In January 2018, Waymo, formerly Google's autonomous vehicle division, came to Atlanta and began mapping Atlanta roads for their self-driving car project. Waymo is not just developing the technology for self-driving cars; they have also created their own vehicles.
Governor Nathan Deal said “We are thrilled to welcome Waymo to our state because fully self-driving technology holds tremendous potential to improve road safety, and we are proud Georgia is paving the way for the future of transportation.” Waymo currently has autonomous vehicle testing in 24 cities throughout Arizona.
In Chandler, Arizona, Waymo has mapped more than 4 million public roads since the project began. This year in Arizona, Waymo will be launching driverless cars for ride-sharing. Basically, someone will be able to order a car that will pick him or her up and deliver them to their location; there will be no driver.
You may have seen or will see the Waymo cars driving around Atlanta. They are white Chrysler Pacifica Vans with the Waymo logo on them. The vans have LIDAR lasers, which create 3D maps of the roads, curbs, signs and other features. The mapping provides the backbone for the vehicles to drive without any human assistance.
Waymo's technology is further along than current autonomous cars on the road. They are aiming to create level four and level five abilities. Level four allows “drivers” to just hang out in their automobiles while the car does all the work. Level five builds on level four and provides for utterly human-less driving in any condition and any place.
After the mapping is complete, Waymo will be offering its self-driving cars in the Metro Atlanta area. Hopefully, this opportunity will bring lifesaving technology to the people of Atlanta and across the nation. Studies have shown that about 94 percent of crashes involve human error. While it may be convenient to have self-driving cars, Waymo also wants to make commuting safer.
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