Google’s Alphabet X Spins Off Self-Driving Car Project as Waymo

The autonomous car division becomes a stand-alone company—one that needs to start making money.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has finally put a name on the self-driving car unit that it has been building in its X labs. The standalone company mobility will officially be named Waymo—as in, "way forward in mobility." (Yes, it's a bit of a stretch.)

CEO of Google's self-driving car unit John Krafcik will run Waymo as an independent business unit that will be expected to generate revenue for Alphabet. The company has been developing its autonomous driving technology for nearly a decade, and has been testing its self-driving platform in the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX vehicles it uses to populate Google Maps with street view images. It also tests two-person neighborhood electric vehicle pods that operate like a driverless taxi on its Mountain View and Austin campuses and nearby public residential streets.

However, as Google previously stated, the company doesn't intend to build its own autonomous vehicles, but rather partner with other manufacturing companies that are interested in licensing its self-driving technology platform. The company has partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to transform Pacifica minivans into driverless shuttles in Michigan. The state recently enacted legislation that loosens restrictions on AV testing, and doesn't require vehicles to have brake pedals, accelerators, steering wheels, or drivers unlike California's Department of Transportation.

Alphabet also released a letter from Krafcik, in which the CEO outlined the new division's grand plans for an autonomous vehicular future. Should you be interested, you can read the letter in its entirety right here on The Drive by clicking here.