Waymo, a subsidiary of the American giant Alphabet (Google), has been testing fully autonomous cars, a new stage of life-size tests carried out by the company in the United States.
The company has been trying for several months with autonomous car trips with voluntary customers in the Phoenix area in Arizona but a company engineer has always been present behind the wheel to regain control if necessary.
“After more than eight years of development, we’re taking the next step toward unlocking the potential of fully self-driving technology,” the group said on its official blog Tuesday.
“Starting now, Waymo’s fully self-driving vehicles — our safest, most advanced vehicles on the road today — are test-driving on public roads, without anyone in the driver’s seat.,” says the company, adding that these self-powered tests are also taking place in Arizona and are initially open to employees of the company.
“The passengers must simply determine their destination and the car does the rest: it decides when to turn, when to brake and which road to take,” also explained Waymo boss John Krafcik at the Lisbon Web Summit in Portugal.
According to several reports, Waymo has given up on a hybrid system, which would have allowed a passenger of the autonomous vehicle to regain control of driving, believing that it would have been too dangerous.
Eventually, the company wants to launch an autonomous car reservation service through an application, also said Waymo on Tuesday.
“Our service will allow you to simply order a Waymo, which will pick you up where you are to get you where you want to go, without having to drive,” says Krafcik.
Waymo’s vehicles, better known by their former name of Google Car, are equipped with a series of cameras, sensors and radars to determine what is happening in their environment and an algorithm that, thanks to predictive analysis and machine learning, allows them to anticipate situations and react accordingly.
In experimental traffic since 2015, Alphabet’s fleet of autonomous vehicles has traveled nearly 3.5 million miles, according to Waymo.
With this announcement, Waymo seems to consolidate its lead in the growing sector of autonomous driving, considered the future of the automobile and on which almost all automakers and tech companies have been work.
With autonomous cars, these companies are betting to drastically reduce road accidents, on the assumption that more than 90% of them are caused by human errors.
In September, the Trump administration issued a new regulation on autonomous cars allowing more tests on the roads, believing that this technology could reduce accidents while improving the mobility of the elderly, disabled and other isolated people.