Waymo: Full speed ahead as Google spins off self-driving car business

Lynsey Barber
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Google has been working on driverless car technology for years (Source: Getty)

Google is stepping up a gear with its self-driving car project, spinning it out into a separate business it will call Waymo.

It will now come out of the shadows at what is known as Google X's "moonshiots" and under the umbrella of parent company Alphabet.

"It's an indication of the maturity of our technology. We can imagine our self-driving tech being used in all sorts of areas," said chief executive of the unit John Krafcik announcing the shake up.

Read more: Driverless cars have officially hit the UK's roads for the first time

Google was one of the first companies off the mark when it comes to the technology which many believe could make driving a car a thing of the past in urban areas.

Collectively Google's test versions of driverless cars have clocked up an astonishing 300 years of driving experience over two million miles.

Read more: The world's first driverless taxis have hit the road (beating Uber)

The move to spin out the business comes as competition mounts; rivals in self-driving technology include Uber, Elon Musk's Tesla and Apple as well as startups.

Apple's not-so-top secret plans have apparently veered off course however, with reports suggesting Project Titan, as it's known, is being "drastically scaled back".

The spin off into a separate company under the Alphabet umbrella suggests its efforts in self-driving technology may become more transparent: it's likely to lift the lid in its earnings giving more of a glimpse of what it's doing.

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