Waymo is a self-driving electric vehicle pioneering new modes of transportation
Waymo, the pioneering American autonomous driving technology company, is steering the future of transportation with its cutting-edge self-driving vehicles. Formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, the electric car has emerged as a beacon of innovation, headquartered in Mountain View, California, and pushing the boundaries of autonomous driving technology.
Google’s strategic investment in matrix multiplication and video processing hardware, including the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), has propelled Waymo’s self-driving capabilities. This hardware augmentation, shrouded in trade secrets, likely involves transformer (machine learning) technology for inferencing, showcasing Google’s commitment to staying at the forefront of AI-driven advancements.
At the core of Waymo’s autonomous fleet lies a suite of self-driving hardware meticulously developed in-house. This hardware includes a sophisticated combination of sensors, a hardware-enhanced vision system, radar, and lidar. The sensors provide an unparalleled 360-degree view, while the lidar system can detect objects up to an impressive 300 meters away. Short-range lidar complements this setup by imaging objects in close proximity to the vehicle, and radar comes into play for navigating around other vehicles and tracking moving objects.
Inside the self-driving experience, riders have a simple yet powerful interface. Pushing buttons allows control over functions like “help,” “lock,” “pull over,” and “start ride,” enhancing the user experience and ensuring a sense of control and safety.
The company’s commitment to safety and efficiency extends to its deep-learning architecture, VectorNet. This technology predicts vehicle trajectories in complex traffic scenarios, utilizing a graph neural network to model interactions between vehicles. Demonstrating state-of-the-art performance on benchmark datasets for trajectory prediction, VectorNet showcases Waymo’s dedication to cutting-edge AI solutions.
Inspired by the immersive landscapes of video games like World of Warcraft, Carcraft serves as a sophisticated simulator where 25,000 virtual self-driving cars navigate through meticulously crafted models of real cities like Austin, Texas, Mountain View, California, and Phoenix. This virtual playground allows Waymo to simulate diverse driving conditions, fine-tune algorithms, and enhance the overall reliability of its autonomous vehicles.