Google Spins Off Self-Driving Car Business, To Become Waymo – Videos

DEC 15 2016 BY MARK KANE 25

Google has spun off its self-driving unit, which as separate business is now called Waymo – much like in the way Google belongs to parent company Alphabet.

Say hello to Waymo: what’s next for Google’s self-driving car project

Say hello to Waymo: what’s next for Google’s self-driving car project

Google has been developing self-driving solutions for nearly eight years, and according to press release, the prototypes have spent the equivalent of 300 years of driving time on the road.

“Today, we’re taking our next big step by becoming Waymo, a new Alphabet business. Waymo stands for a new way forward in mobility. We’re a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.”

World’s first fully-self driven car ride by Google was demonstrated in October 2015 (see video below).

“Waymo may be a new company, but we’re building on advanced self-driving technology developed over many years at Google. On October 20, 2015, we completed the world’s first fully-self driven car ride. Steve Mahan rode alone in one of our prototype vehicles, cruising through Austin’s suburbs. Steve is legally blind, so our sensors and software were his chauffeur. His route reflected the way millions of people could use a self-driving car in everyday life: riding from a park to a doctor’s office and through typical neighborhoods.

Google Flagship Autonomous Driving Car

Google Flagship Autonomous Driving Car

This ride was possible because our cars can now handle the most difficult driving tasks, such as detecting and responding to emergency vehicles, mastering multi-lane four-way stops, and anticipating what unpredictable humans will do on the road. We’ve honed these skills over 2 million miles of real-world driving, and in the last year alone we’ve completed one billion miles of testing in simulation.

The ability to complete a fully self-driven trip on everyday public roads, with no test driver, was a big milestone for our team and the history of this technology. It was the signal that we could begin to shift our focus from foundational technical work towards launching our own company so we can offer many more rides, in more places, for more people.

Since the early days of the project, our work has been shaped by feedback we’ve heard from the communities that will most benefit from self-driving cars. Our next step as Waymo will be to let people use our vehicles to do everyday things like run errands, commute to work, or get safely home after a night on the town.

Most of us have been affected by the limitations of driving today in one way or another, whether helping a loved one who can’t drive, dealing with dangers on the road, or losing hours a week to traffic. For me, I think of my mom, who is an amazing 97-year old woman. She lives independently, but without a driver’s license. When I fly down to southern California to visit I often spend the whole trip driving her around to run simple errands and visit friends she can’t easily see on her own. There’s more work to do, but we can see the road ahead to a world where more people like my mom and Steve will be able to travel more easily and safely, driven by Waymo.”

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25 Comments on "Google Spins Off Self-Driving Car Business, To Become Waymo – Videos"

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Horrible name.

People should avoid these cars at all costs , Even if it means walking to your destination..What a farce they are!

Why?

Should have called it Waymobetta.

Way mo betta than Tesla, ha.

I think this would be ‘way more beta’ then Tesla.

Where I live most people drive 10 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. They won’t be happy if these vehicles “clog” the roadways.

Ask your local police to educate and fine people who are driving over the speed limit or your authorities to lift the speed limit. But don’t you blame a decent programmer to stick to the law instead of joining general traffic anarchy.

I pass these suckers all the time at 40 as they tool alone at 25.

I have places to be, and people to see.

See ya!

If you regularly drive 40 MPH in a 25 MPH zone, then that is yet another argument in favor of not letting humans drive cars.

Altho to be fair, there certainly are places where the speed limit is far lower than is reasonable. For example, downtown Kansas City, Kansas has an absurdly low speed limit, supposedly pushed through by local merchants wanting people to drive slowly by their shops. Did I mention that business in downtown KCK is mostly dead because so many people avoid driving there as much as possible?

Not that self-driving cars will prevent merchants from pushing through self-destructive traffic restrictions, but let’s put the blame where it belongs, and not on the cars.

One theory is the opposite, that these cars will be programmed to not get into an accident no matter what, so you’re free to pull out in front of them or cut them off without any consequences…

On another note, you’d be surprised how many people would prefer to play on their smartphone while being driven to their destination if it’s affordable enough…

You are correct, they back off IF you become more aggressive and jump out of your lane and attempt to pass them.

I also prefer the new social media focused driver to be driven.

#bansocialmediafocuseddrivers

Bacardi said:

“One theory is the opposite, that these cars will be programmed to not get into an accident no matter what, so you’re free to pull out in front of them or cut them off without any consequences…”

How very odd that you seem to be characterizing that as a bad thing. Dunno about you, buddy, but I certainly would not want self-driving cars to exhibit road rage!

Personally, I think self-driving cars exercising more caution than the average human driver would be a good thing, and there should be more than ample trade-off by self-driving cars cooperating rather than competing, which — when most cars on the road are self-driving — will greatly reduce traffic congestion and thus reduce average trip time, especially during “rush hour” traffic.

“How very odd that you seem to be characterizing that as a bad thing”

Well, in the case of the traffics where any car length gap will be automatically taken by someone else merging in front of you.

That means the self driving cars in those case will be forever parked on the hwy allowing others to “cut in front of them”…

So, the typical 1 hr commute for 20 miles will actually take 1.5 hrs. Maybe people have too much time to spend in traffic…

I would love to see how they work in NJ/NY/CA traffics… LOL

Self-driving cars can draft, NASCAR style. Good luck fitting your car into a six inch gap 🙂

They also capture video constantly. Clips of illegal behavior will be immediately forwarded to local traffic enforcement for ticketing-by-email. Just like red light cameras, except everywhere you drive.

I, for one, welcome our new Robocar overlords.

When utilizing one of these contraptions don’t forget to ear a Clown Suite”

That’s the problem with AI, or automated systems: they are programmed to not break the law!

The “pod cars” shown that are driving around Mountain View, California are already updated with the Waymo branding. All the Google branding has been removed. I haven’t checked the markings on the Lexus SUVs though.

As to clogging roadways, yes they do hold up traffic a little on the roads that are posted 35mph since that is above the top speed of the little pod cars. They are not allowed on roads with speed limits higher than 35 mph.

“Dunno about you, buddy, but I certainly would not want self-driving cars to exhibit road rage!”

Well not to be point of road rage obviously but autonomous cars will need some aggressiveness; especially in the beginning when they are vastly outnumbered by human drivers.

Why? For instance, they are known to sit at 4-way stop intersections frozen because none of the other cars are coming to a complete legal stop.

If it turns out to be true, in practice, that practicing the defensive driving techniques we were all taught in Drivers’ Ed in school, don’t work in the real world, then I suppose the “aggression” in self-driving cars will have to be ratcheted up slightly in certain cases. But hopefully software engineers will approach such things very cautiously and conservatively. Better to wait a few more seconds at a stop sign than risk an accident! I know from personal experience that the defensive driving techniques we are taught don’t always work. For example, we’re taught to maintain a two-second interval between the car we’re driving and the car in front. Well, I can tell you from personal experience that if you try to maintain a two-second gap when driving on the freeway, in heavy or even moderate traffic, what will happen is an endless stream of other cars cutting in front of you. A gap of 1.5 seconds is about the best you can hope for, and probably even not that if the traffic is really heavy. But overall, I expect self-driving cars to work a lot better for getting from point A to point B, because — unlike human-driven… Read more »

These Cars are a BAD IDEA! It’s Just another way to control the masses..By taking away our freedom to drive and control our own cars. They’re turning all of Us into puppets & Gain Full Control of our lives to Drive us any place they decide to take us & for sure video Record everything during a trip ., Or even drive it off the roads should someone decide to & cause intentional fatalities.. I don’t trust them & I wouldn’t want any Part of it !

Trains and subways are even worse! Imagine, the trains can go only where the rails take them. Unbelievable that they take away our freedom to such a shocking extent! We should all go out and destroy all the trains right now. And also buses, airliners, and ships; passengers never get to drive or pilot those either!

/snark

Roads are an outrage also! And stoplights! I should be able to drive wherever I want whenever I want! Just another way to control the masses. I thought this was America!

Hmm, I didn’t realize that Google’s self-driving cars were limited to slow speeds. I see one off-site article claims 25 MPH, and a comment above seems to suggest 35 MPH.

Either way, I need to retract my claims that Tesla’s Autopilot/AutoSteer is inferior to Google’s system. Obviously at least in some respects, Tesla’s system is better. According to some reports, AutoSteer doesn’t work above 88 MPH*, but that’s certainly fast enough for legal highway speed in most place worldwide.

*No, really; that’s not a “Back to the Future” reference! 😉

The pod cars don’t exceed 25 mph and are limited to roads with speed limits of 35 mph or below. I think this is because they are licensed as NEVs, but don’t quote me on that. The Lexuses (Lexi?) in CA, WA, AZ and TX are highway-capable.

Google is way ahead of Tesla. If you had a contest today the results would be laughable. Tesla could overtake them, of course, though I question how far they can get without LIDAR.

Here’s a blind guy “driving” a Google car. In 2012!!!
https://youtu.be/cdgQpa1pUUE

I think you may be right about google being ahead, for a little while. However, you should remember that every car that tesla puts on the road, the AI gets smarter. Tesla is collecting millions of miles of machine learning every day. Every time a car drives down a road, the computer studies the best route, and learns and gets better. With google having less than 100 cars on the road, it could be years and years before they get to billions of miles of validation testing. Tesla will do it in months. Either way, the consumer wins and roads will be much safer. Also, Lidar is too expensive for mass market, seems like tesla has a great solution,