A new company named Waymo was introduced by Google as its standalone project in San Francisco, CA. By founding this company, which name can be explained as a short version of “a way forward in mobility,” the Internet search giant plans to commercialize its driverless vehicle project and step on a path towards its initial plans to create a completely autonomous vehicle for people by 2020.
John Krafcik, who has been the project’s CEO for over one year, tried to assure the public that their new company is slightly getting close and ready to their bold dreams. This announcement is one of those made by several former Google’s executives of the driverless car project, which makes it even more long-awaited to finally witness the creation of a 100% self-driving car, with no such attributes as a gas pedal, steering wheel and even brakes.
However, right now the existing traffic safety regulations do not allow Waymo to say goodbye to these essential elements and hardware that each vehicle is equipped with. Thus, Waymo’s CEO only hopes to see a completely self-driven car in future.
Breakthrough Technology Being Improved by Google
In his announcements Krafcik traditionally reminds to the public that Waymo will not be a car producing company, but the one that will develop the self-driving car technology and install it on traditional vehicles. At least, right now it is the only way to introduce this revolutionary know-how to the public. The company has nothing to do with improving cars, but it is committed to work out and supply existing vehicles with better driverless features.
Krafcik told about Waymo’s essential milestone so far: October 2015 was marked with the first road test conducted by a blind man Steve Mahan in Austin, TX, who didn’t use a wheel or brakes sitting as a passenger in a car that drove him around the city. Mahan was the only person in the car, so this testing was absolutely autonomous.
As many supporters of self-driving vehicles say, this revolutionary technology is aimed to help eliminate lethal accidents with cars. The supporters appeal to the fact that unlike men, robots and technologies never get drunk and may not forget about traffic rules. Besides, it will be an enormous milestone for the whole humanity to let disabled people drive their own cars, or be passengers in their autonomous vehicles.
Waymo’s Commercial Challenges
Being under the Alphabet’s umbrella, Waymo has a number of tasks it needs to solve to become not only a research-and-development project, but a business that also brings revenue.
Google is a giant corporation that deals not only with online search services and promotion, but also has a strong position in everything that relates to new technologies and hi-tech breakthroughs.
The story of today’s Waymo self-driving car project began in 2009, and the research part has been rather successful so far. Today the company can be proud of its 2,000,000+ miles of road testing reported in four American states. Even though the statistics showed 35 road accidents involving Google’s autonomous cars, the company reports on only one car accident caused by their self-driving vehicle in 2016.
One of Waymo’s primary tasks for today is to become a profitable company trying to combine the research and revenue characteristics. Right now the company cannot create a fully driverless vehicle, but its real-life goal is provide their technology to existing car giants.