Robotaxi

The race for robotaxi success is on… and the unlikely California-based Waymo is in the lead. 

With every big tech company wasting to get a piece of the self-driving pie, it begs the question…

How did Waymo manage to come out on top? 

And can they take the pressure from the ambitions of Elon Musk at Tesla?

Robotaxi King: Waymo

Once thought to be an unassuming figure in the robotaxi game, now Waymo has taken over the streets. 

IN FACT, THEY’VE BECOME THE LARGEST ROBOTAXI SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES

The company’s fleet made up of over 672 electric Jaguar SUVs, completes an average of 50,000 rides per week.

This year, the company is on track to make over $50 million in revenue. 

The fully autonomous, commercial-use Waymo taxis are not a recent development. In fact, it’s taken over $8 billion in investments and 15 years of research and development to get these vehicles out on the road. 

While it’s taken the robotaxi company a while to become profitable and fully recoup the investment…

It does help that its other major competitors have been dropping like flies. 

Uber, for example, has had to cease its self-driving test vehicle in 2018 when it fatally struck a pedestrian. Initiatives by other companies either failed, were stalled, or got bought out. 

Yet a large competitor is yet to enter the race…

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has made it clear that he has his eyes set on robotaxis as the company’s next big project.

Will Waymo be able to compete?

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Even with Waymo’s position as the largest robotaxi company in the U.S., many have criticized the company for taking their expansions at a snail’s pace…

While the company has a reason for slow expansions, it makes it easier for Tesla to pounce on the opportunity. 

Elon Musk is known at Tesla for diving into new initiatives at a breakneck speed. In fact, Musk stated that the company will reveal its robotaxi on August 8th. 

But Tesla has been facing plenty of obstacles stopping them from unveiling their latest fleet of taxis. Firstly, Musk has made it clear that if he does not get his big payday from the carmaker, he could just as easily step down as CEO and take his work elsewhere. 

Next, and arguably most importantly, Tesla’s self-driving software has been facing severe scrutiny for years. With numerous injuries and fatalities due to the car’s “Full Self-Driving” software…

Tesla has been under heavy investigation by several federal agencies due to their dangerous automation. 

Waymo has also been investigated for erratic car behavior, yet there is one key difference between the two brands: 

NONE OF WAYMO’S SELF-DRIVING ROBOTAXIS HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ACCIDENTS RESULTING ANY SERIOUS INJURIES OR DEATHS. 

Insofar, Waymo has few noteworthy accidents. Most recently, a passenger-less Waymo robotaxi hit a telephone pole while pulling over at a low speed. The company quickly issued a recall to patch the software. 

Waymo has been incredibly slow when rolling out their fully automated taxis to new locations. Despite their hesitancy, thanks to their excessive testing

The company was able to open up its software to the whole population of San Francisco this week…

No more waiting on an endless waitlist to give the vehicles a go. 

Hitting The Road

While Waymo’s approach to robotaxi expansion has been slow and steady, it comes to the benefit of passengers and pedestrians.

Tesla still has a lot to overcome before it can become a large enough competitor to Waymo in the robotaxi game…

Especially considering their track record with automated driving systems.

Although Waymo has already taken the crown in robotaxi development…

Only time will tell which of the two companies comes out on top…

Be Great, 

GCTV Staff

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