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Waymo fleet reaches 10M miles on public roads

by Ben Hsu

The company is now operating in 25 cities across the US.

Waymo has announced its latest odometer milestone, crossing the 10-million-mile mark while testing on public roads.

The company is now operating in 25 cities across the country. Its primary fleet deployment is in the Phoenix suburbs, while smaller test operations range from the company's Mountain View, California, headquarters to the snowy roads of Michigan.

The real-world miles are complemented by a much more extensive digital computer simulation program. The company has driven seven billion miles in its virtual world, equivalent to 10 million miles every single day.

"In simulation, we can recreate any encounter we have on the road and make situations even more challenging through 'fuzzing,'" Waymo chief John Krafcik says. "We can test new skills, refine existing ones, and practice extremely rare encounters, constantly challenging, verifying, and validating our software. We can learn exponentially through this combination of driving on public roads and simulation."

The executive suggests the next 10 million real-world miles will focus on turning the technology into a service for the general public. The company still has more work to do before launching in additional cities and preparing its cars for challenging weather conditions. Engineers are also tasked with maintaining rider comfort and safety while making the car drive in a way that meshes with human-piloted traffic.

"Today, our cars are programmed to be cautious and courteous above all, because that's the safest thing to do. We're working on striking the balance between this and being assertive as we master maneuvers that are tough for everyone on the road," Krafcik adds. "For example, merging lanes in fast-moving traffic requires a driver to be both assertive enough to complete the maneuver without causing others to brake and smooth enough to feel pleasant to our passengers."

The company is expected to launch its driverless taxi service before the end of the year, however a specific date hasn't been publicly confirmed.