Google has unveiled its latest self-driving system in a Chrysler Pacifica vehicles during a preview of the Detroit Auto Show.
The demonstration was made by John Krafcik, head of Google's Waymo department. This company has been searching for partners to develop the autonomous driving technology and apply it into real cars. It has so far only reached an cooperation with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It is also expected to reach an agreement with Honda Motor Co.
Krafcik said Waymo's latest self-driving hardware and software integrate a new set of sensors, including the improved vision system, radar and lidar, which are all developed and produced by Google.
Krafcik said Waymo had cut down the cost of lidar by 90 percent to about $7500. As the major outside suppliers of this technology, Velodyne Lidar Inc and Quanergy Systems Inc both have said they are developing smaller solid-state lidar components that eventually would cost $200 or less.
Waymo is now testing self-driving cars, including some remoulded Lexus RX450s and Google's own Firefly prototypes. These cars have accumulated nearly 2.5 million miles in less than 8 years, mostly on city streets.
Krafcik said Waymo planned to test Pacificas equipped with self-driving system on public roads in California and Arizona in January. He did not reveal when the system would be installed in volumn-produced vehicles.
Delphi Automotive Plc and Mobileye have said they are collaborating on a self-driving system which would be sold to automakers beginning from 2019.
Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and BMW AG all said they plan to launch self-driving cars in 2021.