Google spins off its self-driving car project into a new division- Waymo

By : |December 14, 2016 0

When rumour mills were buzzing noisily about Google shutting down its self-driving car project, came the news, official this time that the division has instead been spun into a separate entity called Waymo under the Alphabet umbrella. The name reflects the company’s mission of finding “a new way forward in mobility.”

“We’re now an independent company within the Alphabet umbrella,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik told an audience at a press event in San Francisco. Alphabet’s decision to spin out Waymo from its research lab X is a pointer that the company’s self-driving technology has advanced beyond research project status and is ready for commercialization.

CIOL Google spins off its self-driving car project into a new division- Waymo

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“We’ve talked a lot about the two million miles we’ve driven on public roads. Now we’ve driven another million miles on public roads. We don’t talk as much about miles we put on in a simulation. We’ve done over one billion miles in the simulation. And we have taken over 10,000 trips with Googlers and guests in places like Mountain View, Austin and Phoenix,” he added.

Krafcik also spoke about Waymo’s first fully driverless ride on public roads in Austin last year, using a car with no steering wheels and no pedals in “everyday traffic” on city streets. Apparently, Waymo will now be working to improve maps and navigation and improve the quality of the ride in adverse situations likes rain and snow.

Krafcik stressed on the point that Waymo “is not a car company, there’s been some confusion on that point. We’re not in a business of making better cars, we’re in the business of making better drivers.”
As for the way forward for the new spin-off, Krafcik spoke of a range of potential opportunities.

“We can imagine this [technology] in ridesharing, in transportation, trucking, logistics even personal use vehicles and licensing with automakers, public transport and solving the last mile,Self drivingSelf-driving technology is awesome in all these categories.”

Krafcik said that Waymo is currently in the “build phase” of putting next generation sensor load outs in the Chrysler Pacifica. Earlier this year it announced a 100-car pilot project in partnership with Fiat Chrysler. They’re currently readying these vehicles for road tests, he said.

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