Google has announced that its self-driving car project will be spun off from its research lab X and operate as a stand-alone company under the name Waymo.
"We're a self-driving car company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get around," said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.
The establishment of a separate company just for the self-driving car project is aimed at developing an ecosystem for autonomous mobility rather than just a few models of self-driving cars. Krafick reiterated the fact that Waymo has no interest in manufacturing self-driving cars, but will only develop the technology to drive them.
"We imagine this [technology] in ride-sharing, in transportation, trucking, logistics even personal use vehicles and licensing with automakers, public transport and solving the last mile," said Krafick.
The tech giant has been testing autonomous vehicles for the past few years on US roads but has largely remained tight-lipped on when the end product would be ready. With the announcement of Waymo, the company also declared that it had conducted its first fully driverless ride on public roads in Austin last year with a friend of Krafick's, Steve Mahan who is legally blind. The car manoeuvered Mahan with no steering wheels and no pedals amid regular traffic on city streets.
The end product, however, will still take some time as Waymo is in the building phase and is currently putting next generation sensors in the Chrysler Pacifica. Google has teamed up with Fiat Chrysler for a 100-car pilot project being readied for road tests.