Waymo has covered some serious miles in testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads, five million (8 million km) of them, in fact. To go with the milestone, the self-driving Google spin-off has shared a 360-degree video that demonstrates how its vehicles see the world, while taking you along for the ride.
Waymo's accumulation of testing miles has been picking up speed in a big way. After starting out as Google's self-driving project in 2009, it was six years before it passed one million miles (1.6 million km) in June 2015, and then went onto clock up the next four million in just over two-and-a-half years.
Having rebranded as Waymo under Google's parent company Alphabet in 2016, its vehicles clocked up the last million miles in under three months, and today cover more miles in a day than the average US adult does in an entire year.
Waymo's vehicles use tools like LIDAR, radar and high-definition cameras to form a picture of the world around them and make their way through traffic. The data gathered and lessons learned by one car are then shared across Waymo's entire fleet. They are also put to use at its private test track and in its driving simulators that it says drove 2.7 billion virtual miles (4.3 billion km) in 2017.
The 360-degree video shared by Waymo offers an immersive and informative look at all this tech in action, along with an entertaining look at how self-driving cars go about their business. The footage was captured aboard one of its Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans as it cruised around Phoenix, Arizona. Check it out below.
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