Jennifer van der Kleut
A look at some of the most interesting headlines to come out of the driverless and connected-car industries this past week:
Google spins out driverless car arm into its own company: Waymo
It’s finally happened–Google has officially launched its own self-driving car company, known as Waymo. Google officially announced the formation of Waymo this week on Dec. 13, 2016, along with the launch of Waymo’s own website. Using the same fleet the company has been testing in four U.S. cities over the past few years, Waymo says its next steps will be to start allowing people to test drive its self-driving cars “to do everyday things like run errands or commute to work.” Read more on Waymo’s website.
Uber starts testing self-driving taxis in San Francisco without DMV’s permission
The industry marveled when Uber rolled out self-driving cars in Pittsburgh earlier this year, but the government was less than happy when the ride-hailing giant began trying out autonomous taxis in San Francisco this week–without the DMV’s permission. Not to mention, some people are reporting seeing the driverless cars make traffic violations such as running red lights. News reports indicate the California DMV is currently trying to get Uber to halt the use of the driverless cars in California until testing permits are finalized. Read more from Business Insider.
Univ. of Iowa to use USDOT grant to research autonomous cars, pedestrians
The University of Iowa will share a $1.4-million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation with four other institutions, and says one of the areas it will focus on with the research money is the safety and viability of self-driving transportation. Dr. Joseph Kearney, a computer science professor at the school, said “There’s work being done and work that will be done, that will look at interactions between pedestrians and bicyclists, and automated vehicles and semi-automated vehicles, in order to see how pedestrians respond.” Read more and see video footage from KCRG-TV.