Waymo’s driverless cars have driven way mo’ miles than rivals’
Waymo's self-driving cars have driven 10 million miles on public roads, the company announced on Wednesday. That puts the company way, way ahead of any of its rivals. Only one other company has announced more than a million miles of testing. And that was Uber, which announced 2 million miles last year but was forced to freeze its public testing after a deadly crash in March.
The milestone is one of many signs that Waymo has a sizable lead in the race to commercialize driverless car technology. Waymo says it is planning to launch a taxi service in the Phoenix area before the end of the year. One of Waymo's leading rivals, GM's Cruise, is aiming to launch a commercial taxi service next year. Most other companies working on driverless car technology aren't planning commercial launches until the early 2020s.
Rivals say testing miles are an overrated metric
If you talk to Waymo's rivals, most of them are quick to dismiss the significance of testing miles. They argue that quality is far more important than quantity when it comes to driverless car testing. It's easy to rack up a lot of miles driving the same routes over and over again, they say, but that may not actually prove very much about the quality of its technology. Uber's deadly car crash is a case in point: at the time of the crash, Uber was second only to Waymo in testing miles, but its technology was deeply flawed.