announcement came from John Krafcik, head of Google's Waymo
unit, whose search for partners to develop and install the
company's autonomous driving technology into real cars has so
far yielded only an alliance with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and
a pending deal with Honda Motor Co.
Headlining a future mobility conference during the show's media
preview, Krafcik said Waymo's latest set of self-driving
hardware and software incorporated a new array of sensors,
including an enhanced vision system, improved radar and
laser-based lidar, all developed and built in-house.
Krafcik said Waymo had reduced the cost of a single lidar unit
by 90 percent, to about $7,500. Among major outside suppliers of
this technology, Velodyne Lidar Inc and Quanergy Systems Inc
both have said they are developing smaller solid-state lidar
units that eventually would cost $200 or less.
Waymo's existing test fleet of self-driving cars, including some
specially equipped Lexus RX450s and Google's own "Firefly"
prototypes, has accumulated nearly 2.5 million miles in less
than eight years, mostly on city streets.
Krafcik said Waymo planned to test the first self-driving
Pacificas this month on public roads in California and Arizona.
He did not say when the system would be ready to install in
Delphi Automotive Plc and Mobileye NV have said they are
collaborating on a self-driving system that could be sold to
automakers beginning in 2019.
Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and BMW AG have said they
intend to introduce self-driving cars in 2021.
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage and Paul Lienert in Detroit;
Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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