When Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google back in 1998, the idea that their tech company would go on to establish dominance across the globe was just but a dream.
Two decades later, this dream is more than a reality. Google is the go-to search engine across the world, and the company itself is one of the Big Four tech companies dominating cyberspace.
Naturally, a tech company as huge as this would be interested in self-driving cars. Waymo became the manifestation of Google’s ambitions, with the tech development company starting out as a Google project in 2009 before becoming a fully-fledged Alphabet Inc. subsidiary.
Google’s Parent Company
For those who don’t get the connection, Alphabet Inc. is Google’s parent company, created in 2015 after the 1998 company was restructured. As such, some of Google’s subsidiaries effectively became subsidiaries of Alphabet Inc.
Waymo has been making positive strides where autonomous cars are concerned, although so far, the company’s cars are limited to Phoenix, Arizona. There are definitely plans for expansion in place, and in fact, Waymo intends to spread its reach to Europe.
Just this December, the company acquired a British startup by the name Latent Logic, a company that provides artificial intelligence-powered software used for autonomous vehicle testing. If we’re to have self-driving cars, they’ve got to be safe, no?
Confirming the acquisition to The Guardian, Shimon Whiteson, the Latent Logic founder admitted that in joining Waymo, his company was taking steps in the right direction and that the partnership would help them realize their dream of safe autonomous vehicles.
Whiteson was actually quite excited, and the founder admitted as much. He revealed that his startup had taken great strides within the past two years and in combining their expertise with Waymo’s resources, they can achieve even greater things.
According to Forbes, imitation learning is Latent Logic’s specialty. By collecting traffic data, the company tweaks its algorithms to recognize real life driving behavior. The idea here is to eventually make self-driving cars better at identifying unpredictable situations and as such, react appropriately.
Though news of the acquisition has been in the public domain for some time now, the one thing that still remains a secret is the amount Waymo paid to acquire Latent Logic. Business Insider reports that they reached out to Google concerning this, but the tech giant was unavailable for comment.
Cost of acquisition aside, the move by Waymo means that they’re just about to break ground into the UK and by extension, the rest of Europe.
While announcing the Latent Logic acquisition, the Alphabet subsidiary announced that they’d be setting up a European engineering hub, the first of its kind in the continent for the company.
The hub will be in Oxford, the city in which their newest acquisition is based. It only makes sense for them to create their engineering plant here, right? You reckon that Latent are just about to realize a lot of the dreams they had when starting out.
Concerning creating a niche for themselves in Europe, Waymo and French car manufacturer penned a deal back in October to have Waymo cars operational in Paris by 2024, the year France will be hosting the Olympics.