With Google Grab and Go, Waymo simplifies Chromebook loaner program
Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Scott Mielke, Lead Dispatcher, and Kyle Sulli, Fleet Dispatcher for Waymo, the self-driving technology company. Waymo is using the Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise program to manage shared loaner Chromebooks for drivers and instructors.
As we fine-tune the technology behind Waymo’s self-driving cars, our Phoenix-based operations for our early rider program have expanded significantly. That means keeping track of many more laptops used by staff—and as drivers come and go, we need to know where the laptops are and who’s using them. Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise puts Chromebooks in drivers’ hands as soon as they start a shift, and dispatchers like us no longer need to chase down stray devices.
Our Grab and Go loaner laptop program lets us keep fewer devices on hand while still making sure everyone has one when needed. Drivers check out and return shared Chromebooks at the beginning and end of their shifts. After their time in the car, they finish their shift by using Chromebooks to record their work; instructors use Chromebooks when teaching drivers how to operate the cars.
Since Waymo is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., we watched how our sister company Google established its Chromebook loaner program. We saw how easy it was for Google employees to take a Chromebook from a charger rack, log in, and start working in a few seconds. The Grab and Go program uses an app to track who’s logged in to specific Chromebooks and when they’ve logged out. That meant less manual tracking of the loaner laptops, and more availability of laptops when we need them. We can easily enroll new machines and unenroll old machines that we’re no longer using.
In the Grab and Go application, we can see which devices are overdue for return and then ask drivers to return them to our new charging racks. Drivers also receive email notifications when Chromebooks aren’t returned at the end of shifts. There’s a charging cable on each shelf. When drivers return Chromebooks, it’s easy to plug them in instead of searching for spare chargers.
Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise brought accountability and organization to our Chromebook checkouts. In just about every case, we quickly find overdue Chromebooks by checking the app to see who last logged in to each device and when. With the Grab and Go program, a single Chromebook can be shared with as many as five people. But even if we double or triple our Chromebook count, Grab and Go will let us manage the fleet with the same budget and admin as before—and a lot less detective work.