By John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo Inc.
“Is that a self-driving car?” “How does it know what to do?” “Are they safe?” “When can I ride in one myself?”
People who see our self-driving cars on the road often have a lot of questions. This is especially true now in the Greater Phoenix region of Arizona, where the sight of self-driving cars being tested on public roads is commonplace. Since we began our early rider program in April, local residents have been using our self-driving vehicles, with a test driver on board, to commute to work, go grocery shopping, and take their kids to soccer practice. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to self-driving cars. As with any new technology, there’s great enthusiasm and curiosity about self-driving cars – and there’s some confusion, too.
That’s why we’re joining forces with a diverse group of organizations – Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, the Foundation for Blind Children, the East Valley Partnership, and the Foundation for Senior Living – to launch the world’s first public education campaign for fully self-driving cars. The “Let’s Talk Self Driving” campaign will focus on engaging the public in diverse and creative ways to increase education and understanding about how this new technology can help address some of the biggest safety challenges on our roads today.
Education begins with awareness, so we’re beginning this campaign with a series of digital and outdoor advertising campaigns in Arizona. Our hope is to grow this conversation into a national dialogue and provide opportunities for people to get up close with this technology.
Together, we all share excitement at the potential for self-driving cars to one day open doors to safer and easier transportation for millions of people. When 94% of road crashes today involve human error, self-driving cars promise a future where anyone can ride with a driver that never gets drunk, tired, or distracted.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church: “Fully-autonomous vehicle technology holds incredible potential to completely eliminate drunk driving and other causes of traffic deaths. This is a critical time in traffic safety as all traffic fatalities, including those caused by drunk drivers, have increased during the past two years after years of steady decline. We must look for new ways to stop old problems.”
National Safety Council:
National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman: “We are pleased to be a part of this campaign and ensure safety has a seat at the table. As the nation’s leading safety advocate for more than 100 years, we know all roadway deaths are completely preventable. Automation holds incredible promise but as our driving culture evolves, Americans will need to understand what self-driving vehicles can and cannot do. We look forward to working with Waymo and all of our partners to educate drivers, raise awareness, and eliminate all roadway deaths.”
Foundation for Blind Children
Foundation for Blind Children CEO Marc Ashton: “At the Foundation for Blind Children, we believe vision loss is a diagnosis, not a disability. Our kids overcome every obstacle put in their way and they succeed. The national unemployment rate for visually impaired adults is 70%. The unemployment rate for FBC graduates is 5%. Adding a reliable means of transportation to the independent living skills we’re already teaching will be a game changer for so many of our clients.”
Foundation for Senior Living
Foundation for Senior Living CEO Tom Egan: “Enhancing independence for seniors and adults with disabilities is at the core of Foundation for Senior Living’s mission. Often, the people we serve must rely upon family members or friends to provide transportation to doctor appointments and the grocery store. Fully self-driving cars would remove this barrier for so many in our community, giving them the independence and dignity they deserve.”
East Valley Partnership
President and CEO of East Valley Partnership John Lewis: “The East Valley Partnership is proud that our region’s innovative business climate supports the future of autonomous transportation to reduce congestion on the road, ensure driver safety and get people where they need to go. We are pleased to be partnering with Waymo on the ‘Let’s Talk Self Driving’ awareness campaign as we look to educate the region on transportation of the future.”
You could join too
We’re calling on others to join us and share their own reasons for how why this technology could change their life or the lives of a loved ones and why it is meaningful to them. You can learn more by visiting LetsTalkSelfDriving.com.
In the Media:
- TechCrunch: Waymo teams with MADD, the NSC and more on self-driving education
- The Verge: Alphabet’s Waymo launches public campaign to build trust in self-driving cars
- CNBC: Waymo, safety groups launch campaign for self-driving cars
- Reuters: Alphabet launches U.S. ad campaign to promote driverless car safety
- Medium: Let’s Talk Self-Driving Cars