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Waymo AVs can play a melody instead of honking to help you find your ride

Waymo One is Alphabet’s autonomous ride-hailing service, and work to upgrade the passenger experience is happening hand-in-hand with expanding availability. The latest Waymo autonomous vehicle (AV) improvements focus on the pickup experience and include a new melody.

Waymo wants to make its autonomous service more inclusive and recently (via The Verge) rolled out a handful of features to improve the pickup experience for all. 

To start with, the Waymo One app for Android and iOS is offering turn-by-turn navigations to get to the pickup point, which might be further out when compared to human-driven cars. Instead of needing to switch apps, Waymo’s “system guides the user on the most appropriate path for pedestrians, utilizing knowledge of sidewalks, crosswalks, and other terrain features to provide the most suitable route.”

Once closer, there is a distance-to-car compass that provides “close-range guidance” like “50ft to your left.” 

Waymo is also complementing users’ ability to remotely honk the car’s horn from the app with “purpose-built car sounds” that are not as impolite/annoying and less likely to draw undue attention. This Waymo AV melody that you can play is an “active high-pitch electric piano with repetitive melodic runs & quick bursts of bells.” Due to its higher range, it’s “more audible and discernable at greater distances.”

Meanwhile, the customizable Car ID, which shows two letters (e.g. initials) in one of four colors, appears in the front windshield of Chrysler Pacifica minivans. On the Jaguar I-PACE, it’s on the roof-mounted sensor dome with 360-degree coverage. 

Other tweaks to the mobile app include a row of buttons on the main screen during a trip that shows multiple actions. They are “dynamically” prioritized based on the “user’s context and where they are on their trip.”

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