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Nearly two months after announcing it would suspend statewide operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Waymo said today that it would begin limited test drives in the Phoenix metro area beginning May 11. The Alphabet-backed autonomous vehicle startup described this as the first part of a “phased approach” to gradually resuming operations of its fleet, with commercial operations only taking place when the health and safety of passengers can be guaranteed.
That means Waymo’s eponymous Waymo One shuttle, halted in late March, will not resume pickup and drop-off. A spokesperson told VentureBeat that Waymo plans to start accepting drivers again in the “next few weeks.” However, the redeployment phase described today will only affect test and security drivers and other employees and contractors working at Waymo facilities.
Waymo resumes limited self-driving trials in Phoenix in the first step back to normal
Waymo says it’s following guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and local agencies when it resumes operations. This includes redesigning your facility to comply with social distancing guidelines and spacing work areas at the recommended six-foot distance. The company has also redefined the use of common areas, limiting the maximum capacity of various regions and creating training to familiarize employees with the new safety standards and protocols for working and moving around its facilities.
Per Arizona guidelines, Waymo employees wear face masks inside facilities and vehicles except when driving alone. The company also says it has been conducting deep cleanings of its buildings and will continue to conduct multiple daily cleanings of its vehicles in partnership with AutoNation. Finally, Waymo says it is working with an occupational health provider to test everyone who enters its facility.
Waymo hopes to be able to drive again in other cities, including San Francisco phoenixwiggersventurebeat, Detroit, and Los Angeles, soon. “We are taking a thoughtful and slow approach to restart our drive-through operations,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The resumption of our driving operations at these locations will be similarly managed to ensure the safety and health of our team following… [Federal and State] guidelines.”
GM-backed companies Uber, Cruise, Aurora, Argo AI, and Pony.ai are among the companies that have suspended their driverless vehicle programs in hopes of limiting contact between drivers and passengers. Meanwhile, some, like Pony.ai and Cruise, have switched to autonomous delivery. Others relied heavily on simulation to continue development even when their fleets were grounded.
Why customer-centric product development is crucial to stay competitive
Firstly, Product development starts with identifying unmet needs, ordering ideas and testing concepts, evaluating products and pricing, and testing usability and messaging. And at every stage, customer research is critical, says Manasvi Thawani, director of research analytics at GLG.
“The insights you gain from investigate not only help eliminate internal bias but also make product development a data-driven decision-making process,” says Thawani. “You could invest a lot of money upfront, go to market months or years later, only to hear from your present and potential customers that it doesn’t align with our needs. But, on the other hand, if you invest in research from the start, you can win.”
Integrating product development research throughout the product development lifecycle is critical to ensure each new offering is based on data and insights, so investments are reviewed from a market-centric perspective.
Product development in the economic crisis
In addition today’s economic environment, budgets for developing new concepts tend to shrink, which gives businesses the opportunity to look inward and emphasize existing items.
“There’s a shift towards optimizing existing items and offerings by concentrating more on the functionality level of features,” says Thawani. Likewise “The focus is on product optimization. From there, it’s crucial to focus on the pricing aspect to ensure the new features you’re adding to your product or offering are priced right, and that you’re investing time and resources to market your investment sell, which can recover at the correct value.
The next steps are also critical: messaging testing to ensure marketers are communicating value effectively, along with segmentation or personal work to ensure you are targeting the right groups of buyers with product offerings. Appropriate.
But even as budgets shrink, companies shouldn’t stop innovating, she says. Even if they’re lower-value investments than ordinary times, they’ll help you gain a competitive edge and position your business for future success when public demand returns.
Quantitative research in a typical B2B project usually has a maximum of 100-200 respondents. Qualitative research, including in-depth interviews and focus groups. It is generally used for most exploratory work to help define and formulate some hypotheses. Together they give you deep insights into the mind of the buyer. The B2B project has a maximum of 100 to 200 entries. Qualitative research, including in-depth meetings and focus groups, is generally used for most exploratory work to help define and formalize hypotheses. Together they give you a deep vision into the mind of the buyer.
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