In the automotive industry, Tesla is a leader in many respects--but it's hardly head-and-shoulders above the rest when it comes to self-driving cars. The Silicon Valley automaker is developing fully autonomous cars, but it's part of a crowded field that includes many other automakers and a handful of rich tech companies as well. Still, Tesla's technical approach may give it an advantage over its numerous competitors. DON'T MISS: Let's be clear: Tesla's Autopilot is not a'self-driving car' The company has now collected a huge trove of operating data from customer cars running Tesla's Autopilot driver-assist system. Autopilot does not provide fully autonomous driving at present, but since Tesla began installing the system in its electric cars in late 2015, the system has delivered data on 1.3 billion miles of driving, according to Bloomberg.
Honda R&D and Waymo are in discussion over self-driving car tech. Honda is in discussion with Google's autonomous vehicle division Waymo about integrating self-driving technology into Honda vehicles. Honda said the technical collaboration between researchers at its Honda R&D subsidiary and Waymo's self-driving technology team would allow both companies to learn about the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles. As part of the deal under discussion, Honda could provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology. These vehicles would join Waymo's existing fleet, which are currently being tested across four US cities.
Honda Motor's research and development subsidiary is in talks to integrate Waymo's self-driving technology with its vehicles, suggesting that working with car makers as a technology partner is key on the agenda of Alphabet's autonomous car unit. A collaboration between the two companies will focus on the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles, the car maker said Wednesday. The Waymo tie-up will "allow Honda R&D to explore a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market," alongside its own ongoing efforts. "I think these kind of deals between tech and auto giants like Waymo and Honda make sense given the sheer investment required to effectively deliver a fully autonomous car," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "I would expect Apple to participate in a similar manner where they're not delivering the entire car, but the electronics."
Honda Motor Co. is the latest carmaker that plans to outfit its vehicles with self-driving technology from Waymo, the company born out Alphabet's Google Car research project. Honda has already announced plans to put vehicles with automated driving capabilities on the road sometime around 2020, but said today it will also explore putting Waymo's technology in its vehicles as a different approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market. The discussions are in the early stages. As a first step, Honda R&D Co., the research and development subsidiary of the Japanese company, said it could provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology. These vehicles would join Waymo's existing fleet, including 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans announced earlier this week, which are currently being tested across four U.S. cities.
The most futuristic car you'll see this week is a minivan. Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's recently announced self-driving automobile technology company, has unveiled its new autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. Fiat-Chrysler worked with Waymo to integrate its bulky suite of Radar, Lidar and camera equipment into the Pacifica Hybrid, along with all of the gear needed for it to drive itself. One hundred of the augmented people carriers have been built and will be hitting the road next year. Waymo says that it has already put prototypes of the vehicles through their paces on closed test tracks and exposed them to over 200 hours of extreme weather conditions.
Less than a week after exiting its larval, experimental phase and becoming a standalone company under the Alphabet corporate umbrella, Google's self-driving car outfit is showing off its first new car. The newly created Waymo is adding 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans, built for autonomy, to its test fleet. Under a partnership established six months ago, engineers from Waymo and Fiat Chrysler collaborated in Michigan to build these hybrid-powered vans with the right tools for the job incorporated from the start, rather than retrofitting them after they came off the assembly line. Those include the computers that run its software algorithms and the suite of sensors--LIDAR, radars, and cameras--that adorn the roof and flank the sides of the car. Unlike Waymo's "pod" vehicles, which have room for two and skimp on basics like the steering wheel and pedals, these vans will have those controls, plus space for half a dozen passengers.
Google is more than ever closer to bringing multiple types of autonomous driving vehicles on the road. This week, its self-driving vehicle division, Waymo, formally introduced the company's advanced minivan prototype. In a blog post, Waymo CEO John Krafcik proudly announced Google's self-driving minivans. The vehicles were made using Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. They were outfitted with self-driving technology features, such as sensors and an upgraded computer.
An Uber driverless Volvo XC90 SUV heads out for a test drive in San Francisco on Dec. 13, 2016. Uber's plan to begin offering rides to San Francisco commuters in its "self-driving" test vehicles may please users, but not state regulators. That's because the ride-hailing giant has so far failed to get a $150 permit with California's Department of Motor Vehicles to operate those vehicles on state roadways. "The California DMV encourages the responsible exploration of self-driving cars. We have a permitting process in place to ensure public safety as this technology is being tested," the agency said in a statement today.
A blind man has successfully traveled around Austin -- unaccompanied -- in a car without a steering wheel or floor pedals, Google announced Tuesday. After years of testing by Google engineers and employees, the company's new level of confidence in its fully autonomous technology was described as a milestone. "We've had almost driverless technology for a decade," said Google engineer Nathaniel Fairfield. "It's the hard parts of driving that really take the time and the effort to do right." Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, was the first non-Google employee to ride alone in the company's gumdrop-shaped autonomous car.