Waymo Releases its First Self-Driving ‘Safety Report’

Waymo breaks down the five basic categories it uses for defining ‘safety’ relative to its autonomous vehicles, including behavioral safety (driving decision on the road), functional safety (safe operation including backups and redundancies), crash safety (ability to protect people within the car), operational safety (safety and comfort in interaction between passenger and car) and non-collision safety (safety for anyone interacting with the vehicle in any capacity, basically).

The report also details the sensor system, explaining what each does, and cover LiDAR, vision and radar – as well as supplemental sensors including microphones to pick up emergency vehicles and other road noises.

Crucially, it also explains the “operational design domain” that Waymo uses to define where and when its vehicles can safely operate. This encompasses a range of factors needed for safe driving, including geographies, types of roads, range of speed, time of day, regulatory requirements and even weather.