Google spinoff Waymo will deploy driverless car fleet for first time in January 2017

Google’s driverless car project has never ceased to wow us, from its first iteration in 2008 to spinning off the department into its own company at the end of 2016.

Google continued this trend by announcing at the North American International Auto Show that its spinoff Waymo will deploy its first fleet of driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans later this month.

For the first time since the partnership between Google and Chrysler formed in May 2016, designs which were formerly highly confidential were demonstrated to the public.

The minivans will touch down in Mountain View, California and will also follow the previously trialled driverless Lexus SUVs to the streets of Phoenix, Arizona.

In addition however, Waymo claims to be producing all the technology for these vehicles in-house, reports The Verge. This means producing its own cameras, sensors and mapping technology rather than plucking pieces from other OEMs.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a speech that by producing these parts in house, the company is able to save 90 percent off is costs. Despite this however, Waymo is still focused on exploring partnerships with OEMs like Chrysler or Honda to produce fleets of vehicles like the one being deployed at the end of January. 

Waymo has stressed in the past that it’s not interested in becoming an auto parts supplier, and Google recently abandoned its plans to build an entire driverless car from top to bottom.

It’s also been rumoured that Waymo and Chrysler may start an autonomous ride-sharing service to compete with the likes of Uber, Lyft and the much-anticipated Tesle ride-hailing platform.

[source]The Verge[/source]