This segment originally aired Jan. 27, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
You can’t walk down the street in San Francisco without seeing a car with a spinning tassel of lasers speed by. Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, all have self-driving projects. Uber has autonomous cars already picking up riders in Phoenix.
And now there’s a new entry in the self-driving arms race, rolled out at the end of January. It’s a collaboration between Chrysler and Waymo, a spinoff of Google X, the search giant’s highly secretive special projects lab.
The project opened its offices to VICE News for a rare glimpse of what it’s building and shared never-before-seen footage of early prototypes.
“Well, [the car is] not exactly grandma-level. It’s assertive, but it’s very safe. It remembers all the steps, every time,” said Nathaniel Fairfield, a roboticist from Carnegie Mellon University and the principal engineer for Waymo.