Make Way for Waymo: Google’s Driverless Car Project Becomes Its Own Company

A few years from now, Los Angelinos will probably have to sit in traffic, but they may not always have to do the driving. At least, that’s the vision of driverless carmakers, who continue to make news with progress toward a driverless future. The driverless car industry took another big step this week, as Google introduced a new company, Waymo, as the new home of its self-driving car initiatives.

Waymo won’t be manufacturing cars, just the technology behind them, which it intends to license to automakers, the Los Angeles Times reported. While the business’s executives aren’t naming specific dates, they seem optimistic that the technology will be hitting roads across the country by 2020.

What will this mean for traffic safety? According to the Los Angeles Times, Google’s self-driving cars have been involved in just 35 accidents over more than 2 million miles since 2009 – and Google says only one of those accidents was the fault of the driverless car.

Driverless car proponents have long argued that technology will make roads safer, though technology certainly brings new questions about safety and responsibility. What does it mean for a driverless car to be at fault in an accident, for example?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also took a huge step this year in establishing a policy framework for driverless technology. Like tech companies, the federal agency seems optimistic about the potential for driverless cars to make roads safer, noting that 94 percent of crashes involved human choice or error.

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