Alphabet’s Waymo division is ready to take on the Buckeye State as it announced on Tuesday a new facility in East Liberty, Ohio, to house its self-driving car prototypes. There, Waymo plans to put its Waymo Driver system to work on driving a car entirely by itself, through a complex urban environment within the test track. Also, it sounds like Waymo is excited to tackle more snow. Ohio has plenty.
The new site will come to life via a partnership with the Transportation Research Center, a proving ground that will loan some of its assets to Waymo. Once the company sets up the site, it plans to work on oddball driving situations that most drivers probably won’t ever encounter. Then, Waymo can place the Waymo Driver inside a virtual world to “practice” these scenarios as many times as the company wants, in order to make it smarter.
While the new facility in Ohio is good for snow and urban environments, Waymo also announced a second new facility in California for research and development. Based in Menlo Park, near Alphabet’s HQ in Mountain View, the workforce there will focus on Class 8 trucks. The company said it should be ready to move into the new facility next year, and it plans to continue expanding its presence in the Bay Area after the fact.