Waymo: Google’s self-driving car announced

The long-rumoured Google project finally has a name: Waymo. But regulations mean that it's gonna be a while before we see these vehicles on the road

Yesterday, Google or rather Alphabet announced the launch of the Waymo. After nearly a decade of trials, prototypes and 300 years’ worth of drive times, the dream becomes a reality. Waymo’s mission is to be a self-driving technology company that makes transport for people and objects safer and easier. They believe that they can help change the entire landscape that city planners are working with by launching the car. It aims to see the vehicles used as personal transports, ride-sharing vehicles, logistics solutions, and even as an alternative to public transport.

Waymo
Waymo’s aim is that the vehicles are used as personal transports, ride-sharing vehicles, logistics solutions and an alternative to public transport

Thanks to advancements in sensor technology and machine learning, driverless cars may become a regular sight sooner than later. Autonomous transport is trending right now, with Tesla, Apple, Volvo, Uber and others are all vying for top spots. This means that the potential for this industry is unprecedented in terms of scope and commercial value.

Waymo
US government regulations require vehicles to have a steering wheel and pedals, so we’ll need to wait a while

Because of the same advancements, a self-driving car drove a blind person through Austin’s suburbs last year. This ride was possible because Waymo can handle difficult driving tasks, such as detecting and responding to emergency vehicles, maneuvering multi-lane four-way stops, and predicting how unpredictable humans will act.

Waymo says that its ultimate goal is to equip its driverless system on cars without steering wheels or pedals. It doesn’t want us to feel as if we need to constantly monitor the vehicle. However, government regulations currently require a vehicle to have steering wheels and pedals, so it’s still a work in progress.

Waymo
Expect deeper integration with search, maps and other Google apps in the near future

Next for the company is to integrate itself better with its core systems, like Google search, Maps and other programs. This should help make the driverless cars smoother and more natural, add a map system to allow it to go to more places, and perform under different weather conditions.