The laws in California regarding child seats are exceptionally strict and limiting. However, strict regulations of when to use less restrictive child seats is left up to your discretion after your child reaches 2 years of age. That could certainly affect using a Robo Taxi service in San Francisco, which is currently testing driverless cars and autonomous rides for taxi service.
Just when you thought the number of self-driving cars being tested in San Francisco would drop, the city elected to test-drive cars with passengers and autonomous driving vehicles. Waymo, a self-driving company owned by Alphabet, spun off from Google, and it has been selected to supply self-driving Robo Taxis for testing. It begs the question of how it will affect car accident statistics and San Francisco’s Vision Zero initiative.
The tests don’t charge for rides, and the passengers are limited to employees, so don’t expect accommodations for babies and children right away.
Robo Taxis and Child Seats
Different brands of robo taxis already feature classic rear-facing child seats, but it’s unknown how common the different stages of car seats and booster seats will be supplied. Just when you thought there were too many self-driving cars being tested on the streets of San Francisco, get ready for even more, but with passengers.
Alphabet-owned self-driving company, Waymo, on Tuesday became the first taxi operator to offer autonomous rides to the public in SF. Waymo first started at Google before spinning off on its own.
Arizona already has tested fully autonomous robo taxis in wide open areas of the desert. San Francisco, however, requires safety drivers as backups in consideration of the city’s demanding hills, crooked streets and heavy traffic. Waymo plans to transition gradually to taxis without human drivers based on the results of the testing experiences.
Waymo Passenger Experiences
The experiences of autonomous taxi service for passengers are designed to be top-notch. The Jaguar I Pace electric vehicle was selected because of its low cost of ownership, fast charging capability and range. Waymo upgraded its choice for cost savings after achieving success in Arizona with its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica vehicles that featured sensor-loaded efficiency in fully autonomous tests of robotaxi service in suburban desert areas.
Summary of Autonomous Vehicles Testing
According to information published at mashable.com, the test has been successful so far in services areas that range Land’s End to Castro Street and South to Bernal Heights and John McLaren Park. Basically, service is limited to the western half of the city and includes the Civic Center, Chinatown, the Mission District and the Embarcadero.
Reports focus on the efficiency of using an app for ride hailing service. The test driver cruised the streets, dropped off friends at home, ran errands and generally put the autonomous car through its paces. Unfortunately, the autonomous driving car won’t be immediately available in the densest traffic area of San Francisco. You can control the background music through the app.
What About Those Safety Seats?
As service becomes more popular, you will likely be able to specify which type of seat you need when hailing your taxi. Whether driving a car, riding in an autonomous vehicle or hailing a robo taxi, you must first consider child safety.
Unfortunately, California laws don’t specify standard demographics for graduating from a five-point harness to less restrictive child seats and booster seats. That means you should err on the side of safety and not rush to move a child along until he or she is ready. Each time you choose a less restrictive seat, you reduce the level of safety. The best practice is keeping your child in the safest seat as long as possible.
According to statistics published at saferide4kids.com, the leading cause of death of children aged between 3 and 14 is car crashes. More than 67% of child fatalities occur because of drivers who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That means you should have great concern about the car seat options when hailing an autonomous cab ride. Robo taxi service might reduce the number of drunk drivers. No matter how safe car companies make self-driving cars, there will always be concerns about other drivers.