Say Hello to Waymo Driverless Cars in Austin

Steve Mahan, who is blind, got in a prototype vehicle in Austin and cruised around a typical neighborhood all by himself — no steering wheel, no pedals, no one else in the car.

Google’s self-driving car project is now Waymo, an independent company spinning out of Alphabet company.

And it has a major presence in Austin.

In fact, Waymo achieved a huge technical milestone in Austin on its path to independence. Unbeknownst to many until now, Waymo completed the world’s first fully self-driven ride on public roads in Austin.

Steven Mahan, who is blind, rode in a prototype vehicle in Austin and cruised around a neighborhood all by himself without a steering wheel, no pedals and no one else in the car. The ride took place in October of 2015.

“For nearly eight years, we’ve been working towards a future without the tired, drunk or distracted driving that contributes to 1.2 million lives lost on roads every year,” John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, wrote in a post on Medium. “Since 2009, our prototypes have spent the equivalent of 300 years of driving time on the road and we’ve led the industry from a place where self-driving cars seem like science fiction to one where city planners all over the world are designing for a self-driven future.”

“Today, we’re taking our next big step by becoming Waymo, a new Alphabet business,” Krafcik wrote. “Waymo stands for a new way forward in mobility. We’re a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.”

Google launched its self-driving car project in Austin in mid-2015. It plans to continue operating here now as Waymo. The company has published a series of monhtly reports from its experiences in Austin on Medium.

“As a company, Waymo’s next step will be to let people use our vehicles to do everyday things like run errands, commute to work, or get safely home after a night on the town,” according to a news statement.

Comments

  1. I just happened to stumbled upon your blog and found it very helpful and couldn’t stop reading. I will send a link to some of my colleagues who would really benefit from what you have said. Thanks and keep it up.

  2. Put me on the list for one of your cars here in Austin–9506 Golden Hills Cr. I would be happy to test it for free around this area in Austin, and else where if desired. I have been driving since I was 12 on the ranch, and the school bus at age 14, when I passed the state test. No wrecks. My age is 86, and your car is exactly what I am looking for.

    William A. McQuiddy

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