(KPIX 5) — Mountain View-based Waymo hosted a public meeting Thursday to discuss the next phase of testing of its self-driving-car technology.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles approved Waymo’s permit in October to begin testing a fleet of 39 fully autonomous vehicles in five Peninsula cities, including Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
Waymo has organized several community meetings to provide information and answer questions from members of public who may be either excited or anxious about the new technology.
“I would be a little leery until it had been on the road a while,” said driver Claudia Hernandez.
“Like anything with technology, I worry about getting all of the glitches out at the beginning. My concern is what if anything major happens in the beginning that causes accidents,” said driver Michael Placencia.
Waymo vehicles will be able travel up to 65 miles per hour and operate in light rain or fog day and night, the DMV said. They cannot, however, drive in snow, ice or heavy rain or on flooded roads or on one-lane mountain roads.
San Jose State University Engineering Professor Fred Barez says he understands the public’s concerns about the new technology, but noted it is improving with every mile driven.
“For any technology to be developed, there are some sacrifices that people have to go through,” said Barez. “Unfortunately, there may be accidents that occur. But we are moving in the right direction. The application of driverless vehicles would be a tremendous opportunity for all of mankind.