Alphabet's Self-Driving Project Leads the Way Forward For Driverless Cars

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【Summary】Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous project, takes another step to being able to monetize its technology and driverless vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 18, 2017 9:15 AM PT
Alphabet's Self-Driving Project Leads the Way Forward For Driverless Cars

There are numerous companies and automakers all competing to be the first to take their fleet of self-driving cars from the testing phase to actually being able to make some money off of the tech. According to a recent report by The Motley Fool, Waymo, Alphabet's autonomous project, has taken another step to being able to monetize its driverless vehicle program. 

Why Waymo's In The Lead

One major step that has allowed Waymo to get ahead of the rest of the industry is its new early rider program that was unveiled last month. The program provides individuals in Phoenix, Ariz. rides in one of the company's autonomous cars and allows Waymo to get crucial feedback on its vehicles. Waymo isn't the only company providing individuals with rides in autonomous vehicles in Phoenix, though.

Uber, which is doing the same thing, only allows users to request a short, single, one-way trip. Waymo's program, on the other hand, gives users access to the company's autonomous cars on a daily basis. 

According to The Motley Fool, the move to make its driverless program means Alphabet, is looking to carve out a niche market for itself by opening the door to partner with automakers. The outlet claims that Statista, an online statistics, market research, and business intelligence portal company, estimates that the ride-sharing market will grow by approximately 22 percent a year from 2017 to 2021. The company, as cited by The Motley Fool, believes the market will hit $70 billion by 2021. 

Unlike other companies that have teamed up with multiple automakers, Alphabet has entered into a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), allowing the company to use its Pacifica Hybrid minivans as driverless vehicles. The Motley Fool claims that Waymo and FCA signed an agreement for 100 autonomous Pacifica Hybrid minivans last year and has plans to add another 500 driverless minivans in the near future, as well. 

The collaboration with FCA will ensure that Waymo has the necessary amount of vehicles when autonomous cars are given the green light to be used by ride-sharing companies. 

Waymo's Clearly In The Lead

All of these pieces of information reveal just how well Waymo is doing in a cutthroat market. And, as The Motley Fool reports, Waymo's self-driving technology seems to be the safest out of the entire bunch. Uber's self-driving car was involved in an accident in Arizona earlier this year and, as the outlet claims, has been involved in other incidents, including running a red light in San Francisco last year. 

Waymo, which has covered approximately 630,000 miles in California last year, reports The Motley Fool. The figure was much more than what second-place Nissan was capable of doing with just 4,099 miles claims the outlet. While the figure is impressive, it's even more so when considering that Waymo had a disengagement rate of just 0.20 per 1,000 autonomous miles driven in 2016, reports The Motley Fool

Clearly, Waymo is in the lead when it comes to autonomous ride-sharing companies. And, as The Motley Fool claims, the release of the new Pacifica minivan will only help the ride-sharing company towards being one of the first to monetize on the self-driving ride-sharing movement.

via: The Motley Fool

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