Editor’s Note: In April 2017, we launched our early rider program to learn how our fully self driving technology fits into people’s daily lives. Now, almost a year and a half later, well over 400 people ride with us every day ― to get to school, work, dinner with friends, and around town for errands, helping us shape the future of our service. Meet Lilla, one of our riders in Metro Phoenix, who shares her perspective on what it’s like to ride with Waymo.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m Lilla and I live in Mesa, Arizona. I’ve always enjoyed learning. My first degree was in English and Literature, and now I work for a small software company where I get to learn new types of (software) languages! I love to read, play video games and be active.
Can you share what it’s like to be one of our early riders?
Riding in Waymo’s cars is always fun. I like to watch the screens to see what the car’s sensors are picking up. I’m always pleased to see small improvements in the car’s driving patterns, like how it nudges up to the car in front of it, how it changes lanes when other cars are nearby, or how much buffer it gives before making an unprotected left turn. It has also started to remind me to shut the door when I exit the vehicle (I’ve been guilty of leaving it open!).
I try to always give feedback during the ride (that’s if I’m not too busy reading!). I always say I’m so proud of the car when it completes a merge/lane change or a turn that was once difficult or uncomfortable. I kid, but I really do feel proud when I notice the car has improved based on feedback I’ve submitted ― like I’m part of the process and that the team at Waymo is genuinely listening to the early riders.
What do you use Waymo for today?
I use Waymo to visit my friends, go to the gym, and run simple errands. I carpool with a friend a few days a week since the gym we go to is next to her house. At the start of the day, Waymo takes me to her house. At the end of the day, Waymo brings me home. It’s become a routine, and I LOVE routines.
In my household, when we go out, there’s no more rock, paper, scissors to see who is the designated driver. No more ridesharing in a car that may feel cramped. We know exactly what to expect with a Waymo, and we all get to be comfortable.
Waymo has also allowed me to help my friends in need. I let them borrow my personal car because I have less of a dependency on it, and I can still do the things I want to do.
What do you think the potential is for self-driving cars?
Self-driving cars are the future that I want. I personally don’t like driving; it gives me anxiety though I’m a very cautious and courteous driver. Waymo eliminates the stress of getting behind the wheel, and I feel safer in a car that’s designed to never get distracted or tired.
By riding with Waymo, I’ve gotten cumulative hours of my life back, hours that I would have spent driving, being anxious and filled with road rage. And I’ve had the chance to experience a bit of the future. Humanity has this wonderful opportunity to move forward in terms of personal transportation, and I feel honored to be a part of it.
Our early rider program continues to take applications; if you live in the area, drop us a line.