Working to make our roads accessible and safe for everyone
Let's Talk Self-Driving
Through iconic songs and movies, beloved works of art, and unforgettable books and stories, American roadways have come to symbolize freedom, adventure, possibility, and wonder. But for the roughly 61 million Americans who have a major disability and the estimated 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the US, independent mobility isn’t always an option.
Some people with disabilities rely on family and friends to get where they need to go; others utilize public transportation, ridesharing, or transportation services through foundations and other organizations. But depending on others to get to work, go to the store, or visit friends can take its toll.
Max, a blind 22-year-old living in Phoenix, explains the frustration of not being able to drive himself. “I need to rely on others for that basic requirement of life,” he says. “It’s limiting.”
Having a disability shouldn’t mean losing the mobility and freedom that many people in America take for granted. For Max, a solution that allows him to enjoy mobility independence while not having to rely on someone else to drive him would make his life not only easier, but better.
“From a self-esteem point of view, it would be great,” Max explains. “From a practical point of view, it would be life-changing.”
Self-driving technology holds the potential to completely transform how people with disabilities live their lives. We all deserve the freedom and independence that come with being in control of where we want to go and when we want to go there.
And, with fully-self driving cars, people can rest assured that their driver is designed to be safer, more reliable, and more cautious than any human driver could ever be.
While working toward creating the road’s safest drivers, self-driving technology companies have collaborated with the disability community to ensure that specific technical features will address the unique needs of people with disabilities, people who are blind, and those with low or impaired vision.
Features currently in development include:
In the event of an emergency situation, chat-based audio rider support is an essential safety precaution for any rider.
Self-driving technology can help people with disabilities stay connected to their communities. It can offer convenience, safety, and independence, and take the burden off of family, friends, and caregivers. It can give people with disabilities the freedom to make decisions about where they’re going and when they want to go.
Another road is possible. Join us to learn more about how Waymo’s fully self-driving technology can take us there.