How do Google's self-driving cars work

Autonomous driving: Google subsidiary Waymo

(dpa / mas) Driverless taxis will be on the road in the US state of Arizona in the near future: Alphabet Waymo, Google's outsourced autonomous driving division, received approval on January 24, 2018. Waymo maintains a fleet of converted Chrysler Pacifica, which, with the appropriate technology, are able to move autonomously in traffic. A video shows how this works and what it feels like to ride in such a Waymo van:

Latest generation lidar sensors

Lidar and radar sensors scan the environment in a 360-degree radius and recognize the type, distance and speed of other road users.

The technology in the driverless taxis is based primarily on the signals from various lidar and radar sensors, which constantly scan the environment - in a 360-degree radius the size of three football fields, as the video explains in spacey, colorful images. The lidar sensor is probably an in-house development that Waymo had surprisingly presented at the Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS) 2017 and which is only supposed to cost a fraction of the devices available until then. The sensor, which is essential for autonomous driving, works in a similar way to a radar device and sits on the hood of the Faraday Future FF91 electric car presented at the CES. This piece of hardware is (or possibly was) one of the largest cost factors in the development of autonomous cars.

The Chrysler Pacifica has the latest generation of cameras and sensors on board. Google has given the autonomous software a comprehensive update.

In 2009, when Google started developing a self-driving car, a lidar sensor still cost $ 75,000, Krafcik said at the Detroit Auto Show. The Google subsidiary succeeded in reducing the costs for this by 90 percent. As the Carscoops blog reports, Krafcik announced that he wanted to work with all car manufacturers. Since October 2016, Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have been converting 100 Chrysler Pacifica into autonomous cars with Google's robot technology - which are now on the road.

Plans for own "Google Auto" are probably discontinued

Google's autonomous car was introduced in 2014. The project has now been discontinued.

Google had introduced a small electric two-seater from its own development in 2014. It was said that in the future, the cars should be controlled completely by the computer and get by without a steering wheel or pedals. The prototypes of the Google Car, which were tested in Google's hometown of Mountain View and in Austin (Texas), still had both - among other things because the traffic regulations required this. In the meantime, Google has apparently stopped plans for its own car and outsourced the division. The sister company Waymo, founded in 2017, focuses on the development of the hardware and software required for autonomous driving.