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Waymo Ditches The Term 'Self-Driving,' Taking Apparent Aim At Tesla

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Waymo Ditches The Term 'Self-Driving,' Taking Apparent Aim At Tesla

Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Waymo announced in its blog that henceforth the company would address its mobility services as "fully autonomous driving technology," and ditch the term "self-driving."

What Happened: Starting with the fully-autonomous labeling, Waymo’s blog said that its technology is distinctly separate from the driver assistance systems of other automakers that require human intervention.

While Waymo didn't name any automaker directly, it has contested the claims of Tesla Inc.'s (NASDAQ: TSLA) full self-driving being at par with its autonomous driving technology before.  

Waymo said that accurately wording the technology could also save lives. Of late, Tesla has been mired in safety-related controversies, which picked up much more steam after a fatal crash in South Korea led to two people being injured and one fatality.

At the beginning of 2020, Tesla faced 14 scrutinies by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for accidents that involved its autopilot systems.

Why Does It Matter: Waymo clarified that erroneously branding driver assists as fully autonomous sends a wrong message to auto buyers and enthusiasts. The post suggested that misleading impressions could inflate the ability of the vehicle and result in an unnecessary risk to drivers, passengers, and others on the road.

"Unfortunately, we see that some automakers use the term 'self-driving' in an inaccurate way, giving consumers and the general public a false impression of the capabilities of driver assist (not fully autonomous) technology," Waymo said.

"That false impression can lead someone to unknowingly take risks (like taking their hands off the steering wheel) that could jeopardize not only their own safety but the safety of people around them."

Price Action: GOOG stock closed at $1,735.29, 0.32% lower whereas GOOGL fell 0.99% to close Wednesday at $1,722.98.

 

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