Waymo ‘Dangerous’ Inner City Test Site

  • December 9, 2020
  • William Payne

Waymo is planning to build a replica city in Ohio to test its self driving technology under extreme conditions. The new city will mirror a dense urban environment, and Waymo plans to subject its technology to dangerous and extreme challenges. The technology will also have to contend with challenging weather conditions, with high wind, rain, sleet and snow fairly normal occurrences. The company is also opening a new research facility at Menlo Park, California, to test self driving long distance truck technologies.

Waymo is working with the Transportation Research Centre (TRC) in Ohio to open a new testing site for the Waymo Driver, the company’s autonomous driving technology. The new site will be built to Waymo’s own specification, and allow for testing for dangerous events.

Most of Waymo’s tests to date have been conducted in suburban settings in southern US states, where weather conditions are typically hot and clear. The Ohio site will be closer to the driving challenges to be found in cities such as New York, Chicago or Detroit, with dense inner city driving, poorer visibility, and more challenging weather conditions.

By locating in Ohio, Waymo is also opening a facility that is close to the heartland of America’s conventional automobile industry.

The Alphabet subsidiary will also be using other TRC facilities for testing purposes.

The company also plans to open a new R&D facility in Menlo Park, California. The new site will focus on Waymo’s collaboration with Daimler to develop autonomous long distance trucks. The aim is to develop production self-driving trucks based on Daimler’s Freightliner Cascadia.

The new Menlo Park facility will house not only research teams, but will have sufficient space to house and test its experimental self driving trucks.