Google's self-driving prototype car.
Tony Avelar—AP/File

Google pivots on autonomous car project.

By Kirsten Korosec
December 13, 2016

Google’s self-driving car project is leaving the moonshot factory Google X and is spinning out to become a company called Waymo.

The new company, which will be headed by long-time automotive executive John Krafcik, will be housed under Google’s parent company Alphabet.

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Alphabet describes Waymo as “a self-driving tech company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.”

“As we look at this space, we can imagine our self-driving technology being used in lots of different ways,” CEO John Krafcik said in a presentation.

 

The company had planned to commercialize its self-driving cars by 2020. This move represents a pivot of sorts as Google moves to license its self-driving technology to third-party companies including automakers and ride-hailing firms as opposed to building their own transportation as a service company.

“At Waymo, we’re an optimistic bunch,” said Krafcik. “We’re now an independent company.”

This is a developing story.

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