Waymo has introduced its fifth generation self-driving car technology on the heels of major investment news.
It's the first fully-outfitted version of its Jaguar I-Pace car, which looks significantly different from its Chrysler minivans.
The latest model comes two days the company said it raised $2.25 billion led by Silicon Valley investment firms including Silver Lake -- Waymo's first external investment round. Waymo was Google's self-driving car division until 2016, when it became an independent company under Google-parent Alphabet. Overall, the group has spent more than a decade working on self-driving technology, and is just starting to commercialize the technology now. Last fall, the company began selling rides in full self-driving taxis to riders in Chandler, Arizona, and this week it announced it had begun operating a delivery service called Waymo Via.
In a blog post Wednesday, Waymo's head of hardware Satish Jeyachandran stated the new car can detect a clearer view of its surroundings from further away. It also claims it can distinguish the opening of a car door a city block away and gives trucks ability to spot debris.
"Over the past few months, people have begun to notice more of our latest Waymo Driver cruising in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially since our all-electric Jaguar I-Paces look a little different thanks to our latest hardware sensor suite," Jeyachandran stated. "Informed by 20 million self-driven miles on public roads and over 10 billion miles of simulation, engineered to tackle an even more diverse range of complex driving environments with unparalleled capabilities, our completely redesigned fifth-generation hardware sensor suite will enable the scaled deployment of the Waymo Driver."
While the "Waymo Driver" refers to the self-driving software, the latest model also has a number of newly designed hardware sensors, which gets a bird's-eye view of the cars, cyclists, and pedestrians surrounding the vehicle, the company stated.
"No one type of sensor on its own can provide that level of detail in all operating conditions; therefore, we've spent over a decade developing a single integrated system comprised of complementary sensors to give our Driver this comprehensive view of the world so that it can safely navigate complex environments," Jeyachandran stated.