Home >> Linux >> Google Spin-Off’s Newest Self-Driving Minivans Start Road Tests This Month

Google Spin-Off’s Newest Self-Driving Minivans Start Road Tests This Month

“We’re at an inflection point where we can begin to realize the potential of this technology,” the CEO of Waymo said today. An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:

Waymo, the self-driving car startup spun-off from Google late last year, will be deploying its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans onto public roads for the first time later this month, the company announced at the North American International Auto Show. The minivans will be hitting the roads in Mountain View, California and Phoenix, Arizona, where the company’s self-driving Lexus SUVs have already driven thousands of miles over the past few years…

But here’s the thing about these minivans. Waymo says that for the first time, it’s producing all the technology that enables its cars to completely drive themselves in-house… This allows the company to exert more control over its self-driving hardware, as well as bring the cost down to ridiculously cheap levels. In a speech in Detroit, Waymo CEO Jeff Krafcik said that by building its own LIDAR sensors, for example, the company was shaving 90 percent off its costs. That means sensors that Google purchased for $75,000 back in 2009 now only cost $7,500 for Waymo to build itself.
Waymo’s CEO says that using high-resolution LIDAR sensors “helps us more accurately predict where someone will walk next.”


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