Waymo(Redirected from Google driverless car)
|Predecessor||Google Self-Driving Car Project|
(as the Google Self-Driving Car Project)|
December 13, 2016 (as Waymo LLC.)
|Headquarters||Mountain View, California, United States|
Google had begun testing the self-driving car project in 2009. Alphabet describes Waymo as "a self-driving tech company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around". The new company is working towards making self-driving cars available to the public soon. The company plans that "[its] next step will be to let people trial fully self-driving cars to do everyday things like run errands or commute to work."
On November 7, 2017, Waymo announced that it had begun testing driverless cars without a safety driver at the driver position.
Google's self driving car project was formerly led by Sebastian Thrun, former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View. Thrun's team at Stanford created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and its US$2 million prize from the United States Department of Defense. The team developing the system consisted of 15 engineers working for Google, including Chris Urmson, Mike Montemerlo, and Anthony Levandowski who had worked on the DARPA Grand and Urban Challenges.
In October 2010, an attorney for the California Department of Motor Vehicles raised concerns that "[t]he technology is ahead of the law in many areas", citing state laws that "all presume to have a human being operating the vehicle".
According to a May 2011 article in The New York Times, policy makers and regulators have argued that new laws will be required if driverless vehicles are to become a reality because "the technology is now advancing so quickly that it is in danger of outstripping existing law, some of which dates back to the era of horse-drawn carriages".
Nevada passed a law in June 2011 concerning the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada, which went into effect on March 1, 2012. A Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology was licensed by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in May 2012. This was the first license issue in the United States for a self-driven car. License plates issued in Nevada for autonomous cars will have a red background and feature an infinity symbol (∞) on the left side because, according to the DMV Director, "...using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the 'car of the future'". Nevada's regulations require a person behind the wheel and one in the passenger's seat during tests.
In late May 2014, Google revealed a new prototype of its driverless car, which had no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brake pedal, being 100% autonomous. and unveiled a fully functioning prototype in December of that year that they planned to test on San Francisco Bay Area roads beginning in 2015.
In 2015, Nathaniel Fairfield, Waymo's Principal Engineer, provided "the world's first fully driverless ride on public roads" to an old friend of his, who is legally blind. Steve Mahan, former CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, was the recipient of the first self-driving ride on public roads, in Austin, Texas. In 2015, the project completed its first driverless ride on public roads, giving a ride to a sole blind man in Austin, Texas. It was the first driverless ride that was on a public road and was not accompanied by a test driver or police escort. The car had no steering wheel or floor pedals.
In December 2016, the unit was renamed Waymo, and made into its own separate division. The name Waymo is derived from its mission, "a new way forward in mobility".
A court filing in Waymo’s ongoing lawsuit against Uber revealed Google has spent over $1.1 Billion on the project between 2009 and 2015, to be compared with the $1 billion acquisition of Cruise Automation by General Motors in March 2016, the same investment by Ford in a joint venture with Argo AI in February 2017, or the $680 million for Otto shelled out by Uber in August 2016.
The Waymo project team has equipped a number of different types of cars with the self-driving equipment, including the Toyota Prius, Audi TT, Fiat Chrysler Pacifica and Lexus RX450h. Google has also developed their own custom vehicle, which is assembled by Roush Enterprises and uses equipment from Bosch, ZF Lenksysteme, LG, and Continental.
As of June 2014[update], the system works with a very high definition inch-precision map of the area the vehicle is expected to use, including how high the traffic lights are; in addition to on-board systems, some computation is performed on remote computer farms.
Google's robotic cars have about $150,000 in equipment including a $70,000 LIDAR system. The rangefinder mounted on the top is a Velodyne 64-beam laser. This laser allows the vehicle to generate a detailed 3D map of its environment. The car then takes these generated maps and combines them with high-resolution maps of the world, producing different types of data models that allow it to drive itself.
In August 2016 alone, their cars traveled a "total of 170,000 miles; of those, 126,000 miles were driven autonomously (i.e. the car was fully in control)".
Beginning of 2017, Waymo reported to California DMV a total of 636,868 miles covered by the fleet in autonomous mode, and the associated 124 disengagements, for the period from December 1, 2015 through November 30, 2016. 
In 2012, the test group of vehicles included six Toyota Prius, an Audi TT, and three Lexus RX450h, each accompanied in the driver's seat by one of a dozen drivers with unblemished driving records and in the passenger seat by one of Google's engineers. By May 2015, that fleet consisted solely of 23 Lexus SUVs.
Google's vehicles have traversed San Francisco's Lombard Street, famed for its steep hairpin turns, and through city traffic. The vehicles have driven over the Golden Gate Bridge and around Lake Tahoe. The system drives at the speed limit it has stored on its maps and maintains its distance from other vehicles using its system of sensors. The system provides an override that allows a human driver to take control of the car by stepping on the brake or turning the wheel, similar to cruise control systems already found in many cars today.
On March 28, 2012, Google posted a video showing Steve Mahan, a resident of Morgan Hill, California, being taken on a ride in Google's self-driving Toyota Prius. In the video, Mahan states "Ninety-five percent of my vision is gone, I'm well past legally blind". In the description of the video, it is noted that the carefully programmed route takes him from his home to a drive-through restaurant, then to the dry cleaning shop, and finally back home.
In August 2012, the team announced that they have completed over 300,000 autonomous-driving miles (500,000 km) accident-free, typically having about a dozen cars on the road at any given time, and are starting to test them with single drivers instead of in pairs. Four U.S. states have passed laws permitting autonomous cars as of December 2013: Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. A law proposed in Texas would establish criteria for allowing "autonomous motor vehicles".
In April 2014, the team announced that their vehicles have now logged nearly 700,000 autonomous miles (1.1 million km).
In June 2015, the team announced that their vehicles have now driven over 1,000,000 mi (1,600,000 km), stating that this was "the equivalent of 75 years of typical U.S. adult driving", and that in the process they had encountered 200,000 stop signs, 600,000 traffic lights, and 180 million other vehicles. Google also announced its prototype vehicles were being road tested in Mountain View, California. During testing, the prototypes' speed will not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h) and will have safety drivers aboard the entire time. As a consequence, one of the vehicles was stopped by police for impeding traffic flow.
Google has expanded its road-testing to the state of Texas, where regulations do not prohibit cars without pedals and a steering wheel. Bills were introduced by interested parties to similarly change the legislation in California.
In June 2015, Google founder Sergey Brin confirmed that there had been 12 collisions as of that date, eight of which involved being rear-ended at a stop sign or traffic light, two in which the vehicle was side-swiped by another driver, one of which involved another driver rolling through a stop sign, and one where a Google employee was manually driving the car. As of July 2015[update], Google's 23 self-driving cars have been involved in 14 minor collisions on public roads, but Google maintains that, in all cases other than the February 2016 incident, the vehicle itself was not at fault because the cars were either being manually driven or the driver of another vehicle was at fault.
On February 14, 2016 while creeping forward to a stoplight, a Google self-driving car attempted to avoid sandbags blocking its path. During the maneuver it struck the side of a bus. Google addressed the crash, saying "In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved there wouldn't have been a collision". Some incomplete video footage of the crash is available. Google characterized the crash as a misunderstanding and a learning experience. The company also stated "This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day".
Additionally, Google maintains monthly reports that include any traffic incidents that their self-driving cars have been involved in.
Google is required by the California DMV to report the number of incidents during testing where the human driver took control. Some of these incidents are not reported by Google when simulations indicate the car should have coped on its own. There is some controversy concerning this distinction between driver-initiated disengagements that Google reports and those that it does not report.
As of 28 August 2014[update], according to Computer World Google's self-driving cars were in fact unable to use about 99% of US roads. As of the same date, the latest prototype had not been tested in heavy rain or snow due to safety concerns. Because the cars rely primarily on pre-programmed route data, they do not obey temporary traffic lights and, in some situations, revert to a slower "extra cautious" mode in complex unmapped intersections. The vehicle has difficulty identifying when objects, such as trash and light debris, are harmless, causing the vehicle to veer unnecessarily. Additionally, the LIDAR technology cannot spot some potholes or discern when humans, such as a police officer, are signaling the car to stop. Google projects plan on having these issues fixed by 2020.
In 2012, Google founder Sergey Brin stated that Google Self-Driving car will be available for the general public in 2017, and in 2014 this schedule was updated by project director Chris Urmson to indicate a possible release from 2017 to 2020. Google has partnered with suppliers including Bosch, ZF Lenksysteme, LG, Continental, and Roush, and has contacted manufacturers including General Motors, Ford, Toyota (including Lexus), Daimler and Volkswagen.
In August 2013, news reports surfaced about Robo-Taxi, a proposed driverless vehicle taxicab service from Google. These reports re-appeared again in early 2014, following the granting of a patent to Google for an advertising fee funded transportation service which included autonomous vehicles as a method of transport. Paid Google consultant Larry Burns says self-driving, taxi-like vehicles "should be viewed as a new form of public transportation".
In a December 2016 blog post, CEO John Krafcik stated: "We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport" but also that "Our next step as Waymo will be to let people use our vehicles to do everyday things like run errands, commute to work, or get safely home after a night on the town". Temporary use of vehicles is known as Transportation as a Service.
Legislation has been passed in four U.S. states and Washington, D.C. allowing driverless cars. The state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011, permitting the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada, after Google had been lobbying in that state for robotic car laws. The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for an autonomous car in May 2012, to a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology. In April 2012, Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads, and California became the third when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google Headquarters in Mountain View. In December 2013, Michigan became the fourth state to allow testing of driverless cars on public roads. In July 2014, the city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho adopted a robotics ordinance that includes provisions to allow for self-driving cars.
In December 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles issued long-anticipated proposed regulations governing autonomous vehicles, and invited public comments on the draft regulations at meetings in Sacramento on January 28, 2016, and in Los Angeles on February 2, 2016. If adopted, the regulations would require self-driving cars to have a steering wheel and pedals, and a human driver onboard who holds an "autonomous vehicle operator certificate." They would also hold the occupant responsible for accidents and violations of traffic laws, regardless of whether or not they were at the wheel. The DMV summarized its perspective by stating, "Given the potential risks associated with deployment of such a new technology, [we believe] that manufacturers need to obtain more experience in testing driverless vehicles on public roads prior to making this technology available to the general public". Lobbying by project manager Chris Urmson from Google in the US Senate is underway to change this.
Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al.Edit
In February 2017, Waymo sued Uber and its subsidiary self-driving trucking company, Otto, for allegedly stealing Waymo's trade secrets and infringing upon its patents. The company claimed that three ex-Google employees including Anthony Levandowski stole trade secrets and joined Uber. The infringement is related to Waymo's proprietary LIDAR technology.
The trial began February 5, 2018, and was dismissed on February 9, as a settlement was announced with Uber giving Waymo the equivalent of $244 million in Uber equity and agreeing to ensure Uber does not infringe Waymo's intellectual property.
- "Journey - Waymo".
- Davies, Alex. "Meet the Blind Man Who Convinced Google Its Self-Driving Car Is Finally Ready".
- "Waymo is first to put fully self-driving cars on US roads without a safety driver". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
- John Markoff (October 9, 2010). "Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- Sebastian Thrun (October 9, 2010). "What we're driving at". The Official Google Blog. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- John Markoff (May 10, 2011). "Google Lobbies Nevada To Allow Self-Driving Cars". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
- Alex Knapp (June 22, 2011). "Nevada Passes Law Authorizing Driverless Cars". Forbes. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- "Nevada enacts law authorizing autonomous (driverless) vehicles". Green Car Congress. June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Mary Slosson (May 8, 2012). "Google gets first self-driven car license in Nevada". Reuters. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- Cy Ryan (May 7, 2012). "Nevada issues Google first license for self-driving car". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- A First Drive. YouTube. 27 May 2014.
- Liz Gannes. "Google Introduces New Self Driving Car at the Code Conference - Re/code". Re/code.
- "Google's 'goofy' new self-driving car a sign of things to come". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
- On the road with self-driving car user number one
- Say hello to Waymo
- Encalada, Debbie (December 14, 2016). "Google Confirms First Ever Driverless Self-Driving Car Ride". Complex Media.
- Etherington, Darrell; Kolodny, Lora. "Google's self-driving car unit becomes Waymo".
- Mark Harris (15 Sep 2017). "Google Has Spent Over $1.1 Billion on Self-Driving Tech". IEEE spectrum.
- Damon Lavrinc (April 16, 2012). "Exclusive: Google Expands Its Autonomous Fleet With Hybrid Lexus RX450h". Wired. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Gibbs, Samuel (2017-11-07). "Google sibling Waymo launches fully autonomous ride-hailing service". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
- "Crain's Detroit Business : Subscription Center". crainsdetroit.com.
- "Google in talks with OEMs, suppliers to build self-driving cars". Automotive News.
- "The Trick That Makes Google's Self-Driving Cars Work". The Atlantic. May 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
- "Fiat, Google Plan Partnership on Self-Driving Minivans".
- NOAA (October 10, 2010). "What is LIDAR?". NOAA.
- "How Google's Self-Driving Car Works - IEEE Spectrum". Spectrum.ieee.org. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Intel is collaborating with Waymo on self-driving car technology". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- Google Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report August 2016
- "Google Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report - June 2016" (PDF). Google. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports 2016
- "The Test Driven Google Car". April 30, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Charlie Osborne. "Google's autonomous car injuries: Blame the human".
- Sheikh, Azzam. "Ultrasonic Sensors on Rear Wheels", national.co.uk, December 14, 2014
- Angela Moscaritolo (March 29, 2012). "Google's Self-Driving Car Takes Blind Man for a Ride". PC Magazine. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Self-Driving Car Test: Steve Mahan. YouTube. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Urmson, Chris (August 7, 2012). "Self-driving Car Logs More Miles". Retrieved January 18, 2017.
- Muller, Joann. "With Driverless Cars, Once Again It Is California Leading The Way", Forbes.com, September 26, 2012
- "Legislative Session: 83(R) Bill: HB 2932", Texas Legislature Online, May 30, 2013
- Whittington, Mark. "Law Proposed in Texas to Require Licensed Driver in Self-Driving Vehicles", Yahoo! News, Fri, March 8, 2013
- The latest chapter for the self-driving car: mastering city street driving, googleblog
- Murphy, Mike. "Google's self-driving cars are now on the streets of California", Quartz, June 25, 2015
- Smith, Alexander; Hansen, Shelby (November 13, 2015). "Google Self-Driving Car Gets Pulled Over — For Going Too Slowly". NBCNews.com. NBC News. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
A Google self-driving car was pulled over by police because the vehicle was traveling too slowly, officials said. The officer in Mountain View, California, noticed traffic backing up behind the prototype vehicle, which was traveling 24 mph in a 35 mph zone, the force said.
- "California's Red Tape Slows Google's Self-Driving Roll". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2015-11-16.
- Harris, Mark (25 March 2016). "California lawmaker pushes for driver-free robot car testing on public roads" – via The Guardian.
- "Google founder defends accident records of self-driving cars". Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Urmson, Chris. "The View from the Front Seat of the Google Self-Driving Car". Medium.
- JOHN MARKOFF (October 9, 2010). "Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- "Human Driver Crashes Google's Self Driving Car". businessinsider.com. August 5, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- Davies, Alex. "Google's Self-Driving Car Caused Its First Crash".
- Serna, Joseph. "Passenger bus teaches Google robot car a lesson".
- Press, Associated (9 March 2016). "Google self-driving car caught on video colliding with bus" – via The Guardian.
- "For the first time, Google's self-driving car takes some blame for a crash".
- "The Google car crash was 'not a surprise', US transport secretary says". 14 March 2016.
- "Monthly Reports". Google. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- Harris, Mark (12 January 2016). "Google reports self-driving car mistakes: 272 failures and 13 near misses" – via The Guardian.
- Storm, Darlene. "Did you know Google's self-driving cars can't handle 99% of roads in the US?".
- Joann Muller (March 13, 2013). "No Hands, No Feet: My Unnerving Ride In Google's Driverless Car".
- Lee Gomes (August 28, 2014). "Hidden Obstacles for Google's Self-driving Car".
- "Google Self-Driving Car Chief Wants Tech on the Market Within Five Years". ReCode. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- Donna Tam (September 25, 2012). "Google's Sergey Brin: You'll ride in robot cars within 5 years". cnet.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Liz Gannes (May 13, 2014). "Here's What It's Like to Go for a Ride in Google's Robot Car". recode.net. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Michelle Fitzsimmons (August 24, 2013). "Google may be crafting its own self-driving cars, tinkering with robo-taxis". techradar.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Billy Davies (January 24, 2014). "The future of urban transport: The self-driving car club". zodiacmedia.co.uk. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- B1 US patent 8630897 B1, Luis Ricardo Prada Gomez; Andrew Timothy Szybalski Sebastian Thrun & Philip Nemec et al., "Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions", published 2014-01-14, assigned to Google Inc
- Jaffe, Eric (April 28, 2014). "The First Look at How Google's Self-Driving Car Handles City Streets". The Atlantic Cities. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Krafcik, John (13 December 2016). "Say hello to Waymo: what's next for Google's self-driving car project – Waymo".
- Ana Valdes (July 5, 2012). Florida Embraces Self-Driving Cars Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- John Oram (9-27-2012). Governor Brown Signs California Driverless Car Law at Google HQ Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "New Law Allows Driverless Cars On Michigan Roads". CBS Detroit. 28 December 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- CDA Press (July 8, 2014). Aye, robot: Cd'A City Council approves robot ordinance
- "Autonomous Vehicles in California". California Department of Motor Vehicles. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- "DMV Releases Draft Requirements for Public Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles; State Seeks Public Comment on Draft Document" (Press release). Office of Public Affairs. California Department of Motor Vehicles. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Guynn, Jessica; della Cava, Marco (17 December 2015). "Google 'disappointed' by proposed restrictions on driverless cars". USA Today. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Ramsey, Mike; Barr, Alistair (16 December 2015). "California Proposes Driverless-Car Rules; State outlines guidelines for permitting autonomous-driving cars and licensing their motorists". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Clark, Jack (16 December 2015). "California DMV Puts Brakes on Self-Driving Car Technology". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- "Google to urge Congress to help get self-driving cars on roads".
- "Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc; Ottomotto LLC; Otto Trucking LLC". Trade Secrets Institute. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
- "Waymo's Complaint Against Uber". The New York Times. 2017-02-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
- Farivar, Cyrus (5 February 2018). "Waymo: "We're bringing this case because Uber is cheating"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- Farivar, Cyrus (9 February 2018). "Silicon Valley's most-watched trial ends as Waymo and Uber settle". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- Grant, Christian (May 2007). "Episode Exe006: Sebastian Thrun, Director, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory". Executive Talks.
- Lin, Patrick (July 30, 2013). "The Ethics of Saving Lives with Autonomous Cars Are Far Murkier Than You Think". Wired. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Marcus, Gary (November 27, 2012). "Moral Machines". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Muller, Joann (May 27, 2013). "Silicon Valley vs. Detroit: The Battle for the Car of the Future". Forbes.
- Stock, Kyle (April 3, 2014). "The Problem with Self-Driving Cars". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Walker Smith, Bryant (November 1, 2012), Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States, Stanford Law School, retrieved August 24, 2013