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June 17, 2019

Stepping up to the plate for safety

  • Life at Waymo
A photo of Matt Schwall and his son in San Francisco Giants hats on at the ball game
A photo of Matt Schwall and his son in San Francisco Giants hats on at the ball game

Growing up outside of Boston, family trips to watch the Red Sox play meant getting to ride the T, Boston's transit system, and getting to spend the day at historic Fenway Park. My favorite memories aren’t of what happened on the field or if the Sox won or lost; they’re the experience of being at the ball game. Yesterday, I got to share a similar experience with my son when Waymo, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), and the San Francisco Giants teamed up to host 50 fathers and their children at a game for Father's Day. This event celebrated the contribution that father figures make in their children's lives.

This was the first annual SFPD and Giants Father’s Day event, but it was not the first time Waymo teamed up with SFPD. We regularly work with first responders, including police and firefighters, to make sure everyone in the community feels safe as we move, work, and play.

At Waymo, we prioritize keeping first responders informed and included in discussions on how to interact with our new and evolving technology. We appreciate the challenges first responders already face when navigating crowded roadways, directing traffic, or responding to motor vehicle collisions. Our goal in working with them is to ensure they won’t have anything extra to worry about when they respond to a Waymo vehicle, allowing them to focus on the safety of all road users.

Since there was no safety playbook when Waymo began building self-driving technology, we developed a first-of-its-kind Safety Report and Emergency Response Guide. In just the last year, we have met with dozens of first responder teams in Arizona and California to discuss emergency response protocols and give first responders hands-on experience with our vehicles. These trainings allow emergency response professionals to feel more confident working around our vehicles. These partners have also provided us with constructive feedback resulting in improvements to our vehicles and training materials.

We look forward to continuing these partnerships in all the cities we test and operate in because safety is something we can all root for.