Technology for robotic cars comes into own company

The Google parent Alphabet brings the development of technology for self-driving cars into an independent subsidiary under its corporate umbrella. Her future boss Jon Krafcik announced her name will be Waymo. “We are a company that deals with technology for autonomous driving,” he emphasized. Even before, Google managers kept repeating that they don’t want to become a car manufacturer themselves, but that they are looking for deals with established manufacturers. As early as 2009, Google put the first cars with technology for autonomous driving on the road. Since then, over 3.2 million kilometers have been covered, said Krafcik. Initially, they were converted Toyota vehiclesand Lexus, meanwhile Google is also testing cars from its own development. In one of the small electric two-seaters, a blind man was transported to Austin, Texas in October 2015 without an additional person on board. According to Google, it was the world’s first trip of its kind where the computer was completely on its own.

At the same time, according to a media report, the development of one’s own self-driving Google car without a steering wheel and pedals is not to be further advanced for the time being. Instead, the Silicon Valley industry service “The Information” wrote on Tuesday that there should be more cooperation with automakers for more traditional vehicles.

This gives rise to hopes of launching a commercial driver service with self-driving cars as early as the end of 2017, it said, citing informed people. The schedule depends on the development of the prototype with Fiat Chrysler . According to earlier announcements, 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans will initially be converted to accommodate Google’s robotic car technology in the vehicles.

There are still many hurdles for self-driving cars

Fiat Chrysler is the only known major auto company to consider using Google technology in its robotic cars. Otherwise the industry preferred to develop its own solutions. Large manufacturers are working on it themselves, and the suppliers Delphi and MobilEye have teamed up to sell the manufacturers a cheap technology for it. Also Volvo and the supplier Autolivwant to offer their developments to others. Google had introduced the small electric two-seater from its own development in 2014. It was said that in the future, the cars should be controlled completely by the computer and get along without a steering wheel or pedals. The prototypes that are currently on the road in Google’s hometown of Mountain View and in Austin, Texas, still have both, among other things because the traffic regulations require it. In industry circles it was said that the Internet group had an offer from the industry to build vehicles according to the concept.

Krafcik, a former top manager at the South Korean car maker Hyundai , had last led the project. Outsourcing to a separate company had been expected for some time. Long-time head of development Chris Urmson, who left the project in the summer, wanted to continue working on his own cars, wrote “The Information”. According to information from the tech blog “Recode”, Urmson now wants to set up his own start-up for robot car software.