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I'm thrilled to join Waymo as Chief Safety Officer, where safety is at the heart of the mission to expand access to mobility and save lives. Over the last 20 years, I've designed, tested, and deployed complex systems, and most recently served as Vice President of Safety, Quality, and Mission Assurance for Virgin Orbit. Prior to that, I served as Director of Safety and Mission Assurance for the Boeing Commercial Crew Program. I also held various leadership positions within Boeing's Space Division, designing and launching commercial and government satellites.
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On October 8th, Waymo opened its fully autonomous ride-hailing service to the general public in Phoenix. Right now members of the public are hailing vehicles with no human driver controlling the car – either in the vehicle or remotely – to help them get to where they’re going as part of their everyday lives.
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Autonomous trucking is poised to improve road safety and offer greater efficiency across the logistics industry. As we configure the Waymo Driver to operate Class 8 trucks and unlock these benefits, we’re pleased to share that Waymo has entered a broad, global, strategic partnership with Daimler Trucks, the global market leader in large commercial vehicles.

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In 2017, after nearly a decade of developing self-driving technology for passenger cars, we launched our trucking and local delivery program now known as Waymo Via. Since then, our autonomous Class 8 trucks have been tested in a wide variety of cities and environments in California, Georgia, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Utilizing the same core technology stack across all of our vehicles allows us to bring fully driverless trucks to the market safely and quickly.

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Five years ago this month, Steve Mahan, the retired director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, who lost his sight years before, took the world's first ride in a self-driving car on public roads. This little car, called Firefly, had a top speed of just 25 mph, and used a combination of lidar, radar, cameras, and massive on-board computing power to navigate the busy streets of Austin, Texas. 

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ThumbnailFor any emerging technology to be trusted, it helps to first be understood. In the past, people could see how their cars worked, looking under the hood and tinkering with them with the help of a user manual. In 2020, vehicles have so much technology that they’ve become difficult for the general public to comprehend. We want to change that. With this blog series, we’ll unpack the different parts of our technology stack to explain the fundamentals of self-driving technology. How does the Waymo Driver perceive the world? How does it learn to understand its surroundings? How can it predict the intentions of other drivers and pedestrians? And how does it keep our riders safe? We’re starting with one of the foundational questions: how does a self-driving car know where it is? 
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Imagine a tiny city where you control everything that happens on the streets. You manage how many cars zip down the roads and how fast they are going. You dictate how many cyclists are on a roundabout or whether they follow the road rules. The “weather” around the vehicle can change multiple times a day from blue skies and sunshine one minute to heavy rain showers the next, but only if you want it that way. One may say such a city doesn’t exist, but if you drive out to the middle of Merced County in California, you’ll find it at Castle, a former Air Force Base our team uses to help build the World’s Most Experienced Driver™. 
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