Waymo doesn’t want to be at the top. Alphabet’s company has just announced the construction of a “fake city” to test its autonomous vehicles. As “replicating a city”, Waymo defines this future decor, created from scratch, that should allow the company to go much further than a “real city”.
Waymo starts in a replica of a city
Waymo decides to work with the Transportation Research Center (TRC), an American company specializing in the investigation of means of transport. Waymo’s goal: to build an entire city to test their autonomous vehicles in East Liberty, Ohio. This artificial place should enable him to test different types of autonomous vehicles: “classic” cars, but also autonomous trucks. Offices and laboratories are also being built in this new city dedicated to the development of Waymo.
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According to media company Gizmodo, Ohio is a good place for Waymo to do its life-size tests. In addition to the usual tests, the company plans to test its driverless vehicles in more unusual and dangerous scenarios: “You don’t see that often on public roads,” says Waymo. You can imagine the company testing completely unusual things, like avoiding deer on a mountain road or someone falling off their bike in the middle of the road. An autonomous car that can react well and safely in either of these two situations would be impressive.
Objective: to promote the latest generation of autonomous vehicles
Waymo also plans to open a second research and development center in Menlo Park, California. This time, the focus is on autonomous trucks. A company spokesperson said: “Together, these new facilities will enable us to advance the latest generation of our fully autonomous driving technology across multiple vehicle platforms.” Waymo intends to move up a gear to ensure future commercialization of its vehicles.
In California, Americans will soon be able to drive alongside autonomous vehicles. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently announced that it was preparing to approve the use of autonomous taxis, with or without drivers, and even to collect fees for their services. Waymo is one of the 60 companies that could benefit from this new scheme. The American company is already part of a small group of seven structures that have been granted permission by the CPUC to allow autonomous vehicles to run. In this context, Waymo recently looked back on his two-year experiment in Phoenix.