Posts Tagged ‘waymo news’

Ford Moving EV Production From Michigan to Mexico

Move will open up plant to build new line of autonomous vehicles.

by on Dec.07, 2017

“You’re starting to see the foundation of Ford’s bet on AVs (or autonomous vehicles),” said Jim Farley.

Ford plans to shift production of electric vehicles from a suburban Detroit plant to a factory in Mexico, a top company official said. That move will make room at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant for Ford to launch a new line of driverless vehicles that will be used by ride-sharing and delivery fleets.

The move could create some political headaches for the second-largest of the Detroit Big Three automakers. During his campaign for the White House, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly bashed Ford’s plans to move small car production from Michigan to a second assembly plant it was building in Mexico. It ultimately scrubbed that facility and will shift production of the Focus model to China, instead.

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“You’re starting to see the foundation of Ford’s bet on AVs (or autonomous vehicles),” said Jim Farley, the president of global markets for Ford.

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Waymo to Give Phoenix Riders a Lift in Driverless Minivans

Pilot program just getting underway, but critics question safety.

by on Nov.08, 2017

Waymo plans to uses Level 5 autonomous Chrysler Pacificas for its ride-share pilot program in Phoenix next year.

Already considered one of the leaders in autonomous vehicle technology, Waymo quietly began testing completely driverless vehicles in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona, last month. Now, the Google spinoff’s CEO said it will begin using those vehicles in its pilot ride-sharing service within “a few months.”

Waymo is one of a number of companies that now wants to take the driver out of the picture entirely, a move that experts believe will lower the cost of hailing a ride to the point where it will become cheaper than owning and operating a personal vehicle.

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“We want the experience of traveling with Waymo to be routine, so you want to use our driver for your everyday needs,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said during a global transportation conference in Lisbon, Portugal. (more…)

Waymo Gives Lo-Down on Autonomous Vehicles

Self-driving firm looks to take fear out of autonomy.

by on Oct.31, 2017

Waymo launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

Waymo decided to provide a glimpse behind the curtain, allowing a group of media to take test rides in the company’s autonomous vehicles, explaining the testing process of the vehicles and sharing some insights about the company’s future.

The company, which is owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has been testing self-driving Chrysler Pacificas and Lexus SUVs in several cities around the U.S., including a trial run at ride-hailing in Phoenix.

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The media event featured several structured events at the company’s facility, a former military base, near Atwater, California, designed to replicate real-life situations encountered by test vehicles on test runs, such as cars broken down on the side of the road or roadways littered with debris.  (more…)

Waymo Set to Challenge Michigan Winter

Operating on snowy, icy roads the big challenge for autonomous tech.

by on Oct.26, 2017

Winter weather creates challenges for humans, and it can overwhelm autonomous vehicles.

There are already hundreds of autonomous prototypes cruising the nation’s roadways, and that number could soon climb into the thousands, thanks to a bill rapidly moving through Congress. But, for now, the vast majority of those vehicles are operating in warm weather climes like Phoenix and Silicon Valley.

The real challenge will be finding ways to make autonomous and fully driverless cars and trucks function in cold weather environments, experts stress, where things like lane markers may be obscured by road and ice.

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So, Waymo, the Google spinoff generally considered one of the leaders in self-driving technology, says it will begin testing in Michigan over the winter using some of its newest models, specially modified versions of the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid.

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Waymo Asks Judge to Delay Trial Start

Google subsidiary says it needs more time to review Uber documents.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Anthony Levandowski is seen here discussing autonomous vehicles while still with Google in 2011. Photo courtesy Shinygogo.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car subsidiary, is looking for delay in the lawsuit it has filed against Uber so its lawyers have time to review thousands of pages of documents the ride-sharing pioneer has been forced to give up for review by its adversary.

The documents in question include a “due diligence report done by Uber prior to its acquisition of Otto, a self-driving tech start up focused on building automated trucks. Otto was founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee, who had access to Waymo’s most sensitive technical information and whose conduct is at the center of the litigation.

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Levandowski was fired at the end of May by Uber, which has also seen a wholesale departure of senior executives after it became apparent the company’s “anything goes” corporate culture left its intermediate and long-range plans in serious jeopardy. (more…)

Waymo Teams Up With Avis, Apple With Hertz in Autonomous Vehicle Push

Volvo expands its autonomous alliance with Autoliv with addition of graphics tech firm Nvidia.

by on Jun.27, 2017

Avis will handle the basic storage and maintenance for Waymo's Phoenix ride-sharing program.

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spin-off from Google, has signed a deal with Avis to have the daily rental giant manage some of the self-driving vehicles it is operating in the Phoenix area as part of a ride-share test program.

Apple, meanwhile, is reportedly teaming up with Avis rival Hertz program, in this case to lease a handful of Lexus SUVs that it will modify as part of its own autonomous vehicle project – something that Apple CEO Tim Cook recently described as “the mother of all AI projects.”

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In the race to get autonomous, along with more advanced driverless, vehicles on the road within the next decade, established automakers and tech firms alike are lining up to find partners that can help accelerate their development programs.

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Automakers Want Free Hand to Test Autonomous Vehicles – But GOP Might Cut Out Federal, State Safety Regulators

Industry insists a freer hand will bring self-driving technology to market more quickly.

by on Jun.16, 2017

Waymo recently launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

As they move closer to bringing autonomous and fully driverless vehicles to market, automakers and tech firms such as General Motors, Ford, Waymo and Tesla are pressing the federal government to loosen up regulations limiting the way they can test their prototypes on public roads.

Even before the Obama Administration concluded its second term, the feds were working up new autonomous guidelines. But now, under the Trump Administration, it appears Congress could give the auto industry even more freedom to move forward while limiting the power of both individual states and even federal safety regulators.

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Congress wants to “continue working with all parties in a bipartisan manner as we refine language and move forward towards a consensus package,” said U.S. Representative Bob Latta, chairman of a panel that oversees automotive regulations.

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Waymo Puts Firefly out to Autonomous Automotive Pasture

Tech giant retires little bubble cars in favor of Chrysler Pacificas.

by on Jun.14, 2017

Waymo is retiring the Firefly in favor of a more real-world vehicle: the Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

As Waymo, formerly known as Google’s autonomous vehicle program, continues to develop its self-driving vehicles, it’s clear that one part of the program won’t carry on: the Firefly, also known as Google’s “little marshmallow car” or a dozen other nicknames.

The company announced it plans to retire its fleet of “Fireflies,” the actual name of the quirky looking cars, instead focusing its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans for further development.

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The small two-seat egg-shaped car introduced many to the idea of a self-driving car. In fact, the company took a legally blind passenger in Austin, Texas, on what it claimed was the world’s first actual autonomous trip. (more…)

Waymo Latest to Push into Self-Driving Trucks

Study Warns up to 70% of trucking jobs at risk.

by on Jun.05, 2017

A pair of Otto trucks carrying prototype autonomous Volvos being tested by Uber.

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spin-off of Google, is the latest on an expanding list of companies looking to develop self-driving trucks.

Now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent, Waymo said it believes that fully driverless trucks could take over long-haul duties in the future, though human drivers might continue to be needed for shorter routes, especially those involving pickup and deliveries. Other companies are looking at ways to go driverless even on short-haul routes.

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Separately, a new report from the International Transport Forum warned that anywhere from 50% to 70% of all trucking jobs could be eliminated by end of the next decade through the introduction of autonomous and driverless vehicles.

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Uber Fires Autonomous Vehicle Chief Levandowski

Latest twist in ongoing battle with Waymo.

by on May.31, 2017

Anthony Levandowski is seen here discussing autonomous vehicles while still with Google in 2011. Photo courtesy Shinygogo.

The ongoing battle between Uber and Waymo over allegedly stolen autonomous vehicle trade secrets took a new turn as the car-sharing giant fired the one-time head of its self-driving vehicle operations, Anthony Levandowski.

The 37-year-old engineer rose to prominence as head of autonomous operations at Waymo’s parent Google. He then went off to form his own company which, in turn, was purchased by Uber. Levandowski was subsequently accused of taking thousands of proprietary documents with him, material he has refused to turn over to the California court hearing the lawsuit filed by Waymo.

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Levandowski was sidetracked by Uber as a result of the ongoing lawsuit. The ride-sharing service told the court on Tuesday it has now fired the executive because he refused to comply with orders to turn over the documents. Levandowski’s attorney previously told the court he was refusing the order for fear it could lead to him facing criminal prosecution.

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