While they will probably be mourned in the same way that the end of smallpox was mourned, it will be another job which will have been lost to machines. Until Waymo works out a way to make them swear and knock cyclists off their bikes.
Waymo, which is a Google spin-off, will be deploying its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans onto public roads for the first time later this month.
The minivans will be hitting the roads in Mountain View, California and Phoenix, Arizona, where the company’s self-driving Lexus SUVs have already driven thousands of miles over the past few years.
The outfit showed off its self-driving Pacificas, which have been under wraps since the deal between Google and Fiat Chrysler was first announced back in May 2016.
Waymo says that for the first time, its producing all the technology that enables its cars to completely drive themselves in-house. That means for the first time, the Google spin-off is building all its own cameras, sensors, and mapping technology, rather than purchasing parts off the shelf.
This means the outfit can have more control over its self-driving hardware, as well as bring the cost down to ridiculously cheap levels.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik said that by building its own LIDAR sensors the company cut 90 percent off its costs and sensors that Google purchased for $75,000 back in 2009 now only cost $7,500 now.
Rumor has it that Waymo and Chrysler will eventually launch its own autonomous ride-sharing service to compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft, possibly by using Google’s Waze mapping service.
Krafcik said Waymo was looking at ride-hailing, logistics, personal transportation, and last-mile business.