Inside Waymo’s Castle facility of Self-Driving Cars

Technology is changing virtually everywhere of life. Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is at the forefront of developing and testing self-driving cars. Although much of its activities are rarely accessible to the media or the members of the public, the company opened its doors to journalists on October 31. Several reporters including the Verge’s Andrew J. Hawkins attended the rare event.

According to Hawkins, an experienced transportation reporter, Waymo is ahead of its competitors. Unlike other companies developing driverless cars, a human driver’s presence is not mandatory when Waymo’s cars are under regular tests. Hawkins had a chance to ride in a self-driving car. Although he reports that Waymo’s cars are programmed to drive slowly, he lauds the company’s attitude towards the self-driving cars concept.

The recent event that saw Waymo display some of its technology pertaining self-driving cars occurred at the company’s facility located in Central California. The extensive facility, which used to be an Airbase, is Waymo’s “playing” ground. The company has set up a controlled environment that enables it to test its cars in scenarios that are similar to those likely to be experienced in real-life. Hawkins reports that Waymo’s self-driving cars can react to people crossing the road, parked cars, or poorly driven automobiles with ease. Stephanie Villegas notes that the ability of Waymo’s car to respond successfully to real-life like situations arises from numerous controlled experiments and fine-tuning of the technology.

What does Waymo intend to do with it driverless cars? John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, confirms that the company is still undecided on how to commercialize its technology. However, there are many options for Waymo to choose from including ride-hailing, trucking, logistics, ride-sharing, or selling and licensing its technology to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Whatever Waymo decides to do with its technology, the world should be ready for fully autonomous automobiles.

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