Alphabet builds tomorrow’s tech in fantasyland
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Alphabet builds tomorrow’s tech in fantasyland

Silicon Valley superstar Alphabet is known for breaking all the conventional rules when it comes to tech development. So it is perhaps not surprising that the way its subsidiary Waymo is training its self-driving cars sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. According to a report in The Atlantic, Waymo has created a “virtual world” called Carcraft so that its vehicles can learn to drive, and is testing them in a “fake city” that it has constructed in California, where they can interact with real world scenarios like roundabouts and driveways.

Alphabet’s share price has risen by 19% so far in 2017

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Source: Yahoo Finance

Waymo has been around for eight years, and is clearly pulling out all the stops to get its self-driving cars to market. Given the formidable resources at its disposal, and its head start time wise, it is looking increasingly difficult for competitors to reach the finish line first.

The company’s virtual world, which takes its name from popular massively multiplayer online roleplaying game World of Warcraft, is designed to test self-driving software in cityscape recreations. Some of the templates used include Mountain View, California, and Austin, Texas. The company puts its software through 8 million virtual miles every day, focusing on trickier road conditions. Its “fake city”, meanwhile, sees 3 million miles a year, and puts the cars through their paces in as realistic a scenario as possible.

Disclosure
Dominion holds Alphabet in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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