Waymo


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Waymo applies for no-driver testing

Waymo, who is owned by Alphabet, this week applied to test cars without back up drivers on California roads, even as recent crashes involving autonomous vehicles has heightened fears about the safety of the technology

A source familiar with the matter told the San Francisco Chronicle that Waymo plans to extensively map the Californian terrain by having vehicles with test drivers cover it first, before using no-driver cars.

The move comes less than a month after a fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber SUV in Arizona raised fresh concerns about the safety of autonomous cars. That vehicle had a backup driver behind the wheel when it struck and killed a pedestrian on March 19, but dashcam videos showed the driver was not watching the road.

Waymo CEO, John Krafcik said that the Arizona tragedy would not have happened with a Waymo car.

“We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one,” Krafcik told a car dealers group the week after the accident.

The company started testing autonomous vehicles in 2009, when the idea was considered as incredibly forward-thinking. It was the third company to receive a permit for road tests, with backup drivers behind the wheel, in California. 

Waymo designed a bubble-shaped autonomous car that had no steering wheel or brake pedal, but California officials would not allow it onto public roads until those features had been added.

 

“Waymo has done extensive vehicle testing on our local streets with a good safety record,” Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich, said in a statement. He commended the company for committing to “transparency and information sharing.”

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Jaguar teams up with Waymo

Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover announce long-term partnership

Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo have announced a long-term strategic partnership. Together, the two companies will develop the world’s first premium self-driving electric vehicle for Waymo’s driverless transportation service.

Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo (formerly Google self-driving car project) will work together to design and engineer self-driving Jaguar I-PACE vehicles. Up to 20,000 I-PACEs will be built in the first two years of production and be available for riders of Waymo’s driverless service, serving a potential one million trips per day.

The Waymo I-Paces will initially be used for trials in the US later this year to gather reliability and safety data for both firms, and specifically to help Jaguar with the base I-Pace and future models.

The Jaguar I-PACE was launched earlier this month and is the company’s first full-electric SUV. 

Currently, Waymo is the only company with a fleet of fully self-driving cars — with no one in the front seat — on public roads. Later this year Waymo will launch the world’s first self-driving transportation service allowing members of the public to use Waymo’s app to request a vehicle.

“With the Jaguar I-PACE we have a world-beating car that’s captured the imagination of customers around the world. Our passion for further advancing smart mobility needs expert long-term partners. In joining forces with Waymo we are pioneering to push the boundaries of technology. Together we will deliver the self-driving Waymo Jaguar I-PACE with the grace, space and eco-pace that customers expect,” said Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO. 

John Krafcik, Waymo CEO, added: “While we’ve been focused at Waymo on building the world’s most experienced driver, the team at Jaguar Land Rover has developed an all-new battery-electric platform that looks to set a new standard in safety, design and capability. We’re sure Waymo riders will enjoy the safe, premium and delightful experience that the self-driving I-Pace will provide.”
 

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Intel: auto drive cars will lead to safer roads

Intel says autonomous driving will end human driving errors and lead to safer roads for everyone.

Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel Corporation, has discussed his company’s collaboration with Google company Waymo, and says he sees the venture helping to achieve these goals.

“Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes worldwide every year – an average 3,287 deaths a day. Nearly 90 per cent of those collisions are caused by human error,” Krzanich says.

“Self-driving technology can help prevent these errors by giving autonomous vehicles the capacity to learn from the collective experience of millions of cars – avoiding the mistakes of others and creating a safer driving environment.”

Waymo’s newest vehicles, the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, feature Intel-based technologies that offer Waymo’s fleet the processing power required for high-level to fully autonomous driving.

Krzanich says that at the pace autonomous technology is developing, he expects his children to be using the tech exclusively.

“That’s an astounding thought: Something almost 90 per cent of Americans do every day will end within a generation. With so much life-saving potential, it’s a rapid transformation that Intel is excited to be at the forefront of along with other industry leaders like Waymo.”

Autonomous vehicle manufacturers are moving into the Pacific. Last week Auckland company Ohmio Automation announced it will establish a production facility to build autonomous vehicles in Christchurch, and French company Navya stated its intention to build a production facility in Adelaide, Australia.

 

 

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500 Chrysler minivans join AV trial

Local residents can test the self-driving cars

Google’s self-driving car project, recently renamed Waymo, is set to expand in Phoenix, Arizona, with Fiat Chrysler confirming an extra 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will join the 100 already on American roads fitted out with Waymo’s autonomous technology.

Waymo has also announced that members of the public can use the fleet of self-driving cars for everyday travel, and is taking applications from Phoenix residence who want to use the service.

“The collaboration between FCA and Waymo has been advantageous for both companies as we continue to work together to fully understand the steps needed to bring self-driving vehicles to market,” says Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

“The addition of 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans is a further acknowledgement of the hard work put forth by both engineering teams.”

Waymo CEO John Krafcik says the collaboration is “helping both companies learn how to bring self-driving cars to market, and realise the safety and mobility benefits of this technology.”

The Chrysler minivan’s electrical systems, powertrain and chassis has been modified to accommodate Waymo’s hardware, which has racked up nearly 3 million miles on on-road testing.

With self-driving technology shifting from simulation software to the roads, traditional car companies are teaming up with tech firms to ensure their stake in the rapidly growing business.

Uber’s self-driving trial in partnership with Volvo began in December last year, and stole headlines after an SUV crashed while in autonomous mode. The vehicle was found not to be at fault, and the trial quickly resumed two days later.

Ford teamed up with start-up Argo in February, and plans to begin testing AVs in Europe this year. General Motors bought out Cruise automation in 2016 to bolster their self-driving ambitions, and recently partnered with Lyft to launch self-driving Chevrolet Bolts on the road, currently planned for 2018.

Despite some public unease around self-driving cars, experts are confident autonomous technology is a safer option than human drivers – of the 1.2 million deaths that occur on roads every year, 94 per cent are attributed to human error.  

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