Black Friday: Get 6 months on us. (That's $200 off.)

A Waymo self-driving test vehicle in the Phoenix area. Photo: Waymo.
Exclusive
Autonomous Vehicles Google Uber/Lyft

With Waymo Robotaxis, Customer Satisfaction Is Far From Guaranteed

Photo: A Waymo self-driving test vehicle in the Phoenix area. Photo: Waymo.

“Car tried to turn left into oncoming traffic, driver had to avoid collision,” wrote a customer of Waymo, the unit of Alphabet, in early March after taking a ride in one of the company’s experimental self-driving taxis in suburban Phoenix. The customer was referring to the human backup driver who sits behind the wheel and is supposed to take over if a potential safety problem arises.

According to internal Waymo data reviewed by The Information, there were several technical problems on that ride that caused the driver to take over twice: The Waymo minivan robotaxi got “way too close” to another car, moved “super slow” at one point, made an “unnecessary” lane change and, lastly, experienced the apparent near-collision. Despite the close call, the customer gave the ride four stars out of five.

The majority of the several hundred Phoenix area residents who ride in Waymo’s robotaxis, which are considered to be the most advanced of their kind, have nice things to say when their rides end. But close to 40% of the time in data reviewed by The Information, passengers registered a complaint through the company’s mobile app.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing Enterprise Startups
Meta’s M&A Ambitions Curtailed; Will Bret Taylor Be a Chip Off the Old Block?
Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff. Photo by Bloomberg.
Anyone working on mergers and acquisitions at Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, might want to look for a new job. The British antitrust regulator’s decision to force Meta to divest Giphy, the tiny GIF search engine it acquired last year for $315 million, demonstrates that even small acquisitions are off limits to the tech giant. And while this was a decision in Britain, the Federal Trade...
Latest Briefs
 
China Will Ban Companies From Listing on Foreign Exchanges Using VIEs
SoftBank Invests $150 Million in South Korean Metaverse App
Allbirds’ Revenue Rose 33% in Q3
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Gift Hunting E-commerce
The Information’s Top Tech-Adjacent Gifts for 2021
This year, there is no shortage of material—and immaterial—ways to show people you care.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive Media/Telecom Markets
BuzzFeed’s Commerce Slowdown Undercuts Its Investor Pitch Ahead of Stock Listing
When BuzzFeed unveiled its planned deal to go public last June, its pitch to investors centered around the high growth potential of its commerce business.
Illustration by Jesus Escudero.
Market Research Media/Telecom Startups
Livestream Shopping Is a Messy, Maddening Experience (for Now)
Holiday gift buying is hell. It always has been, and likely always will be, an anxiety-fueled decision tree that no machine-learning algorithm can solve.
Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov. Sequoia Capital is investing in the crypto custodian, one of a trio of recent crypto deals by the VC firm.  Photo: Saffello.
Exclusive
Sequoia Capital’s Crypto Frenzy Intensifies With Three New Deals
Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and crypto trading firm FTX are co-leading an investment of more than $100 million in LayerZero Labs, a 10-month-old crypto firm that has yet to launch its product publicly, at a $1 billion valuation, according to two people familiar with the deal.
Art by Haejin Park. Photo by iStock.com/Renphoto. Stickers by Giphy.
Parentverse
Should You Start Concealing Your Children’s Faces on Social Media?
Welcome to the first installment of Parentverse, TI Weekend ’s new advice column for tech-savvy parents raising kids in a tech-dependent world.
Poshmark's signage at the Nasdaq when the company when public. Photo by Bloomberg.
E-commerce
Poshmark’s Slowdown Casts Doubt on Social Shopping’s Potential
This should be Poshmark’s moment. The online merchant is at the center of a burgeoning social shopping explosion, as a growing number of startups and social media firms promote creators as sellers of either new or used goods.