Waymo LLC, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc is an American autonomous driving technology development company that started a limited trial of self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. Waymo is all over the news in the recent past for its successful launch of driverless cars made available to the public.
The History of Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars
The development of self-driving technology began in January 2009 at the Company’s secretive X lab. In 2010, lawmakers expressed concerns about regulating the emerging technology and passed a law in Nevada in June 2011 concerning the operation of automated driving technology. The law went into effect in March 2012 and the first license was issued by the Nevada Department of Motor vehicles to a Toyota Prius which was modified with Google’s experimental driverless technology.
In late May 2014, Google revealed a new prototype of its a driverless car with no steering, gas pedal, and a brake pedal. It was 100% automated. The intention of this production was to serve as a platform for experimentation and learning. They were not meant for mass production.
1. What Is the Meaning of Waymo?
- A. Way Forward in Mobile
- B. Way Front in Mobile
- C. Way Fast in Mobile
- D. Way Fly in Mobile
The world’s first fully driverless ride on public roads came into existence in 2015. The ride was taken by Steve Mahan, the former CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, in Austin Texas. This was the first-ever driverless car ride that went public without a test driver or a cop. The driverless car did not have steering or floor pedals.
In 2016, the unit was renamed as WAYMO which was made into a separate division in Alphabet. WAYMO means “a new way forward in mobility.” Waymo later tested its driverless cars on public roads.
In 2017, Waymo used new sensors and chips that were less expensive to manufacture, cameras that improve visibility, wipers to clean the lidar system. Waymo manufactured self-driving hardware in-house. The sensors and hardware developed by them improved the vision system and radar.
Waymo Driverless Riding Service
After more than a decade, Waymo driverless riding service is open to customers. “This car is all yours with no one upfront,” says the notification from Waymo app. Ride in Waymo is definitely different with no one else in the car. More than a dozen journalists have experienced driverless rides in 2017. After booking a ride, a minivan would appear and navigate its way to your destination. In July 2019, Waymo was permitted by California regulators to transport passengers in its vehicles.
The company’s driverless rides are currently free and take place in the geofenced area. Though the company is implying their confidence levels, Waymo vehicles with safety drivers don’t take riders to the most popular riding destination: the airport!