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The school year is quickly approaching and students will be sitting in a class once again, whether at home or in person. In fact, some students are already back in session! Some classes will completely absorb them in the material and others will have them wondering “when will I ever use this information again?” or “ how will I use this in the real world?” Well, it’s time to put an end to those age-old questions! We talked to three Waymonauts across the company about what foundational knowledge they learned in high school that they still use today at Waymo.

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In 2018, we shared our plans to work with Valley Metro, the Phoenix Metro area’s regional public transportation authority, to explore mobility solutions in a first-of-its-kind study that would use autonomous driving technology to complement the city’s existing transit network.
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Today, we’re excited to share the next step in our journey in the City by the Bay, with the kickoff of our Waymo One Trusted Tester program.

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Here’s our autonomous driving system—the Waymo Driver—in San Francisco earlier this year. It’s the kind of journey we’ve made tens of thousands of times since we first started driving autonomously in the city in 2009. As the Waymo Driver navigates dozens of vehicles and pedestrians, it’s met with a huge variety of other road users—from double-parked vehicles whose riders can hop out at any second, to scooters cutting across traffic even when they have a red light.

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These past few months have been busy for Waymo Via. We’ve been ramping up our testing to help advance our fifth-generation Waymo Driver on Class 8 trucks, hauling freight for carriers’ top customers, and continuing our ongoing work with Daimler Trucks to develop a robust L4 redundant vehicle platform. To help support all of these initiatives, we’re scaling up our operations across Texas, Arizona, and California, and today, we’re sharing a few exciting updates on our progress.

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At Waymo, we use simulation to advance the Waymo Driver's abilities in several ways. We can amplify our number of real-world miles to accelerate our Driver’s learning, prepare for rare events, train new models, validate new software, and even evaluate how the Waymo Driver would have performed in actual fatal crashes that have already occurred. For simulation to be valuable as a learning tool, it has to closely match our target domain – performing rider-only trips for Waymo One and goods delivery trips for Waymo Via in the real world– in which case, there is only one question that matters. Did the Waymo Driver safely and efficiently complete the trip?

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Editor’s note: We first heard from Sophia on social media, where she’s been sharing fun videos of her Waymo One rides. We reached out to learn more about what intrigued her about Waymo in the first place and how autonomous driving technology has become a part of her everyday life (and sparked a new passion!).
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