By Robert Rapier | Forbes
Opinions expressed by Forbes contributors are their own.
Two years ago on my daily commute to work in Chandler, Arizona, I noticed something new sharing the roads with me: a fleet of white cars with a funny contraption on top of it, and prominent decals on the side labeled “Google” and “Self-Driving Car.” I snapped the photo above the first time I got to see one up close.
Chandler had become one of the test sites for Google’s autonomous vehicle program. Today, the “Google” decal has been replaced with “Waymo,” the company Google created to commercialize its AV technology, but the fleet of Lexus RX 450h SUV hybrids is still going strong.
The cars have a human driver behind the steering wheel ready to take control if needed, but according to Google those interventions have been few. In 2016 Waymo drove 635,868 miles autonomously in California and reported an average of only one disengagement every 5,128 miles to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).