Google helped to familiarize many in the tech industry with the idea of self-driving vehicles with its fleet of autonomous Toyota Prius and Lexus RX 450h hybrids. Now that Google's self-driving efforts have been spun into a separate entity called Waymo, parent company Alphabet is hoping to help the general public understand the benefits of self-driving cars.
It all starts with the "Let's Talk Self-Driving" public information campaign that launched today. In addition to the convenience factor of having a computer control every aspect of your commute to work, your trip to pick up the kids from school, or the mundane grocery run, Alphabet also plays up the safety benefits.
According to the National Security Council, one person is hurt in a car crash every 7 seconds, and 100 car-related deaths occur every single day in the United States. Looking at the big picture, Alphabet says that the U.S. is averaging roughly 40,000 deaths per year due to auto accidents. Self-driving cars have the potential to dramatically reduce these figures by taking human error out of the equation.
"Even the world’s most attentive driver is not immune to the dangerous behaviors of others on the road," says the National Security Council. "Human error is involved in 94 percent of today’s crashes."
"Imagine climbing into the backseat of a car and just pushing a button to go," adds Waymo. "Your driver—the car—handles all of it, while staying constantly vigilant and seeing 360 degrees all around you. Everyone moves around safely, drunk and distracted driving become a thing of the past and we all get time back in our day."
The Information adds that this new education campaign is a precursor to Waymo's planned ride-hailing service that will launch in Arizona. Customers will be shuttled around in Waymo's self-driving Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivans.
In other self-driving car news, Intel is also hoping to alter the public perception of self-driving cars, and it has enlisted the help NBA basketball superstar LeBron James as a brand ambassador. Commercials featuring James begin airing today which feature him hopping in the backseat of a Kia Cadenza that takes him for an autonomous spin around the block.