Waymo’s artificial intelligence is centrally linked between all of the cars in its fleet, and those cars have now collectively driven over 4 million fully autonomous miles. The 4 million mile figure does not take time on the test track or in simulations into consideration, and is only the total miles driven by Waymo test vehicles on public roads. Waymo was the first player in the self-driving car revolution to actually put a fully autonomous vehicle with no driver takeover feature out onto public roads, a feat that the company has been working toward since all the way back in 2009.
In order to celebrate the occasion, Waymo took to Medium to write up a post detailing some of the milestones that it passed by in order to get to where it is today. From its start in 2009, for example, it took Waymo until 2015 to get to 1 million fully autonomous miles on public roads. From there, however, it took just over two years to get to 4 million. The company has also gotten permission to test its vehicles on public roads in 23 cities across 4 states. The diverse flora, fauna, roadways, locals, and climates of California, Washington, Texas, and Arizona have given Waymo some seriously diverse experience in the real world. Where the experience for Waymo’s vehicles has really diversified, though, is on the test track. Here, the company has put together some 20,000 different scenarios, such as skateboarders lying on their boards, people jumping out of sacks, and drivers peeling out of driveways.
Waymo is one of the oldest names in the self-driving world, and at this point, the most advanced by a fairly wide margin. Early competitor Uber has been all but edged out after a lawsuit centering around the latter’s theft of Waymo’s trade secrets. Early partnerships with major automakers have helped Waymo along in its development and integration of self-driving systems, especially in the case of a partnership with Chrysler that yielded the custom-made Pacifica units that currently serve as the flagships of Waymo’s fleet. The company has also partnered up with ridesharing outfit Lyft, and will likely be able to ferry the general public around in fully autonomous cars in the very near future.