SAN FRANCISCO — Google’s self-driving car is ready to take the wheel.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said on Tuesday that its autonomous vehicle project was spinning off from its research lab X and would operate as a stand-alone company under the name Waymo.
Alphabet’s decision to spin out Waymo is a signal that the company thinks its self-driving technology has advanced beyond research project status and is ready for commercialization.
Autonomous vehicles are a hotly contested field of technology, pursued by other tech giants, promising upstarts and traditional automakers — all who see the potential of self-driving cars to upend the automobile industry.
Advancements in sensor technology coupled with breakthroughs in machine learning — the ability of computers to learn from vast amounts of data and improve over time — mean driverless cars (essentially supercomputers on wheels) could become a regular sight on the roads over the next few years.