Waymo Starts Mapping Streets of New York City, Attempting to Be the City's First AV

"Can you take me to Carnegie Hall? Oh, and try to avoid FDR Drive, will you? It's rush hour." Before present-day, that perfectly reasonable set of instructions would have been too complicated for an autonomous vehicle to muster. Well, not after Waymo AVs plans, assuming they go accordingly.
Waymo in NYC 15 photos
Photo: Waymo
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Starting this week, the Google-operated autonomous vehicle tech firm began the task of mapping the complex and challenging to navigate New York City traffic patterns. Mind you, that doesn't mean Waymo's AVs are navigating the streets of Manhattan just yet, but this is the significant first step in such a direction.

Until recently, New York City was deemed too complex for any AV to navigate safely. This new mapping initiative with backup emergency drivers as a safety precaution in the event of imminent danger will form the foundation for this to happen.

The operating territory that Waymo hopes to master before any other is a stretch of Manhattan spanning from Carnegie Hall in the upper limits of Midtown, all the way through Union Square, Greenwich Village, Soho, and the Bowery, ending in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.

This constitutes an area containing some of the most chaotic and unforgiving traffic flows anywhere in the world. If any AV can successfully navigate this portion of the city, it can only mean good fortunes ahead, one would think.

Other leading contributors to AV technology like Argo AI have laid claim to testing in bustling cities like Pittsburgh and Miami in their own right. But, this latest attempt by Waymo to brave the pandemonium of NYC rush hour could be a landmark in the history of AVs.

Waymo also hopes to fine-tune their AVs performance in adverse conditions like heavy rain and snowfall during their mapping in Manhattan. It's shaping up to be something very special indeed.
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