Auto Tech

Samsung joins Waymo in California self-driving 'playground'

It's not doing as much work as Google's spinoff, which is why it's managed to exist in Castle without much fanfare.

I wonder if the guy on the bike had to sign a waiver, knowing full well he might end up in a windshield as part of his job. Working from home seems real nice, all of a sudden.

Waymo

For the longest time, Waymo's been alone at the former Castle Air Force Base in California. But now, it has a friend.

Samsung has also taken up residence at Castle, WardsAuto reports, citing confirmation from a local county community director. While Samsung doesn't have plans to build a car from the ground up, it does intend to make its way into the autonomous vehicle space, which is why it's planted roots in Castle.

The base has been closed since the 1990s, but Waymo slid into the space back in 2013, creating a 91-acre autonomous sandbox that allows the company to conduct controlled testing in an urban environment of its own making. There are railroad tracks, driveways and high-speed segments that Waymo uses to ensure its self-driving cars are ready to take on public roads.

Fun fact: Roadshow's own Tim Stevens recently took a trip out yonder Castle way to take a spin in the latest iteration of Waymo's AV. The upfitted Chrysler Pacificas are capable of full autonomy without human input, and in advance of a public pilot in Phoenix, the Google spinoff has outfitted its cars with user interfaces that allow riders to see what the car is "seeing" as it strolls down the street.

Castle's newfound use won't be limited to Waymo and Samsung. Eventually, Waymo's AV space will be part of something much larger -- the California AutoTech Testing, Development and Production Campus, which will comprise 300 acres and become home to any number of suppliers and developers who want to use the space to develop next-gen auto tech.