Google is Spinning off  Its Self-Driving Car Unit into a New Company


Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is introducing an all-new brand, Waymo, which will be responsible for the outfit’s self-driving cars.

The new company will be headed by John Krafcik, the same man who has been in charge of Google’s self-driving car arm since 2015. According to Krafcik, the simple aim of Waymo is “to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.”

“We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport. In the long term, self-driving technology could be useful in ways the world has yet to imagine, creating many new types of products, jobs, and services,” says Krafcik.

Since beginning testing, Google has completed two million miles of real-world driving on public roads and over a billion miles in simulation. Its self-driving cars can do everything from identifying stopped police and service vehicles to navigating multi-lane four-way stops, a tricky task for even many human drivers.

Google says that on October 20, 2015, the company completed the world’s first fully-self driven car ride with a legally blind man named Steve Mahan in the car. He was driven through an Austin, TX neighborhood by Google’s self-driving car with no one else riding along with him.

Though no details were announced, Krafcik says that the company’s next step is to get everyday people into its cars to help with tasks like running errands and commuting to work.