Self-driving cars are all over the roads in Metro Phoenix. If you have a commute in Chandler, Tempe or Ahwatukee, there is a good chance you’ve see one or two every morning on your way to work.
“People who see our self-driving cars on the road often have a lot of questions,” wrote CEO John Krafcik in a blog post on October 9. “There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to self-driving cars. As with any new technology, there’s great enthusiasm and curiosity about self-driving cars – and there’s some confusion, too.”
On Tuesday, Waymo announced it is joining forces with a diverse group of organizations – Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, the Foundation for Blind Children (FBC), the East Valley Partnership, and the Foundation for Senior Living– to launch the world’s first public education campaign for fully self-driving cars. The “Let’s Talk Self Driving” campaign will focus on engaging the public to increase education and understanding about how this new technology can help address some of the biggest safety challenges on our roads today.
“Education begins with awareness, so we’re beginning this campaign with a series of digital and outdoor advertising campaigns in Arizona,” Krafcik wrote. “Our hope is to grow this conversation into a national dialogue and provide opportunities for people to get up close with this technology. When 94 percent of road crashes today involve human error, self-driving cars promise a future where anyone can ride with a driver that never gets drunk, tired or distracted.”
Since Waymo began its early rider program in April, local residents have been using self-driving vehicles, with a test driver on board, to commute to work, go grocery shopping, and take their kids to soccer practice.
Marc Ashton, CEO of Foundation for Blind Children, said self-driving technology could open the doors to employment opportunities.
“The national unemployment rate for visually impaired adults is 70 percent,” he said. “The unemployment rate for FBC graduates is 5 percent. Adding a reliable means of transportation to the independent living skills we’re already teaching will be a game changer for so many of our clients.”
The success of this technology depends on the education of the community – an opportunity East Valley Partnership CEO John Lewis is excited to pursue.
“The East Valley Partnership is proud that our region’s innovative business climate supports the future of autonomous transportation to reduce congestion on the road, ensure driver safety and get people where they need to go,” he said. “We are pleased to be partnering with Waymo on the ‘Let’s Talk Self Driving’ awareness campaign as we look to educate the region on transportation of the future.”