Self-driving technology has come a long way in the last several years — 4 four million miles, to be exact, if we’re talking about Waymo. The Alphabet-owned technology company has been one of many firms responsible for moving autonomous vehicles from nothing but a pipe dream to the next big thing in the automotive pipeline. And with 4 million miles under its belt, Waymo shows no signs of slowing down.
Just how significant is this multimillion milestone? As Waymo noted on a Medium post, the average American driver would need about three centuries to traverse the same distance. But the company pointed out that when it comes to perfecting a new technology, practice is of the utmost importance. And clearly, these many miles and hours have paid off — Waymo is behind the world’s very first fully self-driving cars, which soon be to be shuttling folks around in Arizona.
Still, there are many more miles yet to go and Waymo pointed out that as it further develops its expertise, each additional mile will come more and more quickly. After all, it took only six months for the company to accumulate its last million miles, whereas it took three times as long to complete its first million. Thus far, Waymo has tested self-driving vehicles in 23 American cities, and created 20,000 unique scenarios on a private test track to ensure the autonomous cars are prepared for just about anything. And these scenarios range from the outlandish to the fully feasible — Waymo has simulated people jumping out of canvas bags as well as aggressive drivers quickly backing out of a driveway.
“With this accelerated learning cycle, we’ve been able to teach our vehicles the advanced driving skills necessary for full autonomy… soon members of the public will get to use Waymo’s driverless service to go to work, to school, to the grocery store and more,” the company wrote. “Unlocking self-driving cars across an entire city, rather than simply traveling along a single fixed route, will let more people access and benefit from this technology, sooner. When fully self-driving vehicles become a part of people’s daily lives, we can move closer to our goal of making transportation safe and easy for all.”
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