Waymo's Autonomous Fleet Surpasses the 20 Million Mile Mark
Waymo is arguably seen as the leader in the race to introduce real autonomous cars on public roads. Google's autonomous car company has fewer disengagements than other companies, has more real-world self-driving cars on the road, and has traveled some of the most miles with its vehicles, too. Further largening its lead, Waymo just announced that it has hit 20 million miles of public testing with its autonomous cars.
20 Million Miles And Climbing
Waymo's CEO John Krafcik confirmed the news at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas – a fitting place for the announcement. The large amount of miles comes from the high number of cities the company tests in. Currently, Waymo's vehicles are being tested in 25 cities throughout the U.S., including San Francisco, Washington, Kirkland, Novi, and Phoenix. The company recently pulled its program out of Austin, Texas to focus on other cities.
As VentureBeat points out, Waymo's new mile marker puts it well ahead of other companies testing autonomous vehicles like Yandex and Baidu, which hit the 1-million mile mark last year. If you're wondering how far behind traditional automakers car, General Motors' Cruise company stated that it was close to hitting 1 million miles back in 2017.
"To put this in perspective, 20 million miles of driving experience is the equivalent of driving 800 times around the globe, making 40 trips to the moon and back, and accumulating 1,400 years of driving experience for an average American driver," said the company in a press release. "As we drive the next 10 million miles and beyond, we'll continue to scale our fully driverless miles, grow our community of riders, and tackle new geographies and related complexities, empowered by our fifth-generation hardware suite."
Waymo's Way Ahead Of The Pack
Seeing any company pass 20 million miles is an incredible feat. But the amount of time it took Waymo to do so is even more impressive. Waymo's autonomous vehicles first hit the road in 2009 and it wasn't until 10 years later when the company hit 10 million miles. The company managed to double that amount in roughly one year.
"It took us a decade to drive the first 10 million miles but just over one year to complete these last 10 million" said Waymo in a statement.
Other companies would see 20 million miles and wonder how on earth they'll ever be able to get in the same ballpark as Waymo, but the company has probably covered billions of more miles in simulators. Still, nothing can replace real-world testing. "You need to have a lot of real world experience," Krafcik said at a dinner hosted by Fortune Magainze. "There's no way to avoid it."
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