Google's Self-Driving Car Is Newly Created Waymo And It's A Minivan

Jan 19, 2017 06:20 AM EST | Hem Cervantes

At the Automobili-D conference, it was revealed that the Google's self-driving car is the newly created Waymo. Waymo CEO John Krafcik unveiled that the company has designed and fully enhances the sensor suite, processing system, and software.

Waymo is an autonomous car under Alphabet Inc. of Google. The newly created Waymo is adding 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans which are built for autonomy. In Michigan, Waymo and Fiat Chrysler's engineers collaborated to build hybrid-powered vans. It was said that the computers run on Google's own software algorithms and the suite of sensors.

Waymo has software and sensors that are designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, road work and more obstacles in all directions. These sensors are LiDAR, radars and together with cameras on the roof and the sides of the car. These sensors perceive on two million miles of real-world experience to navigate safely and comfortably through everyday traffic.

The LiDAR enables the vehicle to scan the road and in the immediate vicinity around the car. Waymo also has sensors which focus on the vibration and temperature challenges faced in the automotive environment. The forward facing camera on the roof works with eight others stationed around the electric car to provide 360 degrees of visions. The radar sensors can detect objects in nature include rain, fog or snow.

Waymo claims to have cut the cost by 90 percent from the first sensors it used which cost more than $75,000 because all of the sensors are designed to work together. It was created to a self-driving ecosystem both in hardware and software.

The company began in 2009 and in 2015 the project completed its first self-driving car. In 2016, the first road test was in Austin, Texas to a sole blind man, Steve Mahan. Mahan said that it was like driving with a very good driver. Despite the reports saying that Waymo will start carrying customers by the end of 2017, the automotive executive John Krafcik plans to make Google self-driving car available to the public in 2020.


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