Google Spinning Self-Driving Car Project Off Into Company Called ‘Waymo’

Image courtesy of Mariordo/Wikipedia

Google’s self-driving car project is now a separate company and it has a new name: it wants you to call it Waymo. Perhaps short for “way more” driverless cars?

“We’re now an independent company within the Alphabet umbrella,” Waymo CEO and former head of Google Cars Jon Krafcik told an audience at a press event in California today.

Previously, the company’s car efforts were housed under the Google X “moonshot” division of the company which is dedicated mostly to research and development efforts, while Waymo seems to be more of a commercial enterprise.

“We’ll continue to have access of infrastructure and resources Alphabet provides, but we also have this feeling of being a venture-backed startup,” Krafcik said.

He added that the project had the first fully driverless ride on public roads in Austin last year, maneuvering a car with no steering wheel and no pedals in “everyday traffic” on city streets.

“We’ve talked a lot about the two million miles we’ve driven on public roads” in four states, he added. “Now we’ve driven another million miles on public roads. We don’t talk as much about miles we put on in simulation. We’ve done over one billion miles in simululation And we have taken over 10,000 trips with Googlers and guests in places like Mountain View, Austin, and Phoenix.”

(H/t TechCrunch, USAToday)