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Old 14th December 2016, 12:21   #1
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Default Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

Google has been working on its self-driving car project from quite long. The company claims to have tested its autonomous cars for over 31 lakh kilometers. The tech-giant now appears to be taking another major step in this domain. Google's parent company - Alphabet, has announced that its self-driving project is moving out from its research lab and will now operate as a stand-alone company called Waymo.

The new company will be based out of Mountain View, California. It will be headed by John Krafcik, who has been designated as the CEO of Waymo. Krafcik has claimed that Waymo will exist as an arm of Google's parent company - Alphabet, and will operate as a venture-backed start-up. According to the CEO, 'Waymo' stands for "A new way forward in mobility".

Another important update coming from Google's autonomous car project states that the company has now decided to put a hold on its intentions of making a dedicated self-driving car without steering wheel and control pedals. Instead, Waymo will be focusing on collaborating with other automakers to provide autonomous technology in conventional cars.

This comes as a major departure from Google's earlier aims regarding its in-house self-driving cars. Currently, Google's autonomous vehicle testing fleet includes Lexus SUVs and its own pod cars. These pod cars are bubble-shaped small vehicles that are fitted with advanced radar and lidar systems, but don't get a steering wheel or accelerator/brake pedals. Google believed that since it is building purely autonomous vehicles, controls for the driver won't be a requirement.

However, the company has now acknowledged the fact that current laws around various countries, especially the United States, won't allow autonomous cars where the driver can't take control in emergency situations. Moreover, customers too would be apprehensive of putting their money on such cars, especially since the autonomous vehicle business is still an unknown territory. Hence, the automaker has now decided to partner with existing automakers for the time being. The company is also planning to launch its autonomous vehicle-driven ride-hailing service by the end of next year.

Source: autoevolution

Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo-imagine.jpg

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Old 14th December 2016, 18:05   #2
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

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The company is also planning to launch its autonomous vehicle-driven ride-hailing service by the end of next year.
Wonder how that will work. I thought law prohibits a car by driving itself. So if you are hailing an autonomous car, there would still be a driver in it. So what savings does it provide to the hailing service provider?
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Old 15th December 2016, 11:05   #3
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

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So if you are hailing an autonomous car, there would still be a driver in it
The driver is only there temporarily. Autonomous software is still in its infancy, and having a person would just make people feel 'safer'. Of course, there are legal reasons too.

But Google & every other large automotive company out there expect that driver to disappear in the future .
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Old 22nd December 2016, 13:02   #4
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

Honda and Google in talks over self-driving technology

Honda has officially revealed that it is in talks with Google's new self-driving car division - Waymo, for a deal that would equip some of the Japanese automaker's vehicles with the tech giant's self-driving technology. The talks are currently for research levels and not for production vehicles.

If the deal is finalised, Honda will provide Google a few vehicles that will be modified to run on the latter's self-driving system. These vehicles will then be a part of the testing fleet of Waymo, which is currently undergoing public road tests in four US cities.

Google already has a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which will be supplying 100 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans. These minivans will be equipped with Google's self-driving system, including the required sensors, telematics systems and dedicated computers, and will be inducted into Google's test fleet by early next year. General Motors and Ford had also approached Google for a similar deal, though things didn't finalise with both these carmakers.

Google announced the formation of its stand-alone self-driving arm - Waymo last week. The tech giant had also revealed that it would now be focusing on collaborating with other automakers to provide autonomous technologies in conventional cars, rather than building its own dedicated self-driving cars.

Source: Bloomberg
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Old 6th January 2017, 17:51   #5
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

Honda has revealed it's Riding Assist technology for motorcycles. Awesome concept and tech IMO.

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Old 1st November 2017, 00:34   #6
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

Waymo's testing ground.

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Old 8th November 2017, 14:26   #7
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

In my humble opinion, this is huge! Autonomous vehicles are here!

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind the wheel!

Waymo started this mid-October, and given that there is no news around this, it seems that the exercise has been pretty successful. (Linux nerds will remember the motto - No news is Good news!)

Waymo intends to invite people for rides as well. Waymo intends to start doing this shortlywithin a 100-square-mile area of the town of Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix. The next step according to Waymo's CEO John Krafcik is a commercial ride-hail service, in which riders can hail one of the company’s autonomous minivans via an app like Uber or Lyft. “People will get to use our fleet of on-demand vehicles, to do anything from commute to work, get home from a night out, or run errands”.



Source: https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/7/1...ler-autonomous
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Old 19th December 2017, 13:11   #8
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

Found this interesting piece on Waymo. Its a long read but worth it if you want to understand the details a little more.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...lities/537648/

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The power of the virtual worlds of Carcraft is not that they are a beautiful, perfect, photorealistic renderings of the real world. The power is that they mirror the real world in the ways that are significant to the self-driving car and allow it to get billions more miles than physical testing would allow. For the driving software running the simulation, it is not like making decisions out there in the real world. It is the same as making decisions out there in the real world.
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Waymo might simulate driving down a particularly tricky road hundreds of thousands of times in a single day. Collectively, they now drive 8 million miles per day in the virtual world.
Quote:
“Our cars see the world. They understand the world. And then for anything that is a dynamic actor in the environment—a car, a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcycle—our cars understand intent. It’s not enough to just track a thing through a space. You have to understand what it is doing,” Dmitri Dolgov, Waymo’s vice president of engineering, tells me. “This is a key problem in building a capable and safe self-driving car. And that sort of modeling, that sort of understanding of the behaviors of other participants in the world, is very similar to this task of modeling them in simulation.”
Quote:
Waymo seems like it has driving as a technical skill—the speed and direction parts of it—down. It is driving as a human social activity that they’re working on now. What is it to drive “normally,” not just “legally”? And how does one teach an artificial intelligence what that means?
From a very technical point of view, Its interesting to see the way Waymo is approaching the many small/large problems they face. Mix of Physical + Software simulation looks like the most prudent + fastest method to build fully autonomous vehicles which can deal with just about anything that "humans" can throw at it.

Another interesting paper on the approach: https://mcity.umich.edu/wp-content/u...AV-Testing.pdf
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Old 19th December 2017, 23:35   #9
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Default Re: Google creates dedicated autonomous car company - Waymo

I moved to Mountain View earlier this year, and see these Waymo cars (Chrysler Pacifica vans) everywhere. They frequently get honked at for being too slow during left turns (the equivalent of right turn in India). I think they sometimes are so wary of oncoming traffic, that they refuse to make the turn. Of course, there is a person who overrides this when this happens.
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