Later this month, Waymo will begin testing its self-driving cars on the roads of Arizona and California, said John Krafcik, the CEO of Alphabet's self-driving car spin-off.

Following a partnership with Fiat Chrysler last spring, Waymo was able to boost its fleet of self-driving cars, equipped with Google cameras, lasers, and radar. At the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit Sunday, the company unveiled its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivan, assembled with parts made in-house.

"It's all designed and built from the ground up by Waymo, with every part manufactured with one goal in mind: to safely handle the complex task of full autonomy," says Krafcik.

Krafcik said that innovations in manufacturing have enabled Waymo engineers to cut the development cost of LiDar, the radar that guides self-driving cars, by 90 percent from a cost of $75,000 per vehicle.

In his remarks, Krafcik harkened back to the big-picture mission of self-driving technology. "1.2 million deaths each year, 20 million people who can't drive in the U.S. alone," he said. "So many lifetimes wasted in traffic. We know there's a better way."

Published on: Jan 9, 2017