Google parent Alphabet announced on Tuesday that it was shifting its automated car project into Waymo, an independent entity which means “a new way forward in mobility.” The website of Waymo is featuring a self-driving vehicle that appears similar to the Koala (a prototype that the search giant released over two years ago).
Google not making its self-driving car anymore
The bubble-shaped two-seat car, which is equipped with the software and hardware of the ads giant, was built to move with the touch of a button, without a brake pedal or a steering wheel. However, there were reports that said the search giant is no more making the automated car. This news about the tech giant being ready to abandon the pursuit of self-driving automobile confused many people, including us. Engineers will rather focus on retrofitting sensors into passenger cars, which will be made possible with the ads giant collaboration with Fiat Chrysler.
The technology company is backing out at a time when the electric car making giant Tesla Motors and ride sharing service Uber are moving forward. Uber bought Otto for $680 million last year. Otto is an autonomous trucking startup. A month later, the online transportation company became the first to roll out self-driving taxis to ferry people around Pittsburgh.
In the meantime, Elon Musk, the Chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, has declared that the electric carmaker will deploy self-driving capabilities by mid-December, in time for the big holidays. This means that the Tesla car owners will begin enjoying the “exit ramp autonomy” in the coming month. Tesla owners will now be able to navigate complex and tight roads easily through automatic lane-changing and auto-steering as well as they will be able to summon their electric car wherever they want with the smart summon feature. In addition to this, these updates do not require the owner to go to the service center. The latest software will be downloaded quietly overnight.
Where did the notion of ‘self-driving cars’ take root?
The notion of making an automated car is not new and it was not even started by the search giant. General Motors, as early as 1939, invited visitors at the New York World Fair to its “Highways & Horizons” pavilion that displayed a futuristic world of an imagined world of the 1960s.
Automated highways were in rage. Trench-like lanes assisted in keeping vehicles apart in their separate tracks. More cars were able to share the road and intelligent intersections reduced congestion. The complete system provided speed, easy access and safety.
In the next seven years, what came were just delays and let-downs. There was the excellent vision but no automaker, including Ford, Chrysler and GM, were able to execute it. Even Nissan, Honda, and Toyota failed. Apple, Microsoft and Google are still lagging behind. However, the electric car-making giant Tesla is working on the vision and it would probably come out with a fully automated car soon.