- Peter Prato / Business Insider
- Waymo‘s chief external officer said the startup hopes its autonomous rides are “amazingly boring.”
- Tekedra Mawakana made the comments at Business Insider’s transportation-focused IGNITION event in San Francisco on Tuesday.
- “People don’t trust what they’re not familiar with,” she said. “That makes sense. We see people take their first ride and they go from a skeptic, naturally, to a fan because the ride, in some ways, is not very exciting.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Self-driving cars are exciting, but a top Waymo executive doesn’t want riding in them to be that way.
“We want the ride to be amazingly boring,” Tekedra Mawakana, the Google-owned autonomous-driving startup’s chief external officer said at Business Insider’s IGNITION: Transportation conference on Tuesday in San Francisco.
“People don’t trust what they’re not familiar with,” she said. “That makes sense. We see people take their first ride and they go from a skeptic, naturally, to a fan because the ride, in some ways, is not very exciting – and we don’t want the ride to be exciting.”
Waymo, now a decade old, first began shuttling passengers in the Phoenix, Arizona area in 2017, and launched commercial ride-hailing service in its autonomous shuttles in 2018 under the name Waymo One. That has since expanded to include a partnership with Lyft, and the company received permission from California regulators to carry passengers in 2019.
But there’s still plenty of work to be done, and Waymo is welcoming competition with open arms in order to get the industry to fruition.
“This transportation revolution is not going to be seeded by one company or stakeholder in the ecosystem,” Mawakana said. “We have to be humble enough to know we don’t have all the answers.”
Those answers, of course, can have a massive impact on the tens of thousands of traffic fatalities that occur every year.
“This is probably the greatest technological challenge of our generation,” Mawakana concluded. “Which makes it exciting and daunting in many ways.”
Watch Mawakana’s full interview from IGNITION: Transportation in the video below.