Waymo, a unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., is saying good-bye to'self-driving'--not the technology, just the term. In a blog post Wednesday, the company announced it would now be using the phrase'autonomous driving' to avoid confusion that could lead a driver to take their hands off the wheel at a dangerous moment. 'It may seem like a small change, but it's an important one,' the company said in a blog post, 'because precision in language matters and could save lives.' But industry insiders believe the change is a jab at Elon Musk's Tesla, which began touting its'full self-driving' (FSD) option last fall - but is only capable of assisting drivers. Waymo announced it will no longer use the term'self-driving' in favor of'autonomous driving,' to avoid confusion.
Alphabet-owned Waymo has stopped referring to "self-driving" to describe its technology and form now on will only use the term "fully autonomous driving technology" instead. The Google sister company is taking a pretty clear swipe at Tesla's $10,000 Full Self-Driving feature that's rolling out in beta to drivers in the US, prompting drivers to test out how well it can handle short and long trips without human intervention. Waymo – which used to refer to itself as "formerly the Google self-driving car project" – is now dropping the term. "You'll see us using more deliberate language, referring to our fully autonomous driving technology, and no longer referencing'self-driving'," the company said. Waymo draws a distinction between fully autonomous technology it's developing, and'driver-assist' or'self-driving', which demand oversight from a human with a driver's license.
Washington, DC (CNN Business)Tesla is selling its cars with the option of "full self-driving capability," a feature that's drawing criticism from experts on self-driving technology. They say CEO Elon Musk is playing fast and loose with definitions, overselling the technology and potentially creating safety issues. When Tesla announced the $35,000 Model 3 Thursday, it said it would come with an optional $5,000 feature: full self-driving capability. The system will offer "automatic driving on city streets" as an update later this year, according to Tesla's website. A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment on details around the automatic driving option, and pointed CNN Business to fine print on Tesla's order page that tells buyers the currently enabled features require "active" driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.
U.S. drivers' fears of fully autonomous (self-driving) vehicles has risen in the past several months according to a new survey by AAA. SAN FRANCISCO -- Waymo's self-driving mission is about to mushroom. The Alphabet-owned autonomous car company announced Thursday that it is significantly ramping up its partnership with Fiat Chrysler and over time will add up to 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its fleet. That's a significant bump from a January announcement in which Waymo, which started out as Google's self-driving car project in 2009, said it would add "thousands" of new FCA minivans. The news speaks to the quickening pace of Waymo's development of fully self-driving vehicles, which have been testing around the Phoenix area for more than a year.