Waymo

A white compact car with a small black dome on its top in a city road scene.
Waymo cars, like this all-electric taxi model, are tested on public roads. Photo: Waymo

Waymo is developing fully self-driving cars with the goal of making it easier and safer for people to get around. It is test-driving its vehicles on closed courses, public roads, and in simulation.

Creator

Waymo

(company began as Google's self-driving car project)

Year
2016
Country
United States 🇺🇸
Categories
Features
How Waymo cars work. Video: Waymo

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Did you know?

In Phoenix, Ariz., you can call a Waymo using an app and it will come pick you up without anyone in the driver's seat.

A white car with a small black dome on its top in a city road scene with a biker on its left and man walking in a crosswalk in front of it.
There's also a California test facility with staged roads and pedestrians. Photo: Waymo

History

In December 2016, Google's self-driving car project was renamed Waymo and became a new subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet. That transition was led by John F. Krafcik, former president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, who became Waymo's CEO. In 2017, Waymo started testing its self-driving technology using a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Later that year, Waymo carried its first public trial of an autonomously driven vehicle in Phoenix, Ariz. Still in 2017, Waymo filed a lawsuit accusing Uber of stealing the secret designs of circuit boards and laser ranging lidars used in its self-driving cars. During the trial, court documents revealed that, between Google's Project Chauffeur inception in 2009 and the end of 2015, the company had spent US $1.1 billion on developing its self-driving software and hardware. In 2018, Waymo launched commercial autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix. In 2021, Waymo began testing its robotaxi service in San Francisco.

A backseat view of interior of car with screens on the back of the front seat rest which show an image of the car move through a grid of roads.
Displays in the backseat lets riders see what the car is doing. Photo: Waymo
A white and gray compact car with small black dome on top and reads "Waymo" on side.
One of Waymo's initial designs was a car named "Firefly." Photo: Waymo

Specs

Overview

Fully self-driving technology with person in the vehicle never expected to take control at any time. Custom sensors and software designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, and other objects up to 300 meters away. Fleet of self-driving vehicles includes modified Lexus SUVs, custom-built prototype vehicles (nicknamed "Firefly"), and fully self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. Tests undergoing with Class 8 trucks. (Dimensions and weight for 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, not including additional self-driving system.)

Status

Ongoing

Year

2016

Website
Width
2 m
Height
1.8 m
Length
5.2 m
Weight
2,200 kg
Sensors

Custom sensors include: lidar to build 360-degree view of road and objects around the vehicle; radar to detect distance and speed of objects in motion; and high resolution cameras to detect visual information like traffic lights.

Compute

Intel-based computing system

Software

Custom software