Waymo Self-Driving Cars Ahead of the Competition
It seems like everything that Google touches just turns into gold. Waymo, the new Alphabet spinout referred to previously as Google's Self-Driving Car program is currently the top dog when it comes to driverless cars.
In 2016, Waymo logged a total of at least 635,000 miles while being tested on California's public roads compared to just over 20,000 miles combined for all its competitors. Not only that, but Waymo also laps the field when it comes to "disengagement" in that they have the fewest – disengagement is when the test driver has to take control of the software in the event of a possible malfunction. Waymo's test drivers only needed to disengage 124 times all throughout. That's roughly around once every 5,000 miles.
On the other hand, disengagements were a disastrous metric for other companies. BMW had one disengagement in 638 total miles of testing. Worse still was Tesla and Mercedes-Benz, who each had 182 and 336 disengagements in 550 miles and 673 miles of testing respectively.
Of course, this is all according to California DMV reports, and it is possible that other car manufacturers will ramp up their efforts as well. After all, many were rushed into the market by traditional carmakers as soon as Waymo and Uber started working on their own software. Many feared that they would end up being just hardware suppliers, much like the relationship between Foxconn Technology Co. and Apple Inc., where the latter makes the bulk of the profit leaving relative crumbs for the former.
Either way, with how well their products have performed since release in both simulations and public testing. This includes a rather successful public testing in Phoenix last year where Waymo fitted Chrysler Pacifica minivans with laser-radar-based self-driving technology for a true driverless experience. Waymo will surely remain a major player in the modern transportation business for years and years to come.