Waymo has released a new video which looks to educate viewers on how self-driving cars fundamentally work. What’s more, the video is a 360-degree video allowing viewers to really get an idea of how self-driving cars work from the perspective of being inside one. As this is a 360-degree video, not only can it be experienced on mobile or desktop, but also in VR through the use of headsets such as Google’s Cardboard or Daydream View.
The video runs for a little over three minutes and during that time the viewer is taken on a quick trip around town in Phoenix, Arizona, while also taking moments (usually crossroads) to further explain the communicative feature of the cars. In other words, how the cars at the technology level see the world around them and use that information to ensure they are aware of other people, cars, and even whether a traffic light is red or green. Adding to the more immersive nature, halfway through the video the perspective of the viewer changes from seeing out of the windscreen (the driver view) to that of a passenger in the back seat. Which is not only designed to provide an additional view of riding in a self-driving car, but also the view of the steering wheel and how the process - minus the driver - is not that different to being a passenger in a car today.
While the video itself is a fun and immersive experience, it is part of a much wider initiative designed to alleviate concerns some people may have about the technology through education. This initiative was announced back in October of last year and sees Alphabet (the parent company of Waymo) partnering with other vested names. For example, this latest video follows on from the Let’s Talk Self-Driving campaign which saw Alphabet, along with organisations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Safety Council, working together to highlight some of the more fundamental benefits self-driving cars aim to bring. Such as a reduction in the number of accidents on the road. Although Alphabet (through Waymo) is not the only company looking to highlight the benefits of self-driving cars or their contribution to the technology, as some of the other major players have released similar videos.