Distracted driving. Drunk driving. Texting and driving. The road is not as safe as it should be. We believe fully self-driving technology holds the promise to change the way our roads operate and save thousands of lives now lost to accidents every year.
Waymo’s Safety Program
As the first company to complete a fully self-driving trip on public roads, Waymo has had to write its own playbook for ensuring safety.
Today, Waymo’s safety program considers safety from the ground up and incorporates safety at every system level and every development stage, from design to testing and validation.
Waymo’s multi-layered approach to safety is influenced by a braintrust of NASA engineers, NHTSA safety experts, and specialists from defense and auto industries, among others. Together, they created a playbook for rigorous and comprehensive development and testing of this technology.
Waymo engineers analyze and test at every level to ensure performance and reliability. For example, Waymo’s vision (camera) system alone is subjected to over 100 separate tests in its labs before a single vehicle with this technology leaves the garage.
Safety by Design
Waymo organizes the processes it uses to keep its vehicles safe through its System Safety Program. Safety requirements needed to reduce the risk of potential hazards are captured internally, addressed in design, and then verified and validated to demonstrate that safety risks have been reduced. Waymo’s safety program addresses five distinct safety areas:
Ensuring Waymo Can Drive Well
Behavioral safety refers to the driving decisions and behavior of Waymo's vehicles on the road. Just as for human drivers, Waymo vehicles are subject to traffic rules and must safely navigate a variety of scenarios, both expected and unexpected.
Building in Backup Systems
Functional safety seeks to ensure that Waymo vehicles operate safely even when there is a system fault or failure. That means building in backup systems and redundancies to handle the unexpected.
Crash safety, or crashworthiness, refers to the ability of vehicles to protect passengers inside the vehicles through a variety of measures, ranging from a structural design that shields people inside, to features like seat restraints and airbags that mitigate injury or prevent death. Waymo’s engineers conduct crash avoidance tests across a variety of scenarios.
Creating a Safe and Comfortable Experience
With operational safety, Waymo can ensure that consumers have a safe and comfortable experience in its vehicles. Waymo has developed and tested user interfaces so that passengers can clearly indicate their destination, direct the vehicle to pull over, and contact Waymo rider support.