Google’s Alphabet Inc. Company and Their Self-driving Service
In 2009, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Inc, began the daunting task of researching and developing autonomous, or self-driving vehicles. This endeavor was aptly titled the “self-driving car project.” By 2012, their autonomous technology had clocked in more than 300,000 miles of driving time on freeways and highways. In the same year, they began to test their vehicles on city streets.
By 2014, Google had developed their own self-driving vehicle prototype, and tested said prototype on public roads the following year. Throw in another 2 million self-driven miles and an additional 1 billion miles of simulated tests with their technology, and, in 2016, the project became its own business entity called Waymo.
It was with the creation of Waymo that Google announced their official intent to join the ever-growing market of automated cars and compete with rivals such as Tesla and Uber. According to CEO John Krafcik, Waymo stands for “A new way forward in mobility,” and that with the concept in mind, they have big plans for the future. He stated that he could see their self-driving technology being used for ride-sharing, transportation, personal-use, and beyond.
In May of 2016, Google partnered with Fiat-Chrysler to begin integrating their minivans with Google’s self-driving system. This pairing proved beneficial for both companies, since Fiat would not have to spend the money developing their own technology, and Google would have more time to perfect their self-driving technology.
As of today, Google is using its autonomous technology in vehicles that are still equipped with a gas pedal and steering wheel, to appease state’s regulations. The goal, says Krafcik, is to get to a point where those elements are not necessary.