For some time now, Google has been working on self-driving car technology, and while there has been little in the way of big announcements for some time now, things look to be changing on that front just as we start to say goodbye to the year that has been 2016. Google has been hard at work testing their self-driving cars on the roads of California for a while now, and while they’ve definitely been making progress, the project has appeared like an experiment without much runway. After all, there’s no way that someone can sell a self-driving car just yet, and the technology is still at least 5, to 10 years away from hitting the mainstream in any meaningful way and given that the Internet giant has poured a lot of money into such an experiment, it’s no surprise that Google is now spinning it off into its own company, dubbed Waymo.
The news broke today via a press event that was being held in California, that Google were to spin off the self-driving car unit into its own company and would be moving it over to Alphabet in a similar fashion to how Google itself had been moved over to Alphabet. Jon Krafcik, now CEO of the newly-formed Waymo made the simple and straightforward announcement that “we’re now an independent company within the Alphabet umbrella” earlier today. This news comes after reports of Google pivoting in their direction where self-driving cars are concerned, and rather than focus entirely on making sure that the technology is ready for commercialization in 2020 as they previously had, would now look to license this technology to interested third-parties.
It appears that said press event was invite only, and right now there’s only quotes and snippets to go on, but there is a new domain of www.waymo.com, which gives us a Google-y 404 page. As of writing, there is no information on the official Alphabet page for investors, where news is also listed, and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the way of an official press release. All of this is likely to come later on, but for now, all we know is that the self-driving part of Google is driving itself over to Alphabet and will become an entirely independent company under the Alphabet umbrella.
UPDATE: A new logo for the company has been released and can be seen below: