๐Ÿš— Waymo & Cruise Zoom Through the Pandemic! How Did They Outpace the Competition During COVID Times? ๐Ÿค”

While most of us were stuck in lockdown, autonomous vehicle giants Waymo and Cruise were hitting the roads, accounting for a whopping 70% of all autonomous miles driven in California in 2020. Despite a significant decrease in testing, these companies still managed to log nearly 2 million miles. But wait, was safety taken for a ride here? ๐Ÿง

2020 wasn’t just a year of binge-watching Netflix shows and baking banana bread. Oh no, dear reader, Waymo and Cruise were out there, driving almost 2 million miles in autonomous mode. You might say they had their foot on the gas, even as the rest of the world slammed the brakes.

Zoom, Zoom, or Too Soon? ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿ’จ
The autonomous vehicle world saw a decrease of around 800,000 miles from the previous year, according to California’s DMV. Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Waymo and Cruise together drove a staggering 1.39 million miles, making up 70% of the total. Was the 2020 motto “Safety first,” or perhaps more like “Safety…what’s that?” ๐Ÿคจ

Cruise even used the pandemic for good, making food bank deliveries, while Waymo focused on nonprofit packages. But hold on, what about the safety of those inside the vehicles? Some backup drivers were thrilled to return to work, while others, well, not so much. Social distancing in a car cabin with someone for hours? Good luck with that! ๐Ÿค”

What’s Up with Those Disengagements? ๐Ÿšจ
Waymo reported 21 disengagements at a rate of 0.033 per 1,000 miles, while Cruise had 26 at the same rate. Both were improvements from 2019. So they were driving fewer miles, but also getting better at it. But how accurate are these numbers? Are they like the high scores in an old arcade game that nobody can ever beat? Or are they a sign of real progress?

The Not-So-Smooth Ride ๐Ÿ›‘
These decisions to keep rolling weren’t smooth sailing for everyone involved. Backup drivers were essentially stuck, literally and figuratively. And let’s not forget about the drivers accusing the companies of exploiting loopholes. Are they speed demons or responsible corporate citizens? Now that’s something to chew on! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Others in the Race ๐Ÿ
And it wasn’t just Waymo and Cruise out there. Pony.ai, a Silicon Valley startup, drove 225,496 miles, while Zoox, an Amazon acquisition, logged 102,521 miles. They were all racing, but it looks like Waymo and Cruise lapped the field.

The Provocative Part ๐Ÿ˜Ž
So, dear readers, we’ve zoomed through a pandemic year in autonomous driving, with some pulling ahead and others lagging behind. Now the question remains: Was this the right move for the industry, or a high-speed chase towards controversy?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article do not constitute any type of advice, especially with regard to investments, health, or other legal matters. They’re just meant to make you think and maybe even laugh a little.

Question to Provoke Discussion:
Is the advancement of autonomous vehicle technology during a global pandemic an impressive feat of innovation or a reckless pursuit of progress? What’s the real cost behind these miles, and are companies like Waymo and Cruise setting the pace or risking a crash? ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿ’ฅ What do you think?