Waymo Develops Their Own Sensors for 'Self-Driving' Car

Jan 10, 2017 06:10 AM EST | Danica Esguerra

Waymo, Google's formerly self-driving car project recently developed a feature inside their test model. The company added sensors into their software that may allow full autonomous driving.

Waymo is a startup from Google that tackles cars with the self-driving feature. The company revealed at the North American International Auto Show today the test model for the self-driving car, the Chrysler Pacifica. The Chrysler Pacifica will feature a fully built sensor built in-house. According to Waymo's CEO, John Krafcik, revealed that Chrysler Pacifica will feature an in-house built sensor in its system alongside the self-driving software. This means that all the cameras, sensors, and mapping technology are built inside instead of purchasing the parts needed for it.

By building their technology in-house, this saved up money that is meant for purchasing parts from other companies. According to Velodyne, the top supplier of LIDAR said that the cost for the sensors is around $7,999. Initially, it's around $75,000 back in 2009, when Google first purchased it. According to Krafcik, they built their own LIDAR sensors for the car, which costs $7,500. While it is $400 cheaper than the original, Krafcik said that their sensors match the exact specifications for it. They even developed two types of LIDAR sensors; a short-range one that allows seeing people and objects near the car, and the long-range which is used to spot objects from a far distance.

The minivan will hit the roads later this month. This is something that the public is looking forward to ever since the partnership between Google and Chrysler established in May 2016 for the project. Unfortunately, Google decided to drop the project on developing the self-driving car. Instead, they are focusing more on the hardware and software development that will be needed in order to create the Pacifica.There are also plans that Chrysler and Waymo are planning to have their own ride-sharing service, similar with Uber and Lyft that will solely rely on autonomous driving.

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