Google has just announced that it plans to spin off its self-driving car project into a standalone company called Waymo. The new company stands for “a new way forward in mobility”, according to John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo.
This news corroborates earlier reports that Google would be dropping its plan to build vehicles with no steering wheels or pedals. The reports noted that Google would instead focus on the technology powering these cars that can be installed in third-party vehicles.
Waymo isn’t completely ditching its dream to create a fully driverless vehicle without steering wheels and pedals, though. Krafcik said that back in October 2015, one of Google’s fully driverless cars (without steering wheels or pedals) drove around in “everyday traffic” on the streets of Austin, Texas.
While Google (now Waymo) has certainly accomplished a great deal in the self-driving car space, there’s still a ton of work to be done. Dmitri Dolgov, head of self-driving tech at Waymo, says the next steps are to build better maps, make rides smoother, and to improve navigation in harsh conditions like heavy rain and snow.