Back to all posts

October 12, 2017

Waymo’s Safety Report: How we’re building a safer driver

  • , technology

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to offer incredible safety benefits. But we know those benefits will only become reality if self-driving vehicles are trusted by all: passengers, other drivers, and the public.

Earlier this week we helped launch the world’s first public education campaign on self-driving cars to help people better understand how this technology can solve some of the biggest safety challenges on our roads. Today, we’re building on these efforts by releasing our first-ever Safety Report. This report is a collection of many of the important lessons we’ve learned throughout the history of our self-driving program.

When we began building self-driving technology eight years ago, there was no safety playbook. That’s why we developed our own. We were inspired by safety principles from diverse industries, and we looked to the collective expertise of many Waymo team members who worked on everything from the Mars Rover to defense programs to automobiles to Google products and more. These engineers, safety experts, product managers and designers all came together to craft Waymo’s careful and multi-layered approach to safety.

Waymo’s Safety Report offers the first look at this approach, which we call Safety by Design. It includes the processes, techniques and technologies we use each day to make sure our vehicles and their passengers get to where they’re going, safe and sound.

As part of our early rider program, residents in Arizona have been using Waymo's self-driving vehicles for daily trips.
Safety by Design begins when our vehicles are just a twinkle in the eye of our engineers and designers, and continues through every mile our vehicles travel on public roads. It’s a robust testing and feedback loop that applies to every piece of hardware, every bit of software, and every step of development. It includes:
  • Extensive testing and validation including more than 3.5 million test miles driven in the real world, billions of miles in simulation, and robust testing at our private facility.
  • Redundant backups for all critical safety systems such as steering, braking, backup power and compute, and the ability to perform thousands of real-time checks each second to diagnose any issues and safely handle faults.
  • A deep understanding and adherence to our “operational design domain,” which includes geographic areas, driving conditions, and road types that our system can handle safely and confidently.
  • A passenger interface to help our riders interact with and understand what our vehicles are doing on the road. That includes a rider support system to answer passengers’ questions during the trip.
Waymo has accumulated more than 3.5 self-driving miles on public roads. Real world testing is key to building the world's most experienced driver.
Waymo has been sharing information about its technology and development from the early days, and our new Safety Report builds on that history. We hope our Safety Report serves as a resource for anyone who wants to understand Waymo’s technology and commitment to safety, and that it contributes to a larger conversation about making our roads safer.

See the Waymo Safety Report »