Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Subscribe today for $299 ($100 discount) AND get guaranteed entry to our SF Subscriber Summit on 10/17. 
Autonomous Vehicles Google

Waymo’s Backseat Drivers: Confidential Data Reveals Self-Driving Taxi Hurdles

One passenger in a Waymo self-driving car complained that the awkward end to his ride felt like he was getting dropped off by his dad. Others said their Waymo rides made them late to work. Another praised his car for coping admirably with “idiot drivers” of the human variety during his ride.

The rider feedback is part of a trove of internal data viewed by The Information for more than 10,500 trips in vehicles operated by Waymo, the self-driving car division of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. For more than two years, Waymo has been ferrying passengers in the self-driving vehicles on public streets as it refines the technology in the hopes of a wider rollout. The passenger ratings and feedback come from rides that occurred in July and part of August—mostly in the Phoenix area—and show improvement compared to Waymo’s performance during 2,500 rides in the first quarter of the year, based on an earlier analysis

For the Phoenix area, negative passenger feedback about everything from comfort level in vehicles to the frequency of unsafe or annoying incidents dropped by 10 percentage points compared to the earlier period, according to the data. Riders gave a perfect rating to 70% of the trips they took during the period, even though the vehicles experienced a glitch or two in a small percentage of those trips. (See separate story for a detailed breakdown on the recent Waymo customer complaints.)

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Get access to our reporters and other top executives with monthly deep-dive calls into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

What else is included in my subscription?

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Annual Subscriber only benefits:

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Crypto Newsletter

Our experts investigate the latest in the crypto world to keep you in-the-know about the movements of digital currencies.

No subscription? You're missing out.

Join the high-powered community of tech and business leaders who rely on The Information's original news and in-depth reporting.