Waymo will start mapping the complex traffic patterns of New York City

Waymos like this one will soon be scanning NYC.

Enlarge / Waymos like this one will soon be scanning NYC.

Waymo is headed to the Big Apple—for initial testing, anyway.

Alphabet’s self-driving car division announced it will start mapping New York City. Starting today, Waymos will be cruising around Manhattan, going through the Lincoln Tunnel, visiting Times Square, driving by Central Park, and doing other usual New York City tourist stuff.

Note that Waymo is mapping New York City, not autonomously driving there. Safety drivers will be behind the wheel, manually controlling the vehicles at all times. The self-driving sensors will be on full blast, though, and they will scan every nook and cranny of the company’s New York City territory to create a detailed self-driving map. Once the map is built, Waymo will load the city data into a simulation to see how the “Waymo Driver” software reacts to daily life in NYC. Then the company can tweak, test, and improve its software safely.

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