Waymo is a driverless car company that was previously managed and operated by Google. You could say that Waymo cars are the wayfarers of the automated driver systems that all the major auto manufacturers are working with. Waymo cars have already docked huge amounts of road and test time, and have compiled so much more information than any other company has except Google on the subject of self-driving cars.
History of Waymo
Waymo started out as a Google project. The original project name was, “the Google self-driving car project”. While the project did sport an unimaginative name, it is clear what the goal was. Waymo is a private company who took the Google car project over and is now going to witness the fruits of their labour hit the roads. In fact, they have already been hitting roads for a long time. Since 2009, the project has undergone many changes and at present, several models of Waymo cars are completely autonomous. Over the years, the company has been testing on real city streets and as of 2017, Waymo boasts more than two million miles of driverless driving.
Technology of Waymo
Waymo has a unique technology that relies mostly on LiDAR to do the work of a driver. Other companies, like Tesla’s Autopilot, use entirely different approaches to achieve the same goal. LiDAR is a system that is located on the top of the car. It is a kind of laser radar, hence the name. The device sends out lasers in all directions to discover and create a constant 3D image of the area surrounding the car. To complement the information gathering system, there are several sensors in and around the car, and a camera in the dash to monitor the area directly in front of the car. There is also a GPS unit on the rear of the car, which keeps it in direct contact with the satellites above.
Experience of Waymo
Since their first drive in 2015, Waymo cars have logged an impressive number of test miles on normal, city streets. Over two million at the time of writing this article and that number is rapidly increasing. What that means is that the company has had plenty of time to iron out any kinks in the technology and by their expected deadline, in 2020, they will be able to put several models of well-tuned autonomous technology on the roads for the public to buy. It does not take much to imagine how pleasant your trip to work will be when you do not have to pay attention to the road and all of the surrounding dangers.
While Waymo will probably have plenty of competition in a few years from now, their cars and technology is probably the safest option out there based on the amount of work that has already gone into what they do. Waymo was the first company ever to have a completely autonomous car drive through a city with no driver behind the wheel as a failsafe. The result was successful and since then they have logged around two million miles of test drives.