With an eye toward the future of self-driving cars with next-level safety and reliability, Waymo has introduced its fifth-generation system for autonomous vehicles. Called Waymo Driver, the system promises a more comprehensive understanding of the vehicle’s surroundings and a number of impressive new capabilities, including an ability to spot debris and stop signs hundreds of meters up the road.
According to company, the development of Waymo Driver was guided by data gathered over 20 million miles of self-driving by its cars, along with 10 billion miles of simulations. The combination of hardware and software is designed to give its vehicles an unprecedented ability to navigate complex driving environments, all based on a decade of testing in the real world.
Among the hardware upgrades are new lidar sensors that work together to offer a rooftop 360-degree, bird’s eye view of the surroundings. This can apparently pick up a car door opening a city block away, enable trucks to detect debris hundreds of meters up the highway, along with a much-improved ability to detect objects close by and squeeze through tight spaces in busy areas.