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September 17, 2019

Why I Ride with Waymo: Nicole

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Editor’s Note: In this “Why I Ride with Waymo” post, Nicole shares how driving with Waymo has made her more aware of how humans make some really unsafe decisions as drivers.

Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Nicole, and I’m a coach, mental health counselor, and college faculty member. I live in Chandler, Arizona with my husband and our three kids.

What was your first ride like and how has your opinion on self-driving technology evolved from that first ride to now?

First of all, I was beyond thrilled to become a Waymo rider. For our first ride, my children and I went to the Tempe IKEA. I was immediately intrigued by watching the steering wheel turn by itself. It reminded me of the Pianola. Overall, the ride was fun, and my kids loved it too!

While I was really excited for my first ride, I was a little nervous that some situations would be too complicated for the car to solve. I have since learned that the Waymo vehicle is extremely intelligent, computing data beyond my own sight line, and extremely cautious in situations where I may have been riskier. Driving with Waymo has made me more aware of how we as humans make some really unsafe decisions as drivers.

When did it start to feel like a normal part of your daily life?

Taking a Waymo felt more normal when I started using it regularly for grocery shopping. Given how often I have to go to feed my tall boys, it is so great to have Waymo there to simplify the experience. Its door-to-door service is like calling a limo after a long day!

What’s one of your favorite things about the service? Why?

The biggest surprise was the graphic-renderings of objects on the passenger screen. For instance, if a person is walking by the car, you can see the rendering of the object in real-time, visualizing what the car sees and how it anticipates the behavior of people and things.

Do you give feedback after your rides?

Yes, I do. As one of the first riders, our feedback is crucial to the company and future riders. I take pride in providing feedback on elements of the ride that could improve the experience for myself and others, and I’ve seen the Driver’s intelligence grow greatly as a result.

If you could give anyone in history a ride in a Waymo, who would it be and why?

I would want to give a ride to my late grandfather. He was an engineer that never missed a day of work in over 40 years of employment with his company. He loved technology and music, which is probably why he worked on radios in his basement. I think he would have loved to experience something so innovative and exciting.