Overview: Waymo – Google self-driving division

The boss of the most powerful of the self-driving car technology company in the world has a Porsche 911 GT3 on order. And a Caterham in the garage. And two other Porsche 911s tucked away to the side: a 997 series C2 S and a 964-series Targa.

Easy mood, and always the evangelist, John Krafcik ceo of Waymo, on the part of Google, breaks into a smile that he can see my brain of the computer. “We are not the enemy. Yes, you can have self-driving cars and car enthusiasts,” he says, smiling. “What we are doing at Waymo does not mean the end of the pipe.

If you just want to go somewhere, we hope that you use one of our cars. Hail on the app, which is there, independently, hop.

Jaguar agreement could encourage Waymo to start the autonomous car tests in great Britain

“But people still want to own cars – and if you buy something, we want it to be special.

I can see how one could disrupt the utility market, because we can probably cover these needs in a cost effective manner, but the beauty for the car lovers, it is that every car that is sold will have to be more interesting. It will have a purpose.”

Krafcik, 56, and Waymo been thrust further into the spotlight last month when it was announced that the company was committed to purchase up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Event, which it will offer to the public to use independently from 2020. To look at it, you might think that he had spent his life in Silicon Valley, there’s the floppy hair, stubbly chin and a pair of jeans, for starters – but in fact, he has spent decades in the automotive industry, working his way through the ranks (see story, right) before answering to the call of Google the founders of the head of Waymo in 2016.

Ask her if she has ever had plans – as rumored to make the cars as well as to develop self-driving technology and it is shy, saying only “I’m not aware of”. But when Waymo was launched at the end of 2016, the rumors have been, for the moment at least, firmly put to bed.

“We built our own test of the car, called Firefly, but it was really because we were able to take advantage of the so-called ” golf cart regulations that were in place to test our technology,” he says. “Up to 35 mph, he could run in the districts without the need of a steering wheel, and it was our way of logging test miles. But the complete construction of cars is best left to the experts. They have their specialties, we have ours.”

These miles are now Waymo, in response to concerns about the safety of the population, the testing of cars without drivers. Given a chance, Krafcik will repeat it like a mantra, the double facts that the company has covered five million autonomous test miles on public roads in the united states and more than five billion kilometres in the computer simulation. It will also state that Waymo owner lidar and radar systems, developed since 2008, are the best in the world, so much so that the company has the intention of becoming the first to start trials of autonomous cars without a ‘fail-safe’ man behind the wheel of more than 100 square kilometers of the area of Arizona this year.

“When we created the company, we asked ourselves what our role should be, and the response has been to design the best driver,” he says. “The technology that we have today can drive a giant truck for a Prius. If it moves, we can find a way to drive it.” Given that the studies suggest technology of autonomous control will be a £5 billion per year by the middle of this century, you’d think it was pretty easy to understand Google’s interest to participate. Krafcik counter with a steeliness that suggests that it can be a truth of his words: “You might think that money is the main motivator, but it can’t be. The goal is zero deaths. That is all. If it is time for the social benefits, then great.”

On the topic of security, Krafcik believes that the automotive industry has become complacent. “The word “accident” was in fact created to almost explain what were, in reality, tragedies,” he said. “Everyone knew the facts, but it had become a level of acceptance that people die because of cars. But 140 deaths in an hour is too much.

“Therefore, we adhere to the car for zero deaths. We want the safety and mobility for all. Neither is easy: the first is more than a goal, while the second is a great challenge. Only in the united states, there are 30 million people today who do not have access to public transportation.”

Waymo, of course, is one of the many companies vying for supremacy in the area, including Jaguar Land Rover, who will continue to develop its own systems, but there is no doubt that the benefit of the Google brains trust, reputation and war chest has given you a head start. Self-driving can’t be a nirvana for many car enthusiasts, but there is no doubt that, in Krafcik’s future is being pushed forward by one.

How Krafcik got to where he is today:

His years of training – “My boss [New – Motor Manufacturing Inc.] is a Yoda-like figure: very wise, but he talked in riddles. At the beginning of my career, I was sent to a GM plant. It was impressive, but I’ve noticed a few cars in the course of repair of the line and some people sleeping in cardboard boxes on the site. I’m back, presented my report, said how impressed I was, and so on, and then is sent to a Toyota factory in Japan. It is extraordinarily effective. My boss had his point of view: I recognised standards to achieve.”

Why he gave it all to be an engineer – “I wanted to design cars, so I asked Ford if I could. They offered me the chance to run some of the plants. I said no, persisted and finally obtained a role as a product design engineer. It was the best job I’ve ever had. I learned the process of product development and a respect for the manner in which automotive manufacturers, engineer-all quality and reliability.”

Why he left Ford – “At the time, it was the largest collection of smart people who could not work out how to get it on. I do not aspire to the next level of management in there that I didn’t like the way those people treat other people.”

The road of Waymo – “I joined Hyundai and had a blast. And then, at the height of the recession, I was invited to run Hyundai usa. We had a few wonderful years and then I joined the Real Car, a site selling cars. And then the phone rang. It was the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I took the call!”

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Jaguar agreement could encourage Waymo to start the autonomous car tests in great Britain