ATWATER, Calif. -- Waymo CEO John Krafcik is confident the company is "really close" to removing the driver from the driver's seat.
But much work remains, including figuring out a business model and timeline.
Google's self-driving car unit opened the doors to Castle — its private testing facility here — to reporters on Monday, showing what progress it has made so far.
Waymo offered testing demonstrations and driverless rides in Chrysler Pacifica minivans fitted with self-driving technology.
Waymo's goal is bringing Level 4 automation — meaning the vehicle can drive without human supervision in defined conditions — to the public.
"All of the folks playing in the [Level] 4 space right now have drivers in the driver's seat," Krafcik said. "We're really close. I won't give a specific date, but we'll do it when we're convinced we're ready."
Under Google, and now as a standalone entity, Waymo has been developing self-driving technology for eight years. As a tech company without the gradual development of a traditional automotive product cycle, Waymo is jumping straight to a system that requires no human interaction, with a heavy focus on shaping a new passenger experience.