DRIVER FREE BUT VIRUS FREE? ROBO CARS HIT NEW SPEED BUMP

Techlife NewsJune 20, 2020

DRIVER FREE BUT VIRUS FREE? ROBO CARS HIT NEW SPEED BUMP
The latest challenge for the autonomous vehicle industry: How to assure passengers that the car they are getting in is virus-free, even if it doesn’t have a driver.

Widespread use of autonomous vehicles already had been delayed by a March 2018 fatal crash involving an Uber test vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, forcing the industry to pause to make sure its vehicles are safe.

Now it has to deal — just like other ride-hailing companies and traditional taxis — with passenger anxiety over getting into tight spaces with people who may have the virus, or after infected people who rode in the vehicles before them.

An executive with self-driving car company Waymo said that the coronavirus pandemic forced it to put its limited ride service in the Phoenix area on hold to make sure human backup drivers and passengers were safe.

The passenger-carrying service hasn’t resumed yet, but testing restarted on May 8. Some of the rides were shifted toward delivery, Patrick Cadariu, Waymo’s head of supply chain operations, said on a webinar.

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June 20, 2020