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Waymo Ditches & # 39; self-driving & # 39; time period in Obvious Dig at Tesla

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January
7, 2021

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This story originally appeared on PCMag

Do not call Waymo's vehicles "self-driving". The company announced this week that it is replacing the term with the more comprehensive "fully autonomous driving technology".

"It might seem like a small change, but it's an important one because precision in language is important and could save lives," a blog announcement said on Wednesday. "We hope that consistency will help differentiate the fully autonomous technology that Waymo is developing from driver assistance technologies (sometimes mistakenly referred to as 'self-driving' technologies), which require the supervision of licensed human drivers to operate safely."

Without naming a name, Waymo subtly points out competitors like Tesla who recently released an updated beta version of their Full Self-Driving Capability (FSD). The add-on offers, among other things, autopilot navigation, automatic lane change, autopark and traffic and stop sign control.

In October, the Self-Driving Coalition, which includes members such as General Motors & # 39; Cruise, Ford, Lyft, Uber, Volvo and Waymo, criticized Tesla's software update, claiming the company's vehicles weren't truly autonomous since they still need an active driver. And while Tesla warns drivers that "it is your responsibility to stay vigilant, keep your hands on the wheel, and be in control of your car," it is clear that people don't always listen.

"This is more than just a branding or language exercise," wrote the Waymo team. "Unfortunately, we are finding that some automakers are using the term 'self-driving' inaccurately, giving consumers and the public the wrong impression of the capabilities of driver assistance technology (not fully autonomous).

Related: Lyft and Waymo work together on self-driving cars

"This false impression can lead to someone unwittingly taking risks (e.g. taking their hands off the steering wheel) that could endanger not only their own safety but the safety of those around them," the blog continued. "The convergence of standard terminology not only prevents misunderstandings and confusion, but also saves lives."

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