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Google reshifts focus of its self-driving car project (UPDATED: Waymo)

Posted on Tuesday, December 13 2016 @ 14:40:38 CET by

Google logo
UPDATE: A couple of hours after the publication of this article the Waymo website went live. This is the new self-driving car unit at Alphabet and the FAQ explains Waymo is working to make transport easier and safer. The company's next step will be to let people trial fully self-driving cars to do everyday stuff like running errands or commuting to work. Waymo says its cars have self-driven over 2 million miles.

News has emerged that Google parent company Alphabet has scaled down its plans for the self-driving car market. Previously, the search giant was working to get rid of standard wheel and pedal controls, but now they're going back to the more traditional route by collaborating with select car makers to develop "more traditional" vehicles with self-driving capabilities. The goal now is to find the quickest way to market.

These cars will have pedals and a wheel because the company discovered that ditching the controls was too impractical. While in some ways the self-driving car project is scaled back, in other ways it's advancing as Larry Page is reportedly planning to move the unit out of the Google X "moonshot factory" into a separate unit under Alphabet. Basically, this means Google is seeing a bright future for its self-driving car technology.

Google teamed up with Fiat Chrysler to make 100 autonomous Pacifica minivans before the end of this year, a move that serves as an example of the new direction of the self-driving car unit. The Inquirer adds that a driverless taxi service is also in the cards for a launch before the end of 2017:
Google, which already offers a carpooling feature via its Waze service, has been repeatedly rumoured to contemplate making a run in the on-demand car market – a move which could see the company square up against Uber and other like-minded competitors.
Pictured below is the cancelled car.

Google car



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