Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Alphabet, announced on Wednesday (Oct. 10) that its self-driving vehicles have surpassed 10 million miles driven on public roads.
In a blog post, Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik said the millions of miles were driven in 25 cities across the U.S. across different conditions, speeds and roads.
“Our progress on public roads is made possible by our deep investment in simulation. By the end of the month, we’ll cross seven billion miles driven in our virtual world (that’s 10 million miles every single day),” wrote Krafcik in the blog post. “In simulation, we can recreate any encounter we have on the road and make situations even more challenging through ‘fuzzing.’ We can test new skills, refine existing ones and practice extremely rare encounters, constantly challenging, verifying and validating our software. We can learn exponentially through this combination of driving on public roads and simulation.”
The CEO said the next 10 million miles will be focused on turning its advanced technology into a service that people will use. He noted that Waymo’s vehicles are fully self-driving in a territory within the Greater Phoenix area, and that they are working to master more driving capabilities so the vehicles can operate in more places. Krafcik added that today, the cars are programmed to take the safest possible route to a destination even if it adds more time to the trip. To help make routes, pickups, and drop-offs more efficient, they are working on finding the balance between being cautious and courteous and being assertive, as the cars master tough driving maneuvers, such as merging lanes in fast-moving traffic.
“Over the next 10 million miles, our journey will take even more riders to even more places, in cars that are safe, in addition to being more capable, comfortable and convenient,” the CEO wrote. “Building the world’s most experienced driver is a mission we’ll pursue for millions of miles to come, from 10 to 100 million and beyond.”