Waymo, the Google company, is putting its reputation on the line with the announcement that it will send out driverless vans in Arizona as an acid test of its technology. The company has been working toward this day for more than 10 years. Now that it is here, there are still unanswered questions beyond the robustness of the technology. Who will insure a driverless vehicle if it is in an accident or suddenly goes rogue? Are customers ready for driverless technology or will they freak and attempt to steer the vans themselves? Can the vans find their customers on busy streets where GPS might not be as accurate as needed?
Waymo will be confronting these challenges as well as others that have not been foreseen. If it is able to conquer fears and to run without drivers, it will be the first in the world have achieved it and to open a pathway to commercialization. That's a huge step, which its competitors have yet to come near.