Waymo has introduced innovative Safe Exit features to prevent “dooring” accidents, which involve a vehicle’s door opening into moving traffic and colliding with cyclists. This type of accident is the second most common cause of injury or fatality in collisions involving cyclists, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. To enhance rider safety, Waymo is employing its autonomous sensing technology to inform riders of nearby road users when exiting the vehicle.
Why It Matters
With no human driver in Waymo’s fully autonomous vehicles, the company has developed new methods to provide riders with additional cues to ensure their safety. By using the same sensor suite and software stack that the Waymo Driver utilizes to navigate roads autonomously, the company now offers riders explicit audio and visual alerts to notify them of approaching cyclists or other road users when exiting the car.
Waymo has worked closely with its Trusted Testers and employee riders to shape and test the effectiveness of the Safe Exit notifications. The User-Experience team conducted multiple studies with Trusted Testers and employee riders to ensure that the implemented features reduce the likelihood of dooring collisions.
To improve communication with other road users, Waymo has also incorporated easy-to-interpret iconography on the lidar atop its Waymo One cars, visualizing a rider entering or exiting the vehicle. This enhancement helps signal that a door may open, allowing others on the road to take necessary precautions.
Waymo is committed to introducing more features that enhance the comfort and safety of cyclists and other road users. However, the company emphasizes the need for diverse experiences and perspectives to shape the future of mobility. Waymo invites interested individuals, whether as Waymo One riders or professionals, to contribute to a more equitable mobility revolution by sharing their insights and ideas.