“Safety Driver”, a term most of us had not heard of until March 18, 2018. This was the day the self-driving Uber car hir and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. When this happened, the safety driver was watching a video on her cell phone. After this, the term safety driver had a hollow ring to it.
While there are shortcomings to the technology and Uber’s development tactics are well documented, it looks like the developers of heavy self-driving trucks are taking this responsibility more seriously.
For the heavy trucking industry, there are much more responsibilities than for the safety driver than just simply keeping the truck out of trouble. Calling them a safety driver is a bit understated, as stated by Jon Rainwater, a Waymo spokespoerson. He said “While the term ‘safety driver’ is widely used in the industry and media, from a Waymo perspective we prefer ‘trained driver’ or ‘test driver. We think it’s more all-encompassing of their role and leans into the fact that they are highly trained.”
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