Waymo unveiled an autonomous, all-electric minivan with no wheels, pedals, or mirrors that represents a bet on the future of ride-hailing

Waymo Introduces Autonomous, All-Electric MINIVAN With No Steering Wheel – In Ride-Hailing Expansion

Waymo introduces an autonomous, all-electric MINIVAN that has no steering wheel or pedals, but is equipped with three touchscreens to further fuel the expansion of ride-hailing

  • Waymo introduced a driverless, all-electric minivan that seats five
  • The sleek vehicle has no steering wheel, no pedals and no mirrors, but instead has automatic sliding doors and three touchscreens
  • Waymo currently offers some form of robotaxi service in two states, Arizona and California
  • “Vehicles can become a place to entertain friends, a mobile office for meetings, a space for kids to study, or a relaxing lounge,” said Waymo’s partner Geely

Waymo unveiled an autonomous, all-electric minivan with no wheels, pedals, or mirrors that represents a bet on the future of ride-hailing.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, is partnering with Geely Group’s Zeekr brand and designed it as an all-electric “Transport-as-a-Service (TaaS)-optimized” vehicle.

Waymo currently offers some form of robotaxi service in two states, Arizona and California, and showed off the minivan at a press event in Los Angeles this week.

The sleek-looking white vehicle has sliding doors reminiscent of the New York City subway, but it has no wheels, mirrors, or pedals.

Inside, there are three touchscreens that passengers can use to play music or select a destination, and enough room for five people.

Waymo unveiled an autonomous, all-electric minivan with no wheels, pedals, or mirrors that represents a bet on the future of ride-hailing

The company, which is a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, is partnering with Geely Group's Zeekr brand and designed it as an all-electric

The company, which is a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, is partnering with Geely Group’s Zeekr brand and designed it as an all-electric “Transport-as-a-Service (TaaS)-optimized” vehicle

“Vehicles can become a place to entertain friends, a mobile office for meetings, a space for kids to study, or a relaxing lounge to kick back and catch some ZZZ,” Geely said in a press release. “Users just have to step in and relax along the way.”

According to ArsTechnica, there is a cylindrical sensor on the vehicle repeated six times, which is most likely LIDAR, as well as additional sensors mounted lower in the front and rear.

Andy AN, CEO of ZEEKR, said: “The unveiling of ZEEKR’s SEA-M has demonstrated the technological strengths and potential of the brand.

‘ZEEKR will continue to work with great global partners to support better and more sustainable smart mobility for all.’

Waymo opened up its fully driverless ridesharing service in downtown Phoenix to all members of the general public last week, significantly expanding the technology in a major city.

The news came a day after Waymo received its driverless deployment permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which allows Waymo to collect fees for autonomous services like delivery in San Francisco — and it’s a step toward full driverless taxi deployment in the city Golden state.

Previously, the company operated the driverless service in downtown Phoenix only to people in its “Trusted Tester” program.

The sleek-looking white vehicle has sliding doors reminiscent of the New York City subway, but it has no wheels, mirrors, or pedals

The sleek-looking white vehicle has sliding doors reminiscent of the New York City subway, but it has no wheels, mirrors, or pedals

Inside, there are three touchscreens that passengers can use to play music or select a destination, and enough room for five people

Inside, there are three touchscreens that passengers can use to play music or select a destination, and enough room for five people

Waymo’s downtown Phoenix offering allows anyone who downloads the app and calls for a ride in the Waymo service area to pay for what the company describes as a “driver-only” experience in one of its Jaguar I-Pace referred to as electric vehicles.

Earlier this month, Waymo also launched trips — with a driver in the front seat — to Phoenix’s airport from downtown the city, according to TechCrunch.

The company currently has over 700 vehicles in its fleet, including a mix of Jaguar I-Pace EVs and Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans and Class 8 trucks.

Most of these vehicles are located in Arizona, California and Texas – and are used in test and commercial operations.

SELF-DRIVING CARS “SEE” WITH LIDAR, CAMERAS AND RADAR

Self-driving cars often use a combination of regular two-dimensional cameras and depth-sensing “LiDAR” units to see the world around them.

However, others use visible light cameras that capture images of the roads and streets.

You will be trained with a wealth of information and vast databases of hundreds of thousands of clips processed using artificial intelligence to accurately identify people, signs and hazards.

In LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanning, used by Waymo, one or more lasers emit short pulses that bounce back when they hit an obstacle.

These sensors constantly scan the surroundings in search of information and act as the car’s “eyes”.

While the devices provide depth information, their low resolution makes it difficult to detect small, distant objects without the help of a regular camera linked to them in real time.

Last November, Apple revealed details of its driverless car system, which uses lasers to detect pedestrians and cyclists from a distance.

Apple researchers said they were able to get “very encouraging results” in detecting pedestrians and cyclists using only LiDAR data.

They also wrote that they were able to beat other approaches to detecting three-dimensional objects that only use LiDAR.

Other self-driving cars typically rely on a combination of cameras, sensors, and lasers.

One example is Volvo’s self-driving cars, which rely on around 28 cameras, sensors and lasers.

A network of computers processes information that, together with GPS, creates a real-time map of moving and stationary objects in the area.

Twelve ultrasonic sensors around the car are used to identify objects near the vehicle and to support autonomous driving at low speeds.

A wave radar and camera placed on the windshield read traffic signs and the curvature of the road, and can recognize objects on the road like other road users.

Four radars behind the front and rear bumpers also locate objects.

Two long-range radars on the bumper are used to detect fast-moving vehicles approaching from far behind, which is useful on motorways.

Four cameras – two on the door mirrors, one on the grille and one on the rear bumper – monitor objects in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle and lane markings.

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