Waymo—the manufacturer of "driverless cars" now in testing in select cities across the country—recently issued a report titled "Waymo Safety Report—On the Road to Fully Self-Driving," in which the company provides information on a variety of aspects of its public safety policies.
"Our self-driving vehicles are designed to interact with law enforcement and first responders safely on road," the report said. "Using our suite of custom-built sensors, including an audio detection system, our software can identify a nearby fire truck, detect its flashing lights, and hear sirens up to hundreds of feet away. Our audio sensors are designed to discern the direction sirens are likely coming from, improving our vehicles’ ability to respond in both a safe and timely manner. Once an emergency vehicle is detected, our vehicle can respond by yielding, pulling over to the side of the road, or coming to a complete stop."
According to the company document, Waymo has partnered with the Chandler, AZ, Police and Fire Departments to test the so-called "long-range audio detection system."
The company says it has conducted on-site training to help police and other emergency workers identify and access a driverless vehicle in emergency situations.
"We plan to continue conducting these on-site trainings, while expanding the scope of the training program as our vehicles become more capable and our operational design domain expands," the company said.