Self-driving minivans developed by Google’s Way division will start experimenting on public roads in California and Arizona later this month, the company has revealed.
The Chrysler Pacifica composites fitted with sensors and radar developed by Waymo were put on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik spoke about further plans for the 100-strong fleet. Waymo first launched the minivans, developed jointly with Fiat Chrysler, in December. The two companies have been cooperating since May 2016.
Krafcik used to say rather than using off-the-shelf engineering, Waymo opted to develop the algorithms as well as lidar and other sensors by itself to ensure seamless running.
The roof-mounted short-range short-haul lidar, which examines the car’s encircles with a laser beam to provide a 3D image of the area, was 90 per cent cheaper to develop than the technology’s predecessors, Krafcik answered.
The lidar can apparently discriminate an object the dimensions of the a football helmet two football fields away from the car.
Waymo, initially the Google Self-driving Car Project, has been developing driverless automobile technology for the past eight years. The conglomerate aims to supply systems to other manufacturers rather than constructing own vehicles.
In December last year, the conglomerate started negotiations with Honda to use the Japanese car manufacturer’s vehicles to further test the technology.