Hackers demonstrated they can take over a Tesla from miles away if it connects to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. Dmitri Dolgov, a longtime veteran of Google's seven-year self-driving car effort, recently took over as technical lead, replacing Chris Urmson. SAN FRANCISCO -- Google's self-driving cars have hit another milestone on the road to the automotive future, notching two million miles on the autonomous-testing odometer. That mark, which the Alphabet-owned company announced Wednesday, was hit as other companies spent the summer dominating the self-driving headlines. Uber recently began picking up Pittsburgh passengers in its small fleet of driverless (though driver-monitored) vehicles, while Ford announced plans to sell transportation that lacked a steering wheel and pedals by 2021.
Shortly after one of its autonomous minivans was involved in a crash while operating in manual mode, Waymo got a slice of stage time at Google I/O to discuss its self-driving cars, using that time explain the role of artificial intelligence in autonomous driving. In a Medium post elaborating on the points made in the I/O keynote, Waymo Chief Technical Officer Dmitri Dolgov said it uses A.I. to train self-driving cars to identify their surroundings in a manner similar to human drivers. Waymo started out as Google's internal self-driving car project before being spun off into a separate unit. There was a significant amount of cross-pollination between autonomous car engineering and the Google Brain A.I. program during the early stages of both projects, according to Dolgov. Among other things, this allowed error rate for pedestrian detection in self-driving cars to be reduced 100 times in just a few months, Dolgov said.
After five-and-a-half years of leading Alphabet's fully autonomous driving unit, Waymo CEO John Krafcik plans to hand over the job of running the company to two of his colleagues. The two executives previously served as the company's COO and CTO, respectively. They've also been at Waymo for several years, with Dolgov's tenure going back to 2009 when the unit was still under the Google umbrella. The move is also notable in that it puts a woman of color at the head of one of the world's leading autonomous vehicle technology companies. Krafcik says he'll continue to serve as an advisor to Waymo, but it also seems like he wants to take a break from the tech world.
USA TODAY takes a look at three cars at this year's L.A. Auto Show that cost more than $100,000. Waymo, the newly renamed Google self-driving car company, showed off its two seat prototype and new logo in the lobby of a San Francisco building Tuesday. SAN FRANCISCO -- By renaming itself Waymo, Google's self-driving car project officially changes lanes from research project to business enterprise that, at some point soon, will have to turn a profit. "We'll continue to have access of infrastructure and resources Alphabet provides, but we also have this feeling of being a venture-backed startup," said John Krafcik, formerly CEO of Google Cars and now leader of Waymo, said at an event here Tuesday. Krafcik said "we are all in on fully driverless solutions, that's what we're all about."
You could argue that Waymo, the self-driving subsidiary of Alphabet, has the safest autonomous cars around. It's certainly covered the most miles. But in recent years, serious accidents involving early systems from Uber and Tesla have eroded public trust in the nascent technology. To win it back, putting in the miles on real roads just isn't enough. So today Waymo not only announced that its vehicles have clocked more than 10 million miles since 2009.