Alphabet restructures self-driving car project to separate business.
Google’s parent company Alphabet, has unveiled the separation of its self-driving car project into a standalone business called Waymo.
The news was announced by John Krafcik, Chief executive officer of Waymo, at a recent event in San Francisco.
Krafcik said: “We will continue to have access to infrastructure and resources Alphabet provides, but in this new world as Waymo we also have this feeling like we are a venture-backed startup.”
The company has been developing autonomous vehicle technology for over six years as part of its X research lab; Waymo now confirms its move from this research phase to a business owned by Alphabet.
In a blog post, Krafcik said: “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.”
This is supported with the progress of the company, which plans to start a ride-sharing service with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NA minivans using semi-autonomous technology as early as the end of 2017, according to The Information.
Krafcik revealed that it will be adding new specialised sensors to Chrysler vehicles, but provided no comment on how the program has evolved.
Without revealing too much information, project leaders from Waymo have considered just putting its autonomous software in existing cars, rather than manufacturing its own cars.
“I think we’ve been really clear that we’re not a car company. We’re not in the business of making better cars, we’re in the business of making better drivers,” added Krafcik.
Krafcik added in a blog post, the company’s eight year experience of working towards a future “without the tired, drunk or distracted driving that contributes to 1.2 million lives lost of roads every year.”
Waymo is Alphabet’s 12th business unit, alongside Google, Nest, CapitalG and others- all of which have their own effective CEO.