Waymo: Next Generation Vehicle Powered by Chrysler Pacifica
When Google unveiled its brand new self-driving car prototype in May 2014, it looked liked something straight out of a sci-fi movie. However, Waymo, the Google branch of automotives, decided to change it up their sci-fi looking prototype, so they teamed up with Chrysler and made the Chrysler Pacifica a self driving vehicle. Yes, you understood correctly, it’s a self-driving vehicle.
Considered safer by nature because self-driving systems have been shown to make less driving errors than humans, Waymo recently received a patent to soften the car’s body in the event of an accident. If an accident occurs, the system can change the rigidity of body panels, bumpers and the hood using underlying cables, rods and/or springs.
“The Pacifica minivans are equipped with our latest generation of custom-built radar, LiDAR and vision systems and an all-new AI compute platform, so they can see even further and sharper,” Waymo designers said. “They can also reach full speed (where the Firefly is limited to 25 mph), and the interior is equipped with creature comforts that passengers expect in their vehicles today – which makes our initial fleet of 600 self-driving minivans a perfect fit for our early rider program.”
Now here’s the deal, this is just a patent. A number of legitimate questions came to the surface as far as how safe the vehicle really is. Would the cables and other attachments add more cost to the car? Would the shell be as durable in the event of a car-on-car crash as a conventional panel?
Manufacturers have actually been working with one family to test out the vehicle itself. CEO of Waymo, John Krafcik explained, “Over the course of this trial, we’ll be accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs who want to ride in and give feedback about Waymo’s self-driving cars.”
Of course, the public is nervous about an autonomous driving tech. However, if Waymo can decrease the injuries caused by self-drivers, it’s making the roads a lot safer.