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Waymo teams up with Jaguar to intro a new, premium self-driving car (techcrunch.com)
353 points by kaboro on Mar 27, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 210 comments



For those who are interested in specs of the I-PACE, I had to do a bit of seperate searching [1] for those. Hopefully the specs are somewhat similar. 300mi range isn't too shabby and it looks decent.

"As standard the car comes with a 90kWH battery pack which produces a total system output of 400PS and 696 NM.

It is powered by two electric motors which produce 200PS and 348Nm each and are mounted to both the front and rear axles, enabling four-wheel drive.

Due to the instant torque of an electric powertrain the car will be able to sprint from 0-60mph in just 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 124 mph.

The car will be able to travel up to 298 miles of range on a single charge."

[1] https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/937715/Jaguar-Waym...

(edit: link)


I'm actually curious to see what the difference in mileage is between human drivers and AI drivers. I'm assuming they can optimize breaking and acceleration to be more power efficient. I remember hearing that in terms of wear & tear, Waymo cars actually get far less of it compared to human drivers.


I'd say the cars will be able to hyper-mile, utilizing regenerative braking as much as possible and actual brake pads as little as possible.

Will they avoid potholes? In New England, we have MANY bad potholes, I wonder what they will do about that. Will they avoid manhole covers, objects on the road? I personally can't wait to see when/how it all plays out.


What I find odd is how does a car with 400PS and almost 700NM of torque max out at 124mph? In comparison a Jaguar F-Pace 3.0, which has 375PS and 430NM torque will max out at (limited) top speed of 155MPH.

The iPace weights just 300KG more than the F-Pace, so it’s not down to extra weight alone.


Gearing. 99.9% of driving happens below 100kph, so you optimize for that. You start reaching the mechanical and electrical limits if you spin up the motors that fast. You could certainly get a lot faster, but you'd lose out on low-end torque. Either that or you put a gearbox in, but that adds complexity + weight.


Does a P100D have a gearbox? I thought it was single speed. It also has a mountain of torque and power.


I believe it's a single gear. There are differentials for the axles, but no mention of gearing for the motor itself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Model_S#Powertrain


I expect freeway driving to represent more than 0.1% of all driving.


124 mph is 200 kph, corresponding to 'U' speed-rated tires. So its probably about less-expensive long-life tires, rather than a fundamental power limit.


There could be a number of things limiting the speed of an electric motor aside from limited torque/mass. The motors could be speed limited because of high material failure rates above a certain threshold or because the circuits can't be driven that fast for whatever reason.


Were you able to determine if the car is capable of being manually driven as well? Or is it self-driving only?

I chuckled a bit trying to imagine a situation where the SDC logic would conclude that it was necessary to floor the accelerator up to 124MPH.


Yes. One thing that will happen is that people will not care anymore about how fast it accelerates but more about how smooth it goes. You don't want to spill that wine glass on you.


It's a regular ('manually driven') consumer vehicle being produced by Jaguar Land Rover - it has been adapted by Waymo for self driving.

https://www.jaguar.co.uk/jaguar-range/i-pace/index.html


The photos seem to show quite clearly a steering wheel and wing mirrors...

I'd guess these cars are being designed to have the self driving system as an addon that can be removed/redesigned in the future as the tech evolves.


The I-PACE is being by Jaguar sold to consumers (at 64k quid a pop, not cheap) so the answer must be yes, manually driven. It's in the article.


> not cheap

Well, if every Tom, Dick and Rajiv thinks it's being driven by a computer and they can cut it off ...


A new meaning to "manual or automatic"!


Note the 300 mile range will be NEDC given the British source, which probably makes it somewhat optimistic.


Here's Waymo's official blog post on the subject: https://medium.com/waymo/meet-our-newest-self-driving-vehicl...


> We’ll add up to 20,000 I-PACEs to Waymo’s fleet in the next few years — that’s enough to drive about a million trips in a typical day.

This sentence feels marketing more than informing. Whats the initial release volume? Where etc. Up to 20k cars doesn't mean much and they think it will average 50 trips per car per day - seems hopeful.

A little disappointed in this announcement.


I wouldn't be surprised if "up to 20,000" just means Jaguar said they can't build more than that because it would interrupt their ability to meet their regular orders and/or it would require too much investment / hiring to expand their factories.

Although, if 10,000 were definitely enough, they might not have made an agreement for 20,000, so maybe it does sort of tell you something.


The same reason that Uber's deal with Volve is for up-to 20k vehicles. It's a combo of marketing and dealing that if things go well, the tech companies may order a lot of vehicles.


Probably should have waited a little longer - I know they're trying to catch the glow around Waymo's supposed safety in light of the Uber incident, but probably should hold off - the general public isn't on top of this like HN is.

I mean - I think all this talk of going live in 2018 should be stopped by officials until they create a TEST for SDVs. Also, it wouldn't be a bad thing for SDVs to run an internal offline unit test given a fake lidar scenario and make sure it doesn't kill people (every time before the car leaves the parking spot).


The problem is that as soon as you define a test then these companies will put an emphasis on making sure their cars work for the test instead of the real world. Then, when something happens in the real world they say well it passed the driving test.

It's one of the perpetual problems of regulation. As soon as you define a test or requirement companies will start gaming the system to meet them instead of addressing the purpose behind the regulation.


It still makes sense to have a test. We put every citizen through a driving test. Those are gamed too, but at least they learned a lot of basics... and they are probably better drivers than people not required to take a test. After that, market forces will hopefully go the rest of the mile.

I mean heck, this latest incident wouldn't have passed the original Darpa challenge that got us here.


Pretty sure that driving tests for humans do absolutely nothing - if you eliminated the whole process (and replaced it with a simple age requirement) it wouldn't show up in safety stats at all

On the other hand, any self driving company is running an extremely complicated and extensive test suite on their code. Developing these tests is a core engineering challenge to making a sdv and any test developed by a regulator will be a joke by comparison (unless we give the regulator billions of dollars to essentially replicate the work.)


I agree that the USA driving test system is insanely weak, but they definitely do something. I failed my driving test twice before passing it when I was a college kid in Arkansas. One thing I noticed is the examiners seemed to intentionally try to yell and stress me out. In retrospect, that was a smart way to ensure only someone who has become comfortable enough with driving that they have extra processing power left to handle dealing with passengers is able to become an unsupervised driver. It's a low bar, but it's still higher than "that's the brake pedal to stop, that's the gas pedal to go, have fun"


While I understand that could apply to north america, I doubt it would apply to Germany. You only get a license here if you need a car in the near future, as it is no longer a 3-digit cost.


You can have some required tests but those tests will be a part of the approval process, not all that pass the test get the approval but anyone that fails the test goes hope in shame.

The test could have basic things like a car stopped in the middle of the road, a fake person that is fallen on the ground, a tree on the road, a big stone on the road, a big hole in the road and other similar tests.

You can change the obstacle types and sizes so tests differ. The company will not be allowed to use a different software fort this tests so at least you can test that the sensors are good enough and that the software can handle basic things.

This tests would be like the medical tests a driver must pass before starting the driving school, we can trust Uber like companies to perform this tests inside before putting the cars on the road for public road testing.

If the tests are too basic I am sure clever people can find even better tests to stress the sensors and software before allowing the dangerous tests on public roads.


It could be a moving target.

Maybe you could start with a generic test, for instance: x miles in random location with random conditions.

After that you could add tests when a problem appear. For instance, you could add the conditions where that woman was killed the other day. When another accident happens you would add a test appropriated to that conditions.

Regression testing for driving.


There have been auto crash safety tests in the auto industry for several decades now. I imagine it would simply be an extension of that testing. Yes -- the companies will put emphasis on making their cars work for the test, but just like crash testing some companies will most likely distinguish themselves by designing above and beyond the standard test.

The point is to have a documented standard to compare automated systems by.


I think we're all better off due to automobile crash testing, who's to say that optimizing for tests does not also benefit real-world scenarios?


It seems pretty unlikely that the timing of this has anything to do with the Uber crash. Why do you think it is obvious that it is related?


>It seems pretty unlikely that the timing of this has anything to do with the Uber crash.

He/She is not saying that.

They're saying that the bad PR around Ubers accident means they should have moved this event to a later date.


I know they're trying to catch the glow around Waymo's supposed safety in light of the Uber incident

???


At the very least states should have a threshhold of X number of miles driven without an accident, x number of miles without a fatality, out of tens to hundreds of millions of miles of testing.

Move fast and break things works fine when the at risk subject is someone's vacation photos from 2015 rather than a kid in a crosswalk.


America has a lot of long wide open stretches of road; the point is that things can still be gamed


Or, you know, democracy and Western society as a whole, but hey, cat photos!


On the other hand, I don't think the general public is targetted by this.


These cars can't come soon enough for some people - the disabled, the old etc. Even if they are slow and have cheap plastics, for some categories of people they are life-changing.


We should have a program to report dangerous driving by AVs, as there is a system to report dangerous driving by NYC cabs: http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/passenger/sub_consumer_comp... http://reported.cab


20,000 robtotaxis, a million trips a day, my oh my. Go big or go home. Uber and Lyft do an estimated 170,000 trips a day in San Francisco, so if Waymo dumps just 1/5th of their fleet on SF, the rideshare companies may as well pack their bags and go home.


I'll be very interested to see how this rolls out. Right now Waymo is extremely cagey about exactly what you can do with their existing vehicles. All the riders are under NDA. So I haven't found answers to pretty basic questions, like: Can you go anywhere in the test area? Can you go at any time of day? Can you go in any weather conditions? Can it go to places with no data service?

That isn't to say the service won't be useful for many even if the answer to most of those questions is "no". But urban environments are challenging even for human drivers [1], so I wouldn't be shocked if it's another decade or more before we have true, go-anywhere-at-any-time robotaxis in SF.

[1] http://www.sfexaminer.com/uber-vehicle-takes-wrong-turn-gets...


We know that it's geofenced, and I'm guessing anything within that is fair play. I don't see why time of day would be an issue, the 1 million trips probably come from the fact that they work all around the clock. Right now it's only available in Arizona, and weather is never an issue there. I also don't see why the geofenced area would contain regions with no data service.

In the New York Times interview a few weeks back, the CEO brought up the specific issue of store parking lots and loading groceries while the car waits, so it seems like they've thought of most corner cases.


Waymo fully mapped the entire area, so they know where it's safe to drive.


I don’t disagree with your premise, but the word safe doesn’t apply to even mapped roads.

“Safe” changes on a daily, even hourly, basis. An unrelated accident changes the Safety of a particular route. A rainstorm can surface oils from the road, making it unreasonably slick for a short period of time. A crew working on the sewers can change the routing of a road onto the shoulders, which will have different grip characteristics than the road itself.

Even Arizona can see snow.


> Even Arizona can see snow.

I’d sure hope so considering there’s ski resorts there (Flagstaff). Summer time highs in Flagstaff peak out in the 80s usually too.


But you often have to go outside of the public roads in the real world. Dirt roads, private parkways, underground car parks, private tunnel going into the lobby of a hotel, etc. Would be curious if it can handle that.


There's likely plenty of people who wouldn't mind a discount just to get off as close as possible on the mapped road assuming it's a few 100ft away at most.


Sure! And that's a legitimate service to offer to some people. But that's part of the giant gap between true autonomous taxis and what Waymo has even claimed they're doing.

I think the difference is important because people here frequently assume that true autonomous taxis will be here in short order. In contrast to experts who believe it is likely to be a decade or two away. E.g.: http://rodneybrooks.com/my-dated-predictions/


You are conflating two concepts. One is the ability to complete 100% of any ride and react to a kid running into the street, etc. The second is to satisfy 100% of current taxi service like rural areas or dirt roads.

100% safety on 90% of possible trips is a damn good business, let the taxis take the other 10%. That is “autonomous taxis are here.” 90% safety on 100% if possible trips is how you kill people.


Hahaha, also, 100% safety on 90% of trips sounds like the kinda thing Google would do, and 90% safety sounds like the kinda thing Uber would do.


Maybe someone is conflating those things; I'm not.

I agree that doing 90% of possible trips could be a good business. But it's not the same thing as true autonomous taxis. And we don't have any idea what the actual percentage of achievable trips is. 20% would still be a good business if you pick the right 20%, but it's no threat to Lyft.


20% of their market gone in a puff of smoke is no threat to Lyft?


It wouldn't be a puff; it would happen over a significant period, during which their other business would still presumably be growing. And it would give Lyft substantial time to adapt competitively. So no, I don't believe it's a threat.


This is a great point. Not even humans do 100% of possible trips if they aren’t confident drivers, especially in bad conditions.


Might as well take a bigger discount and use BART.


This does bring up an interesting question though -- does self driving doom mass transit? The answer is no -- the real ultimate benefit of mass transit that taxis can never replicate is _thoroughput_ in a dense area. Articulated buses or light or heavy rail are the only way you could ever service an area like Manhattan, because even with high occupancy, using just sedans would require the building of like, literally 50 more highways. A single lane of train/bus can do the work of dozens of car lanes and nothing can change that physical law.

Self driving buses will reduce the price slightly though. And importantly, people today often drive because of the "last mile" problem. Driverless taxi on the other hand, may make it much easier to connect to mass transit seamlessly. You could even connect more than once. I could get from suburban Queens to the suburbs of Philadelphia by taking a taxi to the train station, a train that is faster than cars due to traffic, then another taxi on the other end, seamlessly. Actually I can do that today, it will just be cheaper, that's all. So more people will do it.


> the real ultimate benefit of mass transit that taxis can never replicate is _thoroughput_ in a dense area

But what if in the far future people stop owning cars and so everyone is hailing a self driving car? Perhaps then there would be enough people that you would almost always carpool? Would buses still be necessary then? I'm sure they'd still make sense in some cases but I can also see some bus stops being replaced


Yes, they still would in places like Manhattan and Tokyo, but you're right that they wouldn't be necessary in many other high but still not super high density places.

Even assuming 4 people to a sedan, the space needed for the engine and the safe following distance makes the density very low compared to a bus/train that is long and can have people standing packed in.

4 people to a sedan only gives you a factor of 4 improvement, which is just not enough for places like Manhattan or Tokyo. They would still need to build a dozen down from like 50.


You can't live anywhere near a BART station, let alone a few hundred feet, without losing any sort of discount with mass transit... Not to mention the vast majority of the metropolitan Bay Area is miles away from BART.


There's a big difference between 100ft to the nearest road vs 5 miles to the BART station. Last mile transportation is important, even if constrained to fully mapped roads.


I can believe they have claimed that, but as we see in the link I posted, having an area fully mapped does not equal 100% knowledge of where it's safe to drive.


> All the riders are under NDA. So I haven't found answers to pretty basic questions, like: Can you go anywhere in the test area? Can you go at any time of day? Can you go in any weather conditions? Can it go to places with no data service?

… If it came to it, would it kill the rider or a pedestrian? What if the pedestrian is a baby in a pram? Or a dog? Can I change these settings if I care about dogs more than Alphabet's programmers? …


If prices decrease for AI drivers too, I could totally see myself selling my car entirely too. Granted, I live in a smaller city in Washington, ie not Seattle/etc, so it'll be a while for me I'm sure.

I'd be curious to see if a lot of people did a similar thing (giving up their cars). Price is the kicker here though. When I own a car, I can pretty much drive as frequently or infrequently as I want. Where as with Taxi's/etc, the cost would quickly rack up. So these AIs are going to have to be cheap by comparison.

Man, the future of this tech is so exciting for me.


>Price is the kicker here though. When I own a car, I can pretty much drive as frequently or infrequently as I want.

if you've ever actually sat down and priced out how much each usage of your car costs you, it's not that good of a deal. Personal vehicles seem cheap because people treat them as a non-optional fixed cost, but between the cost of the vehicle itself, insurance, fuel, maintenance, and your time spent driving you can price a car service fairly high and still have it compare favourably to owning a car.

The trick will just be to convince people to start thinking about a car service the same way they currently think about their car payments or fuel costs. I'd be curious to see what a per-month subscription service would look like instead of a per-ride fee structure like taxis or ubers currently use. $300-400/mo for unlimited rides would be, for me, a better deal than owning a car. I'm curious if that could be profitable.


I have priced it out, as I don't like driving, and it was cost me insanely more to taxi/etc. I didn't even get done pricing, tbh heh.

It's roughly a $50-$70 ride for me every morning to work. That already puts me over triple my car payment. The other random trips to the store/etc would be far cheaper, thankfully, but depending on usage I can't imagine it being less than my gas costs in a month (roughly $50/m). There's still repairs/insurance/licensing/etc, but I doubt they're costing me the $700 extra that just driving to work would be costing me via taxi.

The problem is I don't live in the city, so my distances are greater, and tend to be very anti-taxi.

I actually want to take an uber to town on the weekends so I can drink/etc at dinner, but I usually don't because of how expensive it is.

Mind you, I don't think it's unfairly priced currently - but that still doesn't make it as cheap as I'd need it to be to use all the time.


Agree completely with you.

That being said, owning a car is still a must if you have anything close to an outdoor lifestyle. For example:

Leaving the car at the trailhead several hundred miles from home for the whole weekend.

With Uber and Lyft, I already see my friends living an Urban lifestyle completely dumping their car. When this will become automated, another portion will likely dump their car.

But for now at least, I cannot see the outdoor crowd, or the ones living in a real rural area (think opposite of the SF hipster) dumping their car.


I actually think rentable self-driving cars would be useful for the trailhead problem. For non-spur trails especially, organising a shuttle service is a bit of a pain and relatively expensive.


That is a huge misconception. You can get to rural beauty with mass transit and/or a bicycle in metro NYC actually. My friends regularly organize a bike ride where we take the metro north to rural Putnam County then bike back the 30 some miles. You can go miles without seeing anyone but a tree and a snake...

You can take the Long Island Railroad to Montauk.

New Jersey Transit will take you to the shore.

There's a bus that will take you to Hunter Mountain to go skiing in the Catskills.

Look up maps of the above 3 train systems. In many cases you can take a train, then bike the last couple miles, and end up in a very very isolated place.

I can also go to places that feel isolated and rural like the Jamaica Bay, the Pelham Bay Park area, or Inwood Hill Park, but are technically not because they're so adjacent to developed areas. But they do feel locally rural if you avoid a view that lets you see the city, because there is a jump discontinuity in density.

Also, you can do traditional car trips and just rent a car for the weekend. City people do this crap all the time. You really think we don't get outdoors, huh?

Demand more from your transit systems!


There are at least one or two counterexamples - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimmelwald

Personally, I live in the city and like getting out but I just use Gocar (pay by hour car rental)


> owning a car is still a must if you have anything close to an outdoor lifestyle

Nothing honors the beauty of nature like polluting it.


Wow, how far do you drive to work? Maybe a cheap one-seater electric car would work for you?


One of the problems with cheap one-seater cars is that they are better suited for short distances than long highway commutes. Being in a tiny car next to a semi truck at highway speeds can get dicey.


With AI driven cabs, it's definitely going to be cheaper. Think about it, it's almost like co-owning a single car with a pool of users, isnt it? Unless the taxi company(Waymo or Uber) keeps a lot of profit with themselves, it should actually turn out cheaper to use an AI driven cab, especially during non-peak hours. But peak time pricing would be higher as a limited amount of cabs can't serve everyone during peak hours. And you won't get the freedom you have with your own vehicle.


> Unless the taxi company(Waymo or Uber) keeps a lot of profit with themselves, it should actually turn out cheaper to use an AI driven cab, especially during non-peak hours.

Yup, that's my concern. Hypothetically a lot of things should be cheaper, but without market pressure, there's no reason for it to be cheaper.

Eg, if we pretend that an AI company releases an amazing self driving car everywhere tomorrow. Years ahead of their competition. That means the only market force they have is to price it under taxis. Perhaps they could price it at as low as possible to get more people using it, but without the market pressure it seems less likely. ... then again, I'm clearly talking out of my element here, not an educated response haha.


Since you live out of the city I guess an ideal/cheap solution would involve some sort of matching so that you can share a ride with other people going the same way.


This sort of thing, funny enough, was actually the origin story of one of the major ridesharing services.

(Lyft was originally just a little side project of Zimride, which was meant to link people who were already going on a trip between the same points)


I’ve priced it out. It didn’t make sense for me to buy a car while I was living in Beijing, taxis were too convenient and affordable. As soon as I moved to LA, it was more expensive but I had a walkable commute, having a baby changed all the dynamics however so I bought my first car in 12 years. The car seat problem is real.


This is what probably keeps me out of the market for a car rental service too. I realize I'm probably in the minority, but trying to fit three car seats and several adults into an Uber is near impossible. Not to mention of it's a one way trip, what do you do? Carry the seats with you, arrange to get them back on a later date?

Personally, I'd much rather buy a car with this technology, than rent it.


This is a big enough market I'd be surprised if there isn't just a checkbox on the app "Do you want the taxi that responds to be one equipped with (0 / 1 / 2) child car seats?"


They did eventually add an option, but it's still very limited (single car seat only, not as many drivers have them, and no newborns).


If Waymo's safety record holds, we can hope for a world with sufficiently-few crashes that car seats become unnecessary.


Good luck getting states to change their laws anytime soon. Ironically enough, car seats aren’t required on buses not because they aren’t needed, but they would cut off the poor with kids completely from transportation.


Also probably helps that public buses are really really safe statistically.


The driver is regulated at the state level. Safety standards for vehicles are regulated federally.


They’re already statistically unnecessary for toddlers on up: http://freakonomics.com/2005/07/09/more-evidence-on-car-seat...


AAA says average cost is $8.5k a year or $700 a month:

https://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/cost-to-own-a-vehicle/

If you have a cheap reliable car, paltry insurance, and don't drive much you might just get down to $300-400 a month, but I think you're also underestimating your cost.


My car is old but reliable. KBB says it's worth about $2,500 with 140k miles on it. It's made by Toyota and the total cost of repairs in the 60k miles I've owned it is has been less than $300 (alternator, battery, a belt, and some fluids), so I think it's reasonable to assume I'll get at least another 60k miles out of it with less than $1k in repairs.

If we assume the worst case scenario where the car is worthless after the next 60k miles and I have to spend $1k repairing it, that's a total cost of 5.8 cents a mile. At 10k miles/year, that comes out to $48/month. I don't pay interest on a loan for it, but even if I did it would only be another $8/month at 4% APR.

It gets 25 MPG, at 10k miles/year and $2.50/gallon, that's another $83/month.

My insurance is $30/month. $48 + $8 + $83 + $30 = $169/month, well below $300-400.

FWIW, I actually only drive about 6k miles a year, so my actual cost is only $29 + $8 (opportunity cost) + $50 + $30 = $117/month.


Assuming less than 1k in repairs/maintenance on a car with over 140k miles over the course of 60k miles on it is incredibly optimistic. Just oil changes + brake pads + tire replacements would eat a good chunk of that, let alone something actually going wrong.

I also had a car that was reliable, a 2002 CRV...well, it was reliable until we got past the 150k mark or so, then it started costing us big time to replace shit.


You have probably the cheapest insurance in the US. Realistically, that number is going to be double and that's for state minimum coverage for a low risk driver. At that point, you're self insuring quite a bit and you should add that in.

As others have noted, your repairs probably don't even cover basic maintenance like battery, oil changes, or fluids.

You don't have registration/sales tax in your value of the car.

Do you ever pay for parking or a car wash?

You should probably also add in any taxi or Uber/Lyft rides you already take to get a total transportation cost.


>You have probably the cheapest insurance in the US.

I don't think so, it's just a cheap car. It is well above state minimums (I think minimums are 25k/50k and it's 100k/300k). It includes comprehensive coverage but with a $2k deductible (mostly just useful for rental cars since $2k deductible is most of the value of the car). It has been as low as $20/month in the past.

>As others have noted, your repairs probably don't even cover basic maintenance like battery, oil changes, or fluids.

I specifically mentioned that they did.

>You don't have registration/sales tax in your value of the car.

Ah that's true, that adds about $20/month with emissions testing too.

>Do you ever pay for parking or a car wash?

Fair point, but that's less than $2/month on average.


>I don't think so, it's just a cheap car. It is well above state minimums (I think minimums are 25k/50k and it's 100k/300k). It includes comprehensive coverage but with a $2k deductible (mostly just useful for rental cars since $2k deductible is most of the value of the car). It has been as low as $20/month in the past.

That's crazy cheap. The cheapest I could find for state minimum in Georgia was $60 and that was answering the questions as a perfect driver.

>I specifically mentioned that they did.

But the numbers don't add up. There's no way you spent just $300 in 60,000 miles on maintenance. Oil changes alone would be $300ish. It should also be a brake job, new tires, and things like new wipers. On top of that you replaced an alternator, battery, and a belt change?


>That's crazy cheap. The cheapest I could find for state minimum in Georgia was $60 and that was answering the questions as a perfect driver.

Hm maybe it's just cheaper in Arizona for some reason then. Could definitely see a significant difference in state regulations causing that.

Oh shit I forgot about tires, you're right I was missing some things. Better numbers look like this I think:

Battery: $100

Belt: $20

Alternator: $170

Coolant: $20

Windshield washer fluid: $5

Air filter: $10

Tires: $500

1x Wiper blade: $20

4x oil replacements (I replaced when oil looked discolored, not at 7k miles): $100 ($25/each)

No brake job yet, but that's probably coming soon...

Total: $845

Lack of rain/snow/salt on roads probably reduces maintenance costs by a lot in regions like this, so national averages might be higher.

So after both adjustment my numbers are probably closer to $200/month, and I'll accept that's probably an outlier and $300/month is a reasonable estimate for a cheap car.


What if your car will completely break down? You need to add the cost of the car to your valuations for this to be viable.


The full value of the car ($2.5k) + $1k is included.


This is not the value of the car. This is the value of YOUR car. A car you know and the car you have driven. In case of buying a new car, you cannot be sure that the car will just die a month after buying.


It's only that high, if you're making car payments and/or driving hundreds of miles a week. The page also specifies this only applies to new cars, as of 2017.

As long as the car payments aren't high and the commutes not really long, it's pretty reasonable. If your commutes are that long, a service would be outrageous. E.g., a company paid for my Uber trip from SF to Los Altos back in 2012, and it cost $125.

I'm a statistical outlier fortunately. My car with excellent insurance costs me < $100/month.


Before people using the car for work or just for commuting to work make the switch to ai cars these need to provide some serious sla guarantees, because the cost in lost opportunity for a no show can be quite high.


$700/month ($175/week, $20-$35/day) is a lot less than Uber costs for a daily commuter + weekend activity.


I did, since I keep my cars for a long time (13 years and counting), and I drive a lot, cost of fuel is the largest share of my costs. The IRS allows ~$.55/mile (this changes regularly and I can't be bothered to look up the latest number), and I'm at 1/5th.

For my truck the numbers are different, but every time I check it turns out you can't actually use a truck for a lot of the things I use my truck for, so even though my per miles costs are something like $5/mile I don't really have a choice for those uses.


>and I drive a lot,

this is probably the differentiator. I bike to work about 20% of the time in the winter, 80% of the time in the summer, and don't use my car for too much else. So the cost of the car and insurance amortized out over mile driven ends up being pretty high for me.


You also probably have an active partner, probably don’t have kids or some sort of disability, don’t have to go see family out of town, etc., etc. A car gives you a lot more freedom than public transport and is definitely cheaper than taxis (or Uber) for the average person.


But why would self driving cars be significantly more expensive than regular cars? Most of the technologies they use are typically technologies which cost reduces dramatically when mass produced. Electric cars will be more expensive, but the price will likely converge in the long run. I am not entirely convinced car ownership will go away. The main argument in my mind is that most of the commute in a city happens at the same time. So if you want a car guaranteed, you kind of need to lock it in somehow.


I’ve seen reports of $7500 or more just for one Lidar sensor:

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/googles-waymo-reduces-lid...

Sure, costs will come down, but the people who have the data (e.g Waymo and GM) seem to be banking on the taxi market, rather than selling these cars.


And they will likely be the first customers, until volumes ramp up and prices go down. There are many places where taxis do not make sense or aren't optimal. Low density areas, daily commute at the peak hour in big cities (or in general any place where you have a one way flow), people using their car professionally, etc.


Using them as taxis makes the initial cost of the sensors less important, not more important, since it's a fixed cost and taxis are driven much more than regular cars (especially true for ones that don't depend on a human driver).


I wonder if Uber pricing will remain as good once they go public and need to show growth and profitability.


Or. Growth or profitability


Forgive me but... we call them "trains," they run on time, rarely crash and usually go where we want them to -- once the government(s) agrees to build them that is!

Seriously I do wonder, though, if the design of townships like yours will be directly affected by the rise of AV's. It would seem to make sense for Waymo and others to effectively lease depots (holding pens?) for when you and your fellow travelers need to hail a car. Are you/we effectively trading your individual garage space for a collective AV parking lot on the outskirts of town? And whether that development would compare favorably to investing in more intercity trains?


It will keep most of our (North America's) towns shitty.

I don't understand why everyone wants to live in these horrible suburbs with grass you have to mow and a pool that every single person needs to build. I seriously have never once understood suburbs. I get living on 5+ acres, you got stuff you can build and do (tree houses, chicken coups, etc) but what is the point of putting yourself somewhere with nowhere you can walk and nowhere you can build?

Also, can we talk about grass for a second? Why? Just why do we do it at all? Trees, shrubs, and flowers are so much nicer and easier, why do we need to make bright green rectangles with most of our lawns?


How can you simultaneously say "a pool that every single person needs to build" and "nowhere you can build"?

The appeal of the suburbs is pretty obvious. There's enough room for you to build a bigger house, some out structures like pools and sheds, and some grass for your kids/dog to play in. The downside of that is it isn't walkable. That downside might not make it worth it for you, but it's worth it for others.


Is it so obvious?

I think for a lot of people the appeal of the suburbs is mostly "I could get a mortgage and I can commute to my job". Living in walkable areas in cities is really expensive (maybe because lots of people want to do it but they've been illegal to build for most of the last century?)

I'm looking at homes and as housing prices have gone up 60% over the last 5 years where I am it's a question of "uggg do I just keep paying rent in the city centre forever or do I buy a place where I can afford one, which is mostly shittacular suburbs". I think a lot of other people are there by necessity, not choice, as well.

The GP makes a good point actually because in that background to this decision there's always "screw this, I'll just move way out in the middle of nowhere and get a bunch of cheap land and a giant house, and work remote" but having a spouse who can't work remote affects that. The suburbs are the worst of both worlds.


My kids, dog, and friends seem to enjoy hanging out on my grass more than they'd enjoy hanging out on some trees, shrubs, and flowers. "Come on over and hang out in the shrubbery while I bar-b-que..."

As a very much secondary benefit, I get some exercise and a minor outdoor hobby.


I get a little here or there and intermixed with a stone path or courtyard, but I’d rather bbq off of a balcony in a condo near a big park.


It's almost as if people have different opinions about what constitutes the good life.


Except for the fact that due to historical precedent, our society isn't built in a way that enables affordable urban life outside of areas that have been historically considered blighted. If we had more urban spaces, there would be more cities that are affordable to the middle class, whereas now, the places that are affordable to the middle class are largely suburbs.


>bbq off of a balcony

Your local fire marshal might have something to say about that.


It’s legal in Toronto for my business partner’s mid rise condo.


> I don't understand why everyone wants to live in these horrible suburbs...

Money. Lack of.

In lots of US metro areas, the suburbs are the only route for working and middle classes to own property and hopefully pay it off before or by retirement, and only have to worry about property taxes (capped for over-65 homeowners in some states) and maintenance thereafter.

Where in-town living is not more expensive than suburbs, city politics driving assessments plus millage rates and aging building maintenance of generally crappy US construction practices make for a much more volatile financial picture long-term for retired urban dwellers.

In a suburb, on their own lot, it feels like they have more control because they don't have to negotiate as part of a group or even participate within a group for basic maintenance, and property taxes are generally not as high per unit area. Even crappy construction practices in SFH's can be remedied for all but the most egregious cases. When a contractor screws up a boiler installation in a high-rise condo, it's a massive capital investment and logistical headache for all the residents when that boiler calls it quits early, especially if replacement requires some demo to get at and extract the boiler, DIY is not an option, and pipefitters are not cheap. A home hot water heater replacement isn't a financial picnic for working and middle class homeowners, but it is still within the DIY realm for those willing to put in the time to save precious capital.

The operating environment looking forward for the next few decades in the US is most of the population is scarce on capital but have time (for example, retired working and middle class), a substantial portion are scarce on capital and time (for example, households with children), and any solutions (like moving more people into urban areas) that involve capital they don't have are non-starters. Yes, we should be encouraging people to move into urban areas in the US, because the per capita energy expenditures are much lower, environmental impact per capita are lower, people are given greater opportunities to form and maintain communities, etc., but the way incentives are currently structured in the US prevent that from starting.

Just by participating on HN statistically makes it likely you and I are in a rarefied environment where we don't have our noses rubbed into that reality I described above every single day, but we're a tiny, tiny fraction of the US, not to mention humanity, and moving the needle to make a difference in the world requires that we figure out solutions that sit on the other side of that fraction.


What if you want two dogs, or a spare bedroom and kitchen for your in laws, or you have more than one kid? In an urban area this would be prohibitively expensive for most. Even for a small home the suburbs are often cheaper than living in the city, and for a larger home they are much cheaper, while still being close enough to have access to many of the benefits of urban living.


There's no mandate to having a pool or a lawn in a suburban house, nor is there any ban on tree houses and chicken coops in suburban plots.


Neighborhood association covenants actually do regulate a lot of those things especially chickens and other livestock. It seems that more are relenting to allowing people to keep a few chickens, but certainly goats, pigs and other farm animals are out of the question. Pools, lawns and landscaping are often subject to rules as well.


I've heard of these HOAs, but I've lived in the 'burbs most of my 50+ years and I've never had one. Clearly some people like HOAs or they wouldn't exist.


> Price is the kicker here though.

Kids are a major kicker, for much of the population, until cars are not only self-driving, but can also on-demand automatically reconfigure with a variety of different configurations of child restraint systems, so that you can on-demand get a vehicle configured for your number, age, and size of children.


Before we cared about how many children were killed by cars, kids piling onto bench seats was standard. Car seats are only required because car crashes are common.

If the safety promise of self-driving is delivered, car seats will become unnecessary.


> If the safety promise of self-driving is delivered, car seats will become unnecessary.

If the total rate of accidents with self driving cars is so low that adults don't need seat belts and airbags, that might be true.

I don't think anyone projects that to be the near-term result of self-driving cars being mixed with human-driven cars on the road.


Or at least consolidate to fewer form factors that are more predictable to install or provide in the boot for those requiring them.


That's a good argument to make... eventually, perhaps when our kids have kids.


That sounds complicated and expensive, I think there will instead be a number of preferred cars in service, some for 1 baby, some for 1 small kid, some for 1 baby and 1 small kid, some for 2 small kids... or simpler, family cars with 2 variable kids‘ seats installed.


more likely a standard attachment system - like today isofix but with more payload options - with people purchasing (or renting as part of the service itself) the options as needed


don't forget to stock all the kids' toys in those cars.


On the subject of kids, I’d much rather my teenage daughter took a ride by herself in a self-driving car than a regular taxi.


There are a lot of unknown.

First of all, what is a lot? 1% of the US would be around 3 million people, which is a lot of people and yet 1% is not very significant. Of course we know some people don't own a car, you can make your numbers look bigger or smaller depending on if you count them. (there are books on how to lie with statistics if you want to continue this line)

There are people who are already close to giving up their car who will.

I believe that most people will not give up their own car. Rush hour is a thing for a reason: most cars are driving during those hours, so your costs for a self driving car ride rental needs to account for that. Once your costs are not much different the utility of your own car is a price worth paying. I know that I can go shopping over lunch and leave my new toys in the trunk. I keep a spare diaper in my car just in case my kid needs one. When I go on vacation I often start packing the car a few days before.

If you are frugal rides in a self driving car is probably more expensive than rides in your own car. Your payment has to cover oil changes (I change my own oil - I've concluded that it actually saves me time over driving to a mechanic). Your payment covers inspection/cleaning after every ride - nobody cleans their personal car that often. People who ride in a self driving car will demand newer cars even though a 12 year old car (if well maintained) works perfectly fine for the same task.


If they get around to it, they would probably offer several subscription levels. Pay more, and you're guaranteed a swankier car, be frugal and it's a crapshoot, maybe you get a boring Tata, or you get a Jaguar.

Also, if the taxi fleet knows where everyone is going, they can easily organize a car-pool. If you're frugal then you'll be okay with pooling, pay more if you want the exclusivity (or, if you have the frugal plan, you can pay 10 bucks more this morning if you want to be left alone...).

The Jaguar vs Tata would make a fun algorithm. Say you're the frugal one, you order a car, and a Jaguar is heading your way. Suddenly your neighbor (on the premium plan) orders a car, and someone else a few minutes away cancelled their Tata. Oops, sorry, he gets the Jaguar.

Edit: Changed "Mercedes" to "Jaguar"


No one is going to clean/inspect cars after every ride. At best it will be once a day. More likely something like once a week or until someone complains.

Same thing with the car age. They aren't going to cycle new cars in every few years. At best, they are going to replace the interiors in that time frame.

It also doesn't account for the size of the car. People buy 4 seaters for the 10% (or whartever) of the time that they have passengers. Commuters will be perfectly fine with a 1 seater if they can order a bigger car when needed.


They aren't going to cycle new cars in every few years.

The auto rental industry does. The average holding time in the rental car industry is 13 months. Enterprise Holdings (Enterprise, Alamo, and National) owns over a million cars. Lots of companies talk about "transportation as a service". Those companies do it.

Among other things, they own enough parking spaces to park all those cars.


I'm sure they could com up with removable upholstery (or upholstery covers) that they can clean separately and replace as often as needed. Its not a huge leap from floor mats and seat covers


I was test driving a car this weekend and noticed the seat covers had some hidden zippers that would make it trivial to replace.


What car was it?


I looked at a couple cars so don't remember exactly which. I think is was a Subaru Forester. I was sitting in the back seat checking things out and noticed a tiny line along the back of the driver seat. Turns out it was an internal zipper with the ends tucked near the bottom. It think if you pulled those up, the whole back flap of the seat cover opens up.


Or share a car for 50% off the cost.

They're going to recycle the cars faster than today, because they'll be used for closer to 100% of the time, rather than 10% today.


People fly in 15+ year old airliners all the time and it doesn't seem to stop them.


I'm sure if you asked people, many would prefer a newer airplane. I've flown on 30 year old planes in the past and while there was nothing wrong with the plane, it's still something that makes you think. But most people don't have the option to turn down a flight because of the age of the aircraft.


I'm also fairly sure if you asked them whether they'd rather pay $189 to fly across the country in a jet that might be as much as 25 years old or $589 to fly in a jet that they could be assured was no more than 8 years old, the $189 ticket wins by a landslide.

I don't see any reason to think a similar price-sensitivity wouldn't apply to other forms of seat-rented transportation.


TCO for a car is $8500/year on average, or roughly $700/month or $23/day. That doesn't include the time cost for servicing and dealing with a car that needs repair.


Nobody on this thread, has accounted for the value of the time, that self driving cars or cabs, free up for you !


If such a thing were to take hold, you wouldn't need nearly as much parking at places of business or residence. But then, with so many cars, they'd still need a place to park while not in use. You might be able to rent out parking at your home for ride share vehicles.


Don't forget the cost of giving these companies even more location data.


They've already clocked up a lot of California time from their earlier days. Seems pretty likely that they will put some of that fleet into SF.

By the way, that's 20k from Jaguar. Don't forget the thousands of Chrysler minivans that they ordered.


Interesting question: does a mile in CA four years ago equal a mile today? Not in the sense that roads change (though they do!), but because I worry about regressions and new bugs.

You can mitigate it a bit by simulating many rides in virtual reality--which Waymo is absolutely doing already--but add enough cities and that would get really expensive really quickly, even by Google standards. And you probably couldn't run that world suite of tests for every code submission, or even on a nightly candidate.


This is a solved problem.

You have a neural network which inspects the code change, and predicts which tests/scenarios might be affected (a change in the vision system is unlikely to affect the handbrake tests for example). You run only the most likely to fail tests. A test which hasn't been run for a long time is more likely to fail, since more code changes were done since it was last tested, so all tests end up being run on a semi-random schedule.

When any test fails, you then run back through time, bisecting every revision till you find the code commit which caused the failure.

At that point, depending on your engineering workflow, you either create a ticket to an engineer to fix this commit to pass the test before the next release, or you auto-revert that commit.


A change in the vision system can absolutely affect handbrake tests. As far as we know, last week how Uber detects obstacles changed in a way that affected latency enough that it couldn't brake in time, which is why we now have a broken person instead of a broken test.

An autonomous car is inherently a system, and you need a deep suite of integration tests, regularly run and covering all possible cases, to believe you're even approaching vehicle safety. The wider you space out when any given integration test is run, the harder it becomes to fix. And if a given test only runs once per week, sooner or later (sooner with a sufficiently large test suite) you're going to hit a place where auto-reverting the commit breaks additional tests.

And when that happens, unless you put a global lock on new code entering the system, it might be impossible to fix the regression. And putting a global lock on new code submission will make new feature development extremely slow and expensive.


Is there any real-life system that actually does this? It’s the first time I hear about it... It sounds cool, is anyone actually using something like this in production? For normal apps, I mean.


I assume this rationale is why Uber has been pushing the limits with the technology theft and putting unsafe cars on the roads. Is this where Uber rushes to IPO?


Unless, you know. Fog. But there's never fog... in... SanFra....


is a lidar affected by fog ?


Lidar is hugely affected by fog and other water phenomena (rain, snow, etc.). We’ll need different imaging technology for foggy/wet/snowy places.

Arizona is a much more reliable location for these systems in large part because it’s so dry.


Why would you choose an auto maker known to produce vehicles with high maintenance costs?


Because the target market is luxury customers who are not price sensitive and are willing to pay a bunch for what they perceive as the cool feeling of being in a cool car?

Listen, I don't understand why Gatorade comes in flavors other than orange, but if I was Gatorade, I wouldn't discontinue all the other flavors. Some people seem to like them for some reason.


I own an F-Pace, and it's all for the luxury, not the coolness. Riding in it and driving it is simply a luxury experience. I'd consider buying one of these, except it's quite ugly and has the same dumb wheel aesthetic that BMW put on their even uglier electric cars.


Car makers aren't exactly lining up to work with waymo. I wouldn't interpret this as waymo "choosing" to work with anybody.


Premium title is misleading, self-driving car capability isn't something "already" available on a "budget" fiat 500


Waymo has several SDCs in its fleet, this is premium relative to those.


Isn't Jaguar considered "racing" car? How about not just automatic driving, but automatic racing?


Not really. It's really a luxury car brand. They have sporty fast cars (I'd kill for a manual F type) but they're by no means a race car company. They had an F1 team but it wasn't very successful and it looks like they only dabble in motorsports a little bit as of recent according to wikipedia. If I'm looking for really performance-focused cars I'm not looking at Jaguars. I'm looking at Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens, AMG Mercedes, M BMWs, etc. With Jags you're really spending a lot of $$$ for comparable performance from something like an M3 or a Z06 Corvette (an admittedly difficult to compete with package).

I think the primary allure of the Jaguar brand is that dignified, beautiful, English car exemplified by the old XJ (the car from Shaun of the Dead is an XJ). It's allure is not "I'm gonna hoon in this thing and hit 0-60mph in under 4 seconds."


Well they had a history of dominating at le mans in the 1950's. Then they had the E-type in the 1960's and 1970's which Enzo Ferrari called the most beautiful car in the world - it was also tough competition for a Ferrari at 1/5th the price.

So they had a sporting history which like other car companies they're now resting on.

They also had a history as being the car for the self made man. The MkII was the car for bank and train robberies at the time. You'd meet a lot of Jag owners in jail...


Sure thing!

The Darpa Grand Challenges which really kickstarted the modern self-driving car era were races.[0,1,2]

Also, there's a grassroots community around self-racing cars.[3]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge [1] http://archive.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/ [2] https://www.wired.com/story/darpa-grand-urban-challenge-self...

[3] http://selfracingcars.com/


The whole point of racing is seeing which driver and crew is best. Watching self-driving cars race would be boring. It would be like watching a video game in demo mode.


I wish Uber hadn't failed like they did. Right now it seems waymo will be the only player in robo taxis for some time to come. Not good for me as a consumer.


Other companies that Uber and Waymo are working on this, and most don't have Uber's toxic culture.


The big signal will be whether or not they launch this in a city that experiences a lot of rain, and what they do during bad weather.


The first gas car only had one gas station to use. Progress is made in small steps. We don't have to have the whole framework ready before anyone can use it.


I wasn't commenting on feasibility or logistics, more on the state of their progress and if they can fully replace current services in cities or if it will augment them. If, for example, they don't work during heavy rain, then they cannot replace Uber/Lyft in most East Coast or Northern US cities.


Actually, interestingly, perhaps that is "right-sizing" the cost of Taxi service?

Humans only at the beck and call of self-driving cars who cannot see well in the rain. Instead of "surge pricing" for high demand, it would be "human pricing" to pay for the "skilled" driver in the rain and snow.

ie: $1/mi during sunny days, $10/mi during snow days, instead of $7/mi every day of the year. Very interesting to consider, and honestly a bit scary thinking of so many people I've met who are using Uber to make a living. :-S


Labor is probably not fluid enough. I expect people to value steady income very highly. That might change if basic income was a thing though.


Very fair point and counterpoint! $100/day guaranteed is worth more than (rand()*200)/day. Consistency is worth more than variability.


A world where Google owns transportation services on the West coast and Sunbelt, and Uber/Lyft owns the East Coast and Northern cities, is a world where in 5 years Google owns transportation services everywhere. Knocking out many of Uber's most profitable markets makes its runway even shorter.


> If, for example, they don't work during heavy rain, then they cannot replace Uber/Lyft in most East Coast or Northern US cities.

Google Maps has a ridesharing comparison function built-in; you don't have to replace incumbents to undercut them when you have the advantage, and the tech will keep improving.


Nah forget rain. Rain is easy peasy. You compute the limits of how much force to apply and stay below them. The only real challenge is dealing with other drivers, but in a rainy climate, that's not bad either since they are used to it.

Ice and snow is the real terror, which affects driving discontinuously and in many different ways. You can go from almost total control to almost total loss of tire grip almost instantly with black ice.


If they launch in one city or a few select cities, I don't think that signal tells you that much.

It is true that if their tech can't handle rain well, they would avoid rainy cities. But even if their tech can handle it pretty well, why pick a city that has less than maximum odds for success? Going for the low-hanging fruit first could very easily just mean that they know how to prioritize, not that they can't reach the higher fruit.

Also, there are lots of other factors (like regulation and other driving conditions) that dilute the signal.


It tells you a lot, 20k cars in one city is a huge problem if you can't run while it rains, then you need to move them all to a storage location. If they do multiple cities then there are only so many without rain being likely, and expanding to more cities means your mapping needs to be done in those locations.


If they launch in a lot of cities and we see a clear pattern of avoiding cities with lots of rain, that would tell you something.

But that's very different from launching in 2 or 3 cities that don't have a lot of rain and also have a bunch of other things in common.


Similarly, I am very interested about how they'll handle real, relatively less rule-oriented more entropic traffic, like NYC and other old eastern cities....

Depending on how they are coded I feel this will be not a big deal at all, or a huge, huge showstopper that will require rearchitecting, but not much in between.


This seems silly. With self-driving cars, it doesn't make sense to own a car. Instead, transportation will become a service. And a luxury product doesn't fit in this space.

Unless, of course, they want to serve rich people first.


Their blog post says "built for Waymo’s transportation service". To me that sounds like they won't be available for regular people to buy.


If you're rich and would buy a Jaguar, you probably don't want a car that 1000 other people have ridden in, and probably eaten in and got crumbs all over the place.


Why not get all the people, poor, middle, rich, all at once? Why leave any money on the table if you don't have to? That's business.


This is a bit of a let down and suggests to me that either they are not confident in the tech arriving at scale any time soon or they are not serious about directly challenging Uber. These are expensive vehicles and not custom-designed for a self-driving transportation service. I would be surprised if they were much cheaper per ride than Uber in cheap markets.

If they were serious about taking on Uber/Lyft soon I would expect them to be willing to make a bet on a long-life, extremely cost-focused custom vehicle. Maybe this is a stop gap to keep proving the tech until someone else (Uber?) gets impatient, licenses their tech, and spends the vehicle capital.


The cost of the kit Waymo will add to the cars is surely more than enough to make any vehicle choice quite expensive by conventional standards.

It shouldn't matter too much though, drivers are very expensive compared to cars. Not paying a hypothetical Uber driver $100 a day could easily finance a supercar, let alone a Jaguar. And the autonomous car can work triple shifts.


Why can't they have both low cost and premium versions? Even if going high end first is the strategy here (I'm not sure it is considering them getting deals for outfitting Pacifica's), Tesla focused on the premium market first and was able to create a luxury image that makes the mass market crave it.


Google are going to scope out basic partnership agreement frameworks with the companies interested in making partnership agreements with them, and if that happens to be a premium vehicle manufacturer then so be it. If they wanted to invent a new kind of "long life, extremely cost-focused vehicle" it would take them much longer anyway, and be entirely unnecessary to successfully challenge an app company making a loss in most markets and running out of runway. What really matters is if, when and where Waymo have self driving tech adequate and legal for commercial operations.

In the unlikely event of Waymo actually ordering 20k Jags, the economies of scale they'd get would be enormous even compared with non premium Uber vehicles bought on finance at dealer prices even before the driver gets paid, and many taxi markets use premium vehicles by default.


It read as a positive to me. Uber is losing in Asia and here's Google partnering with Jaguar who's owned by Tata Motors. This sets Google up for North America, Europe, and Asia.

For a self driving taxi, I don't understand the need for a cost focused option.


Jaguar doesn't say "premium" to me. With all their electrical issues in the past, I'll be staying far away from an electric Jaguar.


You cannot compare Jaguar back then with today. Both Jaguar and Land Rover have been owned by Tata for a while now and today both companies produce state of the art vehicles with proper electrics. They mostly carry the name and a bit of the company tradition over from the past, but little else.


Tata's not exactly premium either

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Nano


They are an industry giant (e.g. large steel production). Since they took control over Jaguar and Land Rover, both companies have produced quite high quality cars.


As a counter point from someone not in the car scene - Jaguar represents high speed luxury to me. And if shown a Jaguar and a Tesla, I'd gravitate towards the Jaguar on looks alone. My (possibly incorrect) thinking being "how can I trust a car which can't even get the panel gaps even to provide a safe ride at high speeds?"

FWIW.


EV E-Type anyone?


Jaguar already did an electric conversion of a classic e-type: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/7/16265888/jaguar-e-type-zer...


Not sure if you're in the US, but here in the UK, and indeed across Europe, Jaguar is very much a premium brand.


A self driving jag or land rover is high up on my 'eff it, I'll just walk' meter.


“A self-driving car that won’t make you sick and kill you.”

Edit: ok I’m sorry I made one joke comment referencing arrested development. Sue me.


Compared to the rumors yesterday that the big Waymo announcement was going to be announcing expansion to NYC, this is a big letdown. Who cares what manufacturer they use? The only interesting part is the 20k number.


A big knock against Waymo so far has been that it won't be able to scale its service by retrofitting Pacificas, and that it needs to find OEM partners to help build vehicles (i.e., install the hardware at the factory). So that's what they announced.


They can't operate in NYS at all, at least not without safety drivers. They also can't operate a driverless taxi service at all without the city or state government passing laws. NYC/NYS is not the kind of place whose politicians are gonna stick their neck out and pull an Arizona early before the tech is proven, either.

NYC is already one of the most regulated environments for taxis in the country, maybe the most. Details down to specific models and equipment and driver behavior and pricing are specified by law and enforced by the TLC, and no driverless taxi service could comply with them as they are written today.

And if they did it using safety drivers, assuming the equipment complied with TLC regulations, they might have a hard time finding safety drivers willing to take the risk when they could just drive a normal cab. TLC licensed drivers have a lot of other requirements and liability and responsibility put upon them, and they cannot delegate that responsibility to anyone else.

As just one example, if the Arizona wreck had happened in NYC, Cooper's Law would have required the safety driver to have their license summarily suspended until the investigation is complete, then revoked permanently if found guilty of ANY charge, even a minor one like speeding 2mph.


> Who cares what manufacturer they use?

The fact that they're trying to market premium self-driving cars is interesting, because as you say there is no obvious reason to care. After all if they're all going to be driven exactly the same way and have an almost identical safety profile, what difference does it make?


Potentially, high class events (e.g. the Academy Awards). I can certainly see the massive value of having a luxury self-driving car shuttle celebrities to an event millions of Americans watch every year.

It's marketing for Jaguar and Waymo. And also, Uber has premium categories, too. Its got virtue signaling potential for the users.

And, to be fair, people have aesthetic preferences. I do. If you said to me, "this cardboard box will autonomously take you anywhere you want to go without ever crashing. Or you can take this Audi S7 will do the same but there's a 5% chance you'll crash", I'd take the Audi. Personal preferences can't just be ignored, especially in the auto industry.


> there is no obvious reason to care. After all if they're all going to be driven exactly the same way and have an almost identical safety profile, what difference does it make?

The same difference that makes people buy a Jaguar over a Chevy Cruze in the traditional sense... There are consumers who expect a high quality of service for their dollar.


This is going to be the first commercial Waymo fleet.

It makes sense to have a premium brand to first introduce this.

'THIS IS THE FUTURE !' is what they want to promote.

While I think that their beetle-like test cars would be perfectly fine once the technology is everywhere, it makes sense to showcase it with premium cars.




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