Waymo is a spin-off of Google that is contributing to what all of us here at Playboy have noticed as the imminent robot-takeover. It seems the robo-domination is now taking the form of Chrysler Mini-vans that could eradicate the very concept of soccer moms.
Waymo has outfitted a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica mini-vans, with their own company developed sensors. By creating the parts that they augment the cars with in-house, (cameras, sensors, and mapping technology) the company has better control over its product. The true benefit? Well, it also saves quite a bit of money and affords their self-driving cars a larger degree of consumer viability. More cost-effective means leads to a more cost effective product, and in turn leads to more customers.
Test drives of Waymo vans have been happening for a while now in both Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Waymo testing facilities. The tests included harsh weather conditions to insure that the sensors were unaffected. Beyond what is known, there are rumors that FCA and Waymo are planning to start a ride-sharing service together according to The Verge. This would put them in a competitive role against Lyft and Uber, with self-driving cars as an even more cost effective rideshare service.
This also would relate to Waymo’s idea that they are building “better drivers” rather than Google’s earlier approach of building self-driving cars. The move from here on out seems to be focused on Google’s partnership with existing automobile manufacturers.
Regardless, the rapid pace of automated cars becoming more and more feasible is interesting. When the iPhone emerged on the market, it only took nine years for it to become a cultural mainstay. Could self-driving cars be the next thing we can’t live without?