Eric Tipan / Waymo | December 14, 2016 09:14
Waymo to exist as independent company under Alphabet umbrella
From a small division under search giant Google, their self-driving vehicle project is now all grown-up and given free rein to advance the business under the Alphabet multinational conglomerate.
Now called Waymo, this independent entity will continue the development of the autonomous vehicle venture with the goal of monetizing the new company’s vast resources acquired and learned through the seven years of R&D.
"We're now an independent company within the Alphabet umbrella. It's an indication of the maturity of our technology. We can imagine our self-driving tech being used in all sorts of areas," said John Krafcik, Waymo's Chief Executive.
Waymo stands for ‘A new way forward in mobility’ but instead of building and manufacturing autonomous vehicles, it aims to develop the technology and then license it to automakers, ride-sharing companies and as an aid for fleet management.
Currently, Waymo’s self-driving vehicles have had more than three million kilometers of testing on real roads in the U.S.
Aside from the unique prototype car that Waymo has been testing, they are also using modified Lexus RX450h units that feature self-driving tech. In the future, they plan to add 100 units of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to their fleet.
For now, test drivers are still conducting on-road tests to gather data and feedback to fine-tune their fleet of autonomous vehicles.