Waymo is stepping up its efforts to bring self-driving cars to market. The Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle company announced on Monday that it is creating 3D maps of Los Angeles to better understand the city’s traffic congestion and driving infrastructure to determine if they can launch their self-driving vehicles to act as ride-sharing services in the city.
LA is the second most populous city in the United States, so its heavily trafficked streets along with its dynamic transportation environment, make it the ideal testing ground for Waymo’s self-driving cars. The company revealed it will be deploying three Chrysler Pacifica minivans later this week to map LA, and their goal is to map the Los Angeles downtown area and the Miracle Mile.
Waymo said that starting this week people in Los Angeles “might catch a glimpse of Waymo’s cars on the streets,” and added that their self-driving vehicles “will be in town exploring how Waymo’s tech might complement the City’s innovative approach to transportation.”
Alexis Georgeson, a Waymo spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that they’re “going to these different cities to learn. Driving in Los Angeles gives them the opportunity to learn in a new environment and understand different traffic patterns to advance their technology.”
So, will Waymo be sending out its self-driving cars to map out the city on their own? No. Waymo Employees will drive the Chrysler Pacifica minivans to create the 3D maps of Los Angeles. Which means you don’t have to worry about autonomous vehicles speeding or blowing red lights, for now. But there’s a chance it may happen in the next few years. Who knows?
Waymo is currently testing its self-driving vehicles in San Francisco, Florida, Washington, and Michigan. In Michigan they’re testing autonomous vehicles in snow, in San Francisco they’re analyzing traffic patterns, and in Florida and Washington the company is testing its vehicles in rain. And although most of the action is taking place in Mountain View area and Phoenix, the number of cities where Waymo is doing research keeps growing every day.
What do you think about Waymo’s self-driving cars and 3D maps of LA? Let us know down in the comments below.