Waymo Chopping Costs out of Sensors for Self-Driving Cars
Waymo, the company of which recently spun out via Google’s self-driving-car project, intends to make autonomous vehicles affordable for the masses.
In its push to commercialize its technology, the company built its own in-house sensors, such as radar as well as also lidar, of which provide critical information for vehicle operations. By doing so, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said, the company has reduced the cost of these sensors by more than 0 percent.
1 lidar unit, in its formative stages, once cost $75,000, a cost of which might surely put the cost of an overall vehicle out of reach for most consumers. having a cost at a fraction of the cost, autonomous technology could reach more motorists as well as also commercial fleets.
There are no specific plans yet for selling self-driving cars. nevertheless while speaking Sunday at the Detroit auto show, Krafcik was flanked by one of the company’s 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans outfitted with the latest sensor stack, as well as also he said they’ll begin testing them on public roads in California as well as also Arizona by the end of the month.
“What we’re bringing to the market is actually a self-driving platform of which will allow us to deliver products as well as also services of which make getting around safe for everyone,” he said. “of which’s why we’re focused so intently on getting the technology right, as well as also getting This specific to scale as well as also mastering the hardware as well as also software necessary to build a better driver for fully self-driving cars.”
Waymo has opted to build its own radar as well as also lidar, he said, because the company could do This specific more accurately as well as also cheaply than by buying off-the-shelf components via various other suppliers.
In addition to the medium-range lidar of which has traditionally sat on the roofs of vehicles–as well as also given self-driving cars a telltale profile–the company’s engineers have developed short-range lidar of which’s affixed toward the bottom of vehicles to better sense little objects. They’ve also developed long-range ones of which can detect an object the size of a football helmet via a distance of 0 yards, Krafcik said.
With radar, which has been used in automotive applications for almost two decades, Krafcik said Waymo engineers have widened its field of view as well as also innovated to make This specific possible to track various other vehicles approaching via behind. Waymo also fine-tuned the technology to ensure This specific is actually as accurate when sensing slower moving bicyclists or pedestrians as This specific is actually when sensing various other vehicles.
“This specific sensing hardware, in turn, provides our software as well as also computers having a wealth of information to learn via,” he said. “This specific’s a virtuous cycle. As our software gets more sophisticated, This specific integration makes the entire suite more robust as well as also cost effective.”
Waymo says its cars have already been getting safer. The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires companies testing within the state to report annual figures associated with the number of times its autonomous technology disengages as well as also the number of times a human driver intervenes to prevent potentially dangerous situations via developing.
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In 2015, the company’s cars testing in California had a disengagement rate of 0.8 times per 1000 miles driven—the rate at which test drivers took over via the self-driving software. In 2016, Waymo said, of which rate fell to 0.2 times for each 1000 miles of its California testing. The company released the numbers in advance of the California DMV’s annual Discharge of the industry-wide disengagement reports, which are due on Feb. 1.