Google spins off Waymo, self-driving car company
Google on Tuesday said its self-driving car project will branch out into a separate company called Waymo. The technology giant has been testing its self-driving vehicles for the last seven years, and this move signals Google wants to monetize and keep up with companies like Uber and Apple, who have their own autonomous car projects in the works.
“It’s an indication of the maturity of our technology. We can imagine our self-driving tech being used in all sorts of areas,” said John Krafcik, Waymo CEO. The white self-driving car revealed at a San Francisco press conference featured no pedals or steering wheel. Trunk space is occupied with the computer system, but the area where a dashboard would be in standard cars includes some storage, along with a center console with cup holders and controls for the light and windows.
Waymo won’t become a car company. Krafcik said Waymo is less interested in producing the self-driving cars themselves and more invested in developing the applications and technology that drive the cars, whether for ride-sharing or personal use.
Google X in May partnered with Fiat Chrysler to integrate the self-driving tech in its Pacifica minivans. In August, it hired former Airbnb executive Shaun Stewart with the goal of commercializing the project’s technology.