that a certain car is driving with less experience than others.

In the same way, shouldn't we be treating these cars like student drivers. It would be helpful if Waymo gave us, the driving public, some notification of what the cars are going to do in for example, the case of a fender bender, being waved on by another driver, driver cordiality at driveway exits/entrances, etc. Eye contact is impossible with a driverless car. Allowing a car out of a driveway in slow moving traffic is a common courtesy we do in heavy slow traffic all the time. When we are having these cars in our midst it would be common courtesy to give us some heads up. After all we can't make a wave of thanks to a car without a driver and we can't wave one of them out in front of us, or can we?


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2018 at 11:40 am

Posted by Thomas, a resident of College Terrace

>> They are driving slow intentionally to please the non-believers and are far safer than the average human driver.

For a long time, they were limited to 25 mph, and mostly drove up and down Middlefield in Mountain View. OK, if suboptimal, in the right lane, but, in the left lane, getting ready to turn, annoying. And, Middlefield was mostly not very demanding. I'm seeing them on side streets in Palo Alto now, but, I'm not sure if the vehicles are ready for prime time -- at least 35 mph in fast, heavy, weaving traffic on ECR, for example. I'm happy if they obey the 35 mph speed limit, but, there are times when 25 mph in a 35 zone creates a safety hazard, AND, reduces throughput. With all the construction and construction traffic and commute traffic, reducing the throughput of ECR does not sound like a good idea, even to a law-abiding speed-limit-observing driver such as myself.

And that brings me back to the question others have had-- so far, our interactions with self-driving cars make them appear "not ready for prime time". We all need more information about what we can expect on the roads.


2 people like this
Posted by human driver
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

To those disingenuous posts citing outrageous traffic crashes/deaths as a scare tactic or justification of 5000lb-metal possibly buggy, unmanned vehicle driving
around:
Please look up the traffic stats for the roads/regions where these Waymos will be
deployed and state them for comparisons. From what I could find, there were just
a handful. (It should be easy to understand that Waymos in Palo Alto would have
zero impact on accidents in Los Angeles.)

With no transparency into the quality of the vehicles and several close calls
reported, the accident statistics could potential go up on these residential
streets. Perhaps, close-call stats of Waymo test drives, if disclosed, might
reveal whether a human avoided the close-call from becoming an accident, or
as many have suggested above, humans took the additional steps to avoid Waymo's
non-commonsensical driving behavior.

The key question is: Should you/your pet/your kid get involved with an
issue/accident/close call with Waymo on the road, would you readily admit
to being wrong? If not, what info would you need to show otherwise?

If Waymos were run on rails, then they would not impact safety of cars on
the road. And if "slow/safe" drivers could ditch their cars and take
Waymo-on-rails, the traffic flow for the rest might improve, and everyone
would be happy with that!


10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 4, 2018 at 8:47 am

Waymo's come through the residential areas for no purpose. I live on a cul-de-sac and it comes through every day for no purpose and then adds to the growing congestion on Louis Road. I stepped out one time with the intention of asking why the car was on the street adding to congestion in an area where small children play in what was a "safe" area. It ignored me - the driver ignored me and kept on going. We do not need a car in the area that has no purpose other than interrupting children who are playing. This whole idea and the approach it is taking is foolish and counter to the idea that we are suppose to be reducing the number of cars on the road. The question on the table is why a "private enterprise" is allowed to roam all over out where children and adults are active. In the cul-de-sac the closed end is an active area for people learning to ride bikes and shoot baskets.


6 people like this
Posted by Waymos Are Not Practical
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2018 at 8:58 am

Interesting. Looks like 99% of the posters are anti-Waymo. Myself as well.

The streets being what they are combined with an infinite number of independent drivers, the only way this concept could work would be if there were various 'traffic controller' stations throughout the area in charge of directing lane and destination changes.

This of course will never happen.



16 people like this
Posted by P A Bill
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Saturday AM was greatly entertained watching a Waymo attempt to navigate the roundabout at East Meadow and Ross. Start Stop Start Stop Start Stop Start Stop Start Stop.... Couldn't figure out who had the right of way and when it was appropriate to enter the circle. Finally waited about 30 seconds after there were no cars anywhere near before it proceeded through the intersection.


Like this comment
Posted by Waymo is coming
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2018 at 10:15 pm

There are going to be a lot of people on this thread stamping their feet in anter once Waymo starts offering taxi services in Palo Alto. It's already happening in Arizona.

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Nov 5, 2018 at 7:37 am

"A Waymo car came close to hitting me last Thursday night on California Avenue when I was walking across an intersection with stop signs on all four sides."

Yet cars driven by clueless people are often far worse. Self-driving cars will be an improvement. Now if someone would also develop self-driving bicycles, we would be set


Like this comment
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Nov 5, 2018 at 7:41 am

"There are going to be a lot of people on this thread stamping their feet in anter once Waymo starts offering taxi services in Palo Alto. It's already happening in Arizona."

People here stomp their feet in anger because the sun rises in the West, so that wouldn't be anything new. Besides, there is nothing wrong with additional taxi services.


14 people like this
Posted by Welcome to Waymo World
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 5, 2018 at 7:53 am

> Start Stop Start Stop Start Stop Start Stop Start Stop.... Couldn't figure out who had the right of way and when it was appropriate to enter the circle. Finally waited about 30 seconds after there were no cars anywhere near before it proceeded through the intersection.

Waymos get very confused at 4-way stops. They only proceed when the entire coast is clear. Very aggravating for cars waiting behind them.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2018 at 9:58 am

Posted by Kenny, a resident of University South

>> People here stomp their feet in anger because the sun rises in the West, so that wouldn't be anything new.

No offense buddy, but, I hope you aren't a navigation app programmer. ;-)


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 5, 2018 at 12:33 pm

^ only in the southern hemisphere


6 people like this
Posted by Where is the crash data? who is liable?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Where is the crash data? who is liable? is a registered user.

WEEKLY--Where can members of the public find the crash data that was used by electeds in making this decision?

Was it collected by Waymo or some objective third party not affiliated in any way with Google?

Who is liable if a Waymo car kills or maims someone?--the poor schlub who is paid to sit in the car and monitor it or Waymo or Google or all of the above?


6 people like this
Posted by Waymo is TERRIBLE
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm

I've have a few incidents where I've driven behind a waymo van and it literally just swerved and almost hit several parked cars. The van positioned itself at an angle so it was also in the oncoming traffic lane as well. I try to stay far away from these stupid cars. I'm not a fan at all, and will never be a fan from the incidents that I've encountered. This is waymo terrible to add to this congested streets.


2 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Nov 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm

"No offense buddy, but, I hope you aren't a navigation app programmer. ;-)"

I was being facetious.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm

"Where can members of the public find the crash data that was used by electeds in making this decision? Was it collected by Waymo or some objective third party not affiliated in any way with Google?"

What else--they Googled it.


4 people like this
Posted by Get Real
a resident of University South
on Nov 6, 2018 at 9:51 am

"I stepped out one time with the intention of asking why the car was on the street adding to congestion in an area where small children play in what was a "safe" area."

This may be the ultimate expression of Palo Alto privilege. Get a grip, pal.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2018 at 10:56 am

Posted by P A Bill, a resident of Fairmeadow

>> Saturday AM was greatly entertained watching a Waymo attempt to navigate the roundabout at East Meadow and Ross.

Folks, YouTube videos, -please-!


2 people like this
Posted by PA Grandma
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 6, 2018 at 1:49 pm

To Waymo,

I did NOT SIGN UP to be your guinea pig. If you want to test drive your cars on our streets then you need to get signed permission slips from all the residents.

Signed, Palo Alto Resident

When I see a Waymo car in the traffic near me, I do everything I can to get away from it. There is no way to anticipate what they are going to do since they don't appear to be able to read signals - like the turn signals I use to indicate a lane change, or a right or left turn. These things should be tested for every imaginable situation on closed tracks until it is clear that they can reliably respond to every situation.


4 people like this
Posted by Student driver
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm

To all those who don't like cars learning to drive on their street, suppose you don't approve of student drivers learning on the streets either.

Perhaps all the waymo and students should learn in a closed off facility far away from real life driving conditions and only be allowed when every other road, on foot, on two wheels, on four wheels or more wheels user obeys every single traffic law and never makes any type of mistake are confident they will be better than they are themselves.

BTW, this is tongue in cheek.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Post-election reflections -- and sponges
By Diana Diamond | 12 comments | 1,386 views

Couples: Philosophy of Love
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,048 views

El Camino: Another scheme to increase congestion?
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 365 views