Google spun-off its self-driving car division from the company a couple of months ago and named it Waymo. While it may not be building its own car, Google continues to develop the technology that’s going to be deployed in collaboration with other car manufacturers. It has been working with Chrysler on one such project and has confirmed at the North American International Auto Show that the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans will be rolled out on public roads for the first time later this month.
The first fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans will be rolled out in Mountain View, California and Phoenix, Arizona. Google’s self-driving Lexus SUVs have already racked up thousands of miles in these locations.
Waymo is doing things differently now. Google’s self-driving car spin-off confirmed that it’s building all of the technology to enable the car to drive itself in-house. It’s not purchasing parts off the shelf, so to speak, it’s actually building all of the sensors, cars, and mapping equipment that’s vital for an autonomous car to function.
This enables the company to bring down the manufacturing cost and have more control over the essential hardware. Waymo CEO John Krafcik revealed during his speech that the company had cut its costs by 90 percent so the same sensors that Google bought for $75,000 a few years ago are now being built by Waymo itself for just $7,500.
Waymo is not looking to be an auto parts supplier like Delphi which is also working on autonomous cars. It will continue to form partnerships with other car manufacturers to further the cause of cars that are capable of driving themselves.
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