Waymo basically is a self driving car development company with the goal to make roads safer, free up people’s time and improve mobility for everyone. It is the subsidiary of google’s parent company Alphabet.inc. This project by google came into existence in december 2016. Waymo considers itself a self driving technology company rather than a self driving car company. It does however have thousands of self driving cars in its fleet, equipped with lidar and other sensors that allow for driver free operation. The Broader vision; due to automation there are less risks of accidents caused by distracted impaired and generally fallible human drivers, as well as reduced traffic and greater general ease to getting around. Waymo’s tech, then could show up in personal vehicles, ridesharing services as well as trucking. About the cars, waymo declared it would’nt produce its own cars rather it would work with established car makers that would integrate its self driving tech into their vehicles. It includes Toyota, Lexus and presently Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as contributors of the autonomous car project Waymo.
Into the Tech behind
Waymo cars may look like your average minivans but this thing is way more advanced. With the lidar rig on top it has fully integrated hardware suite developed by waymo that allows for complete self driving. This hardware includes lidar, radar and vision system that allows autonomous operation. John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo exlains waymo’s sensors provide vehicles with a 360 degree view off the world around them. Lasers see the object in 3D and can detect objects upto 300 meters away. On the top of that its radar can see underneath and around vehicles, picking up objects a human driver would otherwise miss. The vehicle use machine learning to identify and respond to emergency vehicles or pull off tricky driving maneuvers, such as unprotected left turns.The Milestone for the company was march 2018 when it got a premium upgrade, Jaguar was joining waymo with Jaguar I-Pace SUVs.
Where is it?
Presently it is exclusively to the United States. The testing grounds include Mountain View, California; Austin, Texas; Kirkland, and many more. It has been driven in 25 US cities and is soon arriving to Atlanta. The cars are tested in variety of extreme conditions such as hills , extreme heat, rain and cold.
- Public Rides
Waymo has reached deals to buy as many as 62,000 plug in hybrid Pacifica minivans and 20,000 fully electric I-Pace SUVs to build out its fleet over next few years.
Waymo has also planned for self driving trucks. The hardware is exactly the same as used in cars and the software is 95 percent similar.
- Personal Vehicles
Waymo has a vision to develop a self driving personal car. It also announced that its in talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NY to develop a self driving personal car. On the top of that it is in discussion with more than “50 percent” of the global auto industry by volume. Its personal automated cars will trail its publi ride service by a couple years.
Safety, a big deal?
We all know very well that when an autonoumous machine comes to our mind, safety is a major issue to be taken care of. Well to ensure our safety Waymo tests its cars in plenty of ways. For instance it has a safety program which includes behavioral safety, functional safety, crash safety etc. Infact it has numerous testing and validation methods for several things including self driving hardware, self driving software etc(to be thorough with the safety go through this). Hence, Waymo has thought in deep for the safety of its customers. The statistical growth of Waymo from 2009-18 indicates level of excellence it is reaching. It will be one of the coolest invention made to ensure safety and avoid crashes. So, whats next? Ya I know the answer Waymo’s Driverless service!