The self-driving car project Google started seven years ago has grown into a company called Waymo, signaling its confidence that it will be able to bring robot-controlled vehicles to the masses within the next few years.“We are getting close, and we are getting ready,” Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik said Tuesday after unveiling the company’s identity.To underscore his point, Krafcik revealed the project had reached a key milestone in the journey to having fully autonomous cars cruising on public roads. In a trip taken in October 2015, a pod-like car with no steering wheel and brake pads drove a legally blind passenger around neighborhoods in Austin, Texas, without another human in the vehicle. It was the first time one of the project’s cars had given a passenger a ride without a human on hand to take control of a self-driving car if something went wrong.Krafcik called that trip taken by Steve Mahan, former director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, an “inflection point” in the development of self-driving cars. It came a year before a truck full of Budweiser beer and equipped with self-driving technology owned by ride-hailing service Uber completed a 120-mile trip through Colorado, steered by a robot… Read full this story
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