September 8, 2017

Report: Waymo to release self-driving minivan by 2025

Google sister company could tailor technology for logistics industry to save money on gas and driver charges, Frost and Sullivan says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Transportation technology vendor Waymo, the sister company of Google Inc., is on track to release an autonomous minivan by 2025, and could adopt that technology for commercial use in logistics applications, according to an industry report.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Waymo, the autonomous-vehicle technology division of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is contributing the software and sensors that could allow a Chrysler Pacifica minivan to drive in fully autonomous mode, according to the report from Frost & Sullivan, "Strategic Analysis of Waymo's Future Autonomous Disruptive Capabilities for the Automotive Industry."

If Waymo succeeds in that plan, it could use the same technology in other sectors, including the logistics, retail, and public transportation industries, Frost & Sullivan says. Commercial transportation companies could then use Waymo's software and sensors to build self-driving vehicles that save on fuel and driver costs, according to the report.

Other companies working on self-driving car technology include Uber Technologies Inc., which acquired the autonomous trucking startup Otto in 2016, as well as Volvo Group and Daimler Trucks North America LLC.

Waymo's progress is a sign that the automotive industry is poised to transform from manufacturing basic transportation platforms to developing highly connected digital ecosystems that unite a range of connected devices, Frost & Sullivan said. Those devices could enable the collection of data from both vehicles and users, allowing vendors to offer customized services, the report said.

"Waymo's autonomous technology has vast revenue potential in shared mobility and data-based services, and in various applications such as self-driving trucks, cars, and drones," said Frost & Sullivan Mobility Research Analyst Ajay Natteri Mangadu. "However, with every major automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) working on their own in-house autonomous software, finding the right partner to license Waymo's technology will be imperative to its success."

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