Alphabet’s self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, has reached a milestone. On Monday, the company revealed its self-driving car fleet clocked four million miles since it first began testing its vehicles.
The most significant news is just how quickly the fleet covered the last one million miles. It took 18 months to log the first one million miles, but the most recent one million miles took only six months to log. It shows how rapidly Waymo is moving to deploy its technology. The company has often set the benchmark for self-driving cars among other competitors such as General Motors’ Cruise Automation.
The company said it would take the average American driver 300 years to cover the same amount of distance it’s covered since 2009. And aside from the real-world mileage, Waymo cars have clocked 2.5 billion simulated miles. In testing, 25,000 virtual self0-driving cars drive simulations to practice scenarios encountered in the real world. If that’s not enough, Waymo also makes the virtual cars re-drive the miles actual cars have logged so the software can learn at an even quicker pace.
Thus far, Waymo has tested its cars in 23 U.S. cities, though most of the tests have occurred in warm, dry climates. The real test for self-driving cars may come in the Midwest and East coast regions where freezing temperatures and snow are common.