google self-driving car Stories December 13, 2016

Google announced today at a small press event in San Francisco, California that its self-driving car project is spinning off into its own company and getting a new name: Waymo. This news follows a report from earlier today that Google has backed off plans for radical self-driving cars in run-up to its launch.

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google self-driving car Stories October 9, 2016

While Tesla’s fleet recently reached 222 million miles driven on Autopilot in about a year, Google’s fleet of self-driving cars just passed the 2-million miles mark last month after 7 years on the road. As we previously discussed, Tesla’s Autopilot miles are not really equivalent to Google’s self-driving miles, but it still gives us a good indication of the speed at which each company is deploying their semi-autonomous and autonomous programs.

Now Google is about to speed up its effort by deploying a lot more vehicles through its partnership with Fiat-Chrysler to build a fleet of self-driving Pacifica, Chrysler’s new plug-in hybrid minivan. The first few prototypes were spotted in Mountain View over the weekend. expand full story

google self-driving car Stories May 19, 2016

Uber couldn’t let its competitor Lyft have the spotlight for one more second. In what appears to be a direct response to yesterday’s story that GM and Lyft started testing self-driving Bolt EV prototypes in San Francisco, Uber sent out a press release today to confirm starting self-driving car tests on the streets of Pittsburgh. expand full story

google self-driving car Stories May 4, 2016

google self-driving car Stories May 3, 2016

Four months ago, Chrysler unveiled its 2017 Pacifica minivan range at the Detroit Auto Show. If a report from Bloomberg is anything to go by, this Pacifica Hybrid range could feature Google’s self-driving technology, bringing weeks/months of rumors to fruition. The deal could be signed by Tuesday…

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google self-driving car Stories April 11, 2016

We’ve covered how Tesla’s approach to self-driving cars differs from Google’s. The former is incrementally introducing more advanced autonomous features to eventually get to full autonomy, while the latter thinks it is safer to make the jump to completely autonomous driving once the technology is at maturity.

The two companies also have different approaches to hardware. Google relies on LiDAR, while Tesla thinks it’s unnecessary and that a combination of cameras and radars should do the job. Only time will tell which strategy will turn out to be the most successful, but in the meantime, Tesla shared a rare data point that gives us some perspective on the two programs. expand full story

google self-driving car Stories February 2, 2016

Google’s self-driving cars have notched up almost 1.5 million miles in autonomous mode since the project began in 2009 – but they drive twice as many miles every single day in the lab. Google’s latest monthly report reveals that every software change is tested by using it to simulate driving the entire driving history of the fleet, autonomous and manual.

One benefit of teaching a computer to drive is that it has great memory and recall. With our simulator, we’re able to call upon the millions of miles we’ve already driven and drive those miles again with the updated software. For example, to make left turns at an intersection more comfortable for our passengers, we modified our software to adjust the angle at which our cars would travel. To test this change, we then rerun our entire driving history of 2+ million miles with the new turning pattern to ensure that it doesn’t just make our car better at left turns, but that the changes creates a better driving experience overall …

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google self-driving car Stories January 28, 2016

Google’s self-driving car project first came to Austin, Texas in July of last year, marking its first expansion outside of Google’s hometown of Mountain View, California. It was a logical next step, considering Austin’s forward-thinking political culture and unique environmental challenges (“pedicabs, pickup trucks, and everything in between,” Google said). Now, it appears—thanks to some recently-published FCC documents (via Mark Harris)—that Google has plans to bring the self-driving car program to four more mysterious cities…

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google self-driving car Stories January 14, 2016

Medium’s tech hub editor-in-chief Steven Levy provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a test-(non)driver of one of Google’s self-driving cars. Among the more surprising facts is that there’s a four-week full-time course to qualify to sit behind the wheel of one of the company’s testbed Lexus cars – with additional training needed for the cute prototype cars with only emergency controls.

There’s an abbreviated version for those who will only be sitting in the cars on the company’s private test facility. If you fancy the job, the most reliable way to apply, says Levy, is to be friends with an existing driver. If you can’t swing that, there’s always the option of applying to be a professional pedestrian …

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google self-driving car Stories December 16, 2015

While there have been long-running theories that Google plans to operate a fleet of self-driving cars as an Uber/Lyft competitor, rather than selling them directly to consumers, a Bloomberg piece sounds rather definite about it. The paper also says that the project will be spun off into its own Alphabet company.

Google Inc. plans to make its self-driving cars unit, which will offer rides for hire, a stand-alone business under the Alphabet Inc. corporate umbrella next year, a person briefed on the company’s strategy said […]

The fleets ­– which would include a range of large and small vehicles – could be deployed first in confined areas like college campuses, military bases or corporate office parks, the person said.

The idea of initial use in ‘confined areas’ (read: not public roads) could potentially accelerate the introduction of the service … expand full story

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