Autonomous tech is close to a large-scale rollout
Say farewell to Google’s self-driving car project. The endeavor has spun off into Waymo, an independent company owned by Alphabet, also the parent company of Google.
Waymo stands for “a new way forward in mobility,” the company said in a blog post today. John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s self-driving car project, will continue his tenure at Waymo.
The spin-off signals a big step for the self-driving technology, which has until now been a part of a research unit called Google X. Creating a brand new company around the self-driving tech suggests it’s almost ready for prime time.
“It’s an indication of the maturity of our technology,” Krafcik told Reuters. “We can imagine our self-driving tech being used in all sorts of areas.” The new company shows “confidence that we are close to bringing this [technology] to a lot of people,” he added.
In late 2015, Google proved just how much its technology could accomplish. It completed the world’s first fully driverless ride on public roads, with no test driver sitting behind the wheel. So far, Google has logged more than 2 million autonomous miles on public roads. Google’s little pod-like autonomous vehicles now can be seen featuring the Waymo logo.
Despite some executive shakeups, Google’s autonomous unit has made big strides in the past year. It has expanded its testing centers from two to four U.S. cities, and is partnering with automakers on self-driving tech. A fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids are expected to receive the technology.
Source: Waymo, Reuters