Making Self-Driving Accessible
Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to reshape the transportation landscape for people with disabilities, especially those individuals who cannot get a driver’s license today, but wouldn't need one with this new technology.
In the U.S. alone, there are 3 million people over 40 who are blind or have low vision. Additionally, 79% of seniors 65 and over live in car-dependent communities. For the full potential of autonomous vehicles to be realized, the vehicles must be accessible and usable to the broad spectrum of those who live with a disability.
Waymo’s Approach to Developing Accessible Features
Waymo is working with and listening to the disability community and advocates for seniors to learn about the unique needs of different riders. These conversations are helping to inform Waymo’s specific features.
Waymo Rider Support is Always On-Call
Waymo Rider Support is always a call away. Riders can connect with Rider Support at any time through the in-car microphone inside the vehicle or via the Support page in the Waymo app.
An Accessible Mobile App
The Waymo app is compatible with mobile device screen readers.
Riders can also change their app settings based on their accessibility preferences and needs. For example, visit Account > Accessibility to view and update the following riding preferences:
- Show button to honk the horn – Enabling this feature allows you to tap the button during pickup to honk the car's horn and more easily find the car.
- Assistive in-car audio – This feature enables audio during the ride which identifies buttons in the vehicle, announces some of the car's movements, and narrates important points during your ride.
- Minimize walking time – This feature ensures that Waymo will park on the same side of the street as the rider while making the pickup.
- Call support for a wheelchair accessible vehicle – This feature allows riders to call Rider Support and order a wheelchair accessible vehicle simply by tapping a phone icon.
Waymo’s self-driving vehicles use braille to allow riders who are blind or low-vision to easily find the buttons to start the ride, pull over the vehicle, or call Rider Support.