Waymo wants to let you install its self-driving tech in your car


  • TECH
  • Monday, 14 Jan 2019

The Mountain View-based Alphabet subsidiary has been testing Waymo One, an autonomous shuttle service that passengers can summon with an app, in the Phoenix metro area since late last year.

The leap into the driverless future may not mean buying an entirely new car. Google's autonomous driving project Waymo hopes you can one day install its software in your old model. 

Google's subsidiary Waymo wants to install its robot driving technology into private vehicles. 

"There will be, in the not-so-distant future, the opportunity to say 'I want to have a Waymo driver installed in my personal car'," says the company's CEO, John Krafcik, at CES in Las Vegas. 

Initially, Waymo wants to start introducing the software in taxis. The company has started this project on a trial basis in a suburb of the US city Phoenix in Arizona. 

Krafcik did not want to reveal where the project could be introduced next – but test robot cars are on the streets of Phoenix, Silicon Valley, Seattle and Detroit. And the company did note that New York would be "the most interesting" market to explore. 

"We're not building cars, we're building drivers," Krafcik says. 

Waymo was founded out of Google's project on self-driving cars almost a decade ago. The company is known to have made serious progress on this technology, but there are many carmakers, startups and service providers looking at developing robot drivers to install in cars. 

Krafcik also presented a re-enacted fatal accident that had happened to an Uber car, which the CEO said was important to do in order to collect data and analyse mistakes. Immediately after the accident, in which a woman crossing a road was killed by a driverless Uber car, Krafcik had said Waymo's system would not have made the same mistake. – dpa

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