Google I/O 2018 is all wrapped up in Mountain View, California and the company’s “one more thing” was self-driving vehicles. Alphabet-owned company, Waymo, has been working with Google for many years on self-driving cars and these driver-less units played a large role at the conference this week.
Google’s self-driving cars have covered a whopping 6 million miles on public roads since the concept moved into the testing phase. To put this into perceptive, the average American consumer drives less than this much but in an entire calendar year. Additionally, the self-driving cars cover a wild 5 billion miles per day in simulations. These are just simulations, but to say the company has not done enough testing to make sure these units are smart enough to travel our roads safely is a false assumption. While there have been a few accidents recorded, most of these have indicated that the self-driving car was not the one to blame for the crash. Every consideration has been taken into account in how these vehicles operate, and the results are stunning and yet still far from the full potential.
Waymo CEO, who works under Alphabet (Google’s parent), hopped on stage during the Google I/O keynote and throughout the week to talk about the evolution and progress made with these driver-less vehicles. The company has benefited a ton from Google’s engineering in ways that you may have never thought. For example, the deep learning from Google’s cloud services has allowed self-driving cars to benefit. This is a prime example of how AI and deep learning can now be used to benefit us in a lot of ways, building on what others have been able to accomplish through their own services.
After decades of dreaming and many years of research and extended testing, driver-less cars are ready to get on the roads. This was a major announcement that went unnoticed by many. Self-driving cars were everywhere at the show, and were discussed a lot over the three days. Moving forward, expect to see more self-driving cars on the road because later this year, they’re coming to market for the first time.
The leaps forward made by Alphabet’s Waymo, and Google, are astonishing and it’s hard to see what the world may soon become shall self-driving cars become more prevalent throughout the world. Later this year, the roll out of public self-driving cars will begin with none other than Waymo, who will speed ahead of others trying to build their very own driver-less vehicles. Given the company’s attention to detail, widespread testing a commitment over the years to this project, it does no surprise me that they’ll be first. Coming in the form of a Waymo transportation service, the upcoming self-driving cars for anyone to use will begin in Phoenix, AZ where population isn’t dense and weather conditions are mostly consistent.
The app will touch down later this year at which point Phoenix residents will be able to test drive these vehicles on public roads. Waymo and Google are working to make sure that weather elements are not of any distraction to vehicle sensors, and once finalized, more regions will gain availability for the service. The companies are doing this using AI, which can also predict the behavior of pedestrians and recognize objects from people even when they’re half covered and motionless.
Driver-less cars will surely bring implications, so do expect the roll out of the program to be slow and steady. I cannot see car rental services such as Lyft and Uber being happy about this, though perhaps they’re onto what’s next as well. The only question left is, how do you feel about self-driving cars and the developments made? Are you ready to request a Waymo to catch a ride to work? Let us know in the comments!
We’re covering Google I/O 2018 in its entirety, stay here at Droid Turf for coverage throughout the week.