Google’s self-driving car project has been spun off into its own company, called Waymo.
The move, confirmed by Waymo’s boss John Krafcik, demonstrates Google’s advanced development of autonomous technology, despite previous reports alleging that the project had been canned.
The creation of Waymo suggests Google's parent company Alphabet is keen to monetise its research and development into autonomous driving, as rivals gather pace in a bid to be the first to launch production-ready self-driving vehicles.
While early reports suggested that Google would produce its own autonomous car, it now looks unlikely that this is the purpose of the newly formed company.
Instead, the potential areas of business for Waymo spread beyond providing the technology under license to the new car market. During the press conference confirming Waymo, Krafcik mentioned freight and the car sharing industry, as well as public transport, which includes new ride-hailing businesses such as Uber.
He said: "We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport. In the long term, self-driving technology could be useful in ways the world has yet to imagine, creating many new types of products, jobs, and services"
"It's an indication of the maturity of our technology," he added, outlining the company’s “confidence that we are close to bringing this to a lot of people”.