In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the women today who are at the forefront of their fields and developing the future of tomorrow. Today, we’re spotlighting Annabel Chang, Head of State Policy & Government Affairs at Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous driving technology company. What began as Google’s “Self Driving Car Project” in 2009, Waymo has since launched a commercial self-driving taxi service.

Chief: What is the problem you are solving for tomorrow?

AC: Every year, thousands of lives are lost in vehicle collisions and in the U.S., 94% of these accidents are due to human error or choice. With the Waymo Driver [the self-driving taxi], we believe that fully autonomous vehicle technology holds the promise to create safer streets and unlock mobility options for millions of people. And for all of the working parents, it may help you one day save hours a week that you lose to commuting, running errands, and shuttling around your kids.

Chief: What is the next frontier to conquer in your industry?

AC: 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for all of us — particularly for many of us working parents. On top of that, achieving fully autonomous vehicles is one of the world’s toughest technical challenges involving both artificial intelligence and robotics. Despite these hurdles in 2020, Waymo was able to launch the world’s first fully autonomous commercial ride-hailing service available to the public. If you’re in the Phoenix Metro area, you can download the Waymo app, hail your very own car, kick back and relax while enjoying a totally solo ride to your destination. Our team often quips “the future is here!.” For me, I can’t wait until we can begin sharing this technology with more and more people around the United States and the world.

Chief: What is the biggest challenge preventing more women to enter or excel in your field, and how do we change that for the future?

AC: The automotive and technology industries have traditionally been very heavily male-dominated fields. In the spirit of “you can be what you see,” we are working to highlight women’s contributions in the autonomous vehicle industry and encouraging more women to explore this career path. Last year, we launched a new initiative called Self-Driven Women. It’s a series of virtual panel discussions to help build a community of women that are currently shaping the future of mobility and empower more women to join the industry. What was so heartwarming for me to see has been that we’ve consistently had attendees from all over the world who are so excited to join the conversation.