Waymo builds sensor package to complement self-driving-car AI-compute platform

Jan. 9, 2017

Waymo, Google parent company Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, doesn’t want to build its own cars, but it does seem interested in supplying hardware and software to the companies that do want to build cars. Tim Higgins at The Wall Street Journal reports that Waymo, at the International Auto Show in Detroit on Sunday, announced it has created its own autonomous-vehicle sensor package.

Higgins quotes John Krafcik, head of Waymo, as saying during a speech, ““What we’re bringing to market is a self-driving technology platform [that] will allow us to deliver products and services that make getting around safe and easy for everyone. Some of these we may do on our own; some we may work on with partners.”

One Waymo goal seems to be to cut the coat of sensors. Writes Higgins, “In 2009, when the then-Google project began, Waymo says a single lidar—a radarlike device that uses lasers to give a computer a three-dimensional view of the world—cost about $75,000. The Waymo development brings the cost down about 90%, according to the company.”

The Waymo sensor package reportedly includes a 360-degree-view radar, eight vision modules, and three lidar sensors. A Chrysler Pacific minivan that includes the hardware was on display in Detroit and is expected to be on the road in Arizona and California later this month.

Higgins quotes Krafcik as saying, “Our sensors are deeply integrated with the brain of our self-driving cars, our all-new AI-compute platform.”

See also “Investment in dedicated lanes for self-driving cars makes sense.”

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