First responders have enough on their minds in an emergency. But the latest addition to their extensive training is how to handle an incident involving an autonomous vehicle.
In partnership with Arizona fire and police responders, Waymo last week released a new training video and webpage to address the challenges that driverless vehicles create.
The beginners' guide aims to ensure responders can approach Waymo vehicles in a "wide range of collision and other emergency scenarios." The 14-minute video explains how to identify a Waymo vehicle, how to contact Waymo to switch the vehicle to manual mode and how to disable the vehicle's power.
Phoenix has been Waymo's primary testing spot since 2018. The company is now operating self-driving 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans in the area through its ongoing rider program, as well as a new commercial ride-hailing service called Waymo One.
Waymo is also working to deploy a robotaxi service in California, where it holds a permit to conduct rider-only operations. But the bulk of its 600-vehicle fleet is in Arizona.
Waymo, formerly known as the self-driving project of Google, also has published a general plan for first responders navigating the unknowns of Waymo vehicles and other self-driving cars on the road.
Waymo put out the video in the same week that the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held meetings to discuss autonomous vehicle testing and recommend regulatory changes in the aftermath of a 2018 pedestrian fatality caused by a self-driving vehicle being tested by Uber in Tempe, Ariz.