“For nearly eight years, we’ve been working towards a future without the tired, drunk or distracted driving that contributes to 1.2 million lives lost on roads every year,” writes John Krafcik, CEO of Google Self-Driving Cars, on a recent post on Medium. “Since 2009, our prototypes have spent the equivalent of 300 years of driving time on the road,” he continues, “and we’ve led the industry from a place where self-driving cars seem like science fiction to one where city planners all over the world are designing for a self-driven future.”
This is not new information. In fact, it’s no secret that Google has been working on self-driving car technology for quite a while now – long enough even, that Uber, Tesla, and even Apple have all had the time to make their own advancements in the field, offering some competition to the self-driving car market that was once dominated solely by the search engine giant. So why all the fanfare? Because Google just officially announced that their self-driving car intiative is being spun off into its own business under Google’s Alphabet conglomerate.
The new business, to be called Waymo (which stands for “a new way forward in mobility”), is evidence of Google’s confidence in their self-driving car endeavor, even despite rumours from a few days ago that they may be pulling the plug completely. What this means as far as the availability of consumer-grade self-driving cars remains to be seen, but given the growing investment into self-driving cars, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to imagine that we may have an industry standard for autonomous vehicles not long after 2020.
Featured image from Google on Medium