Google self driving car, now has company name

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(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO  — The self-driving car project that Google started seven years ago has grown into a company called Waymo.

The new identity announced Tuesday marks another step in an effort to revolutionize the way people get around. Instead of driving themselves, people will be chauffeured in robot-controlled vehicles if Waymo, automakers and ride-hailing service Uber realize their vision within the next few years.

Waymo is within Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which was created last year to oversee far-flung projects that have nothing to do with Google’s main business of online search and advertising.

Google began working on its self-driving technology in 2009 in a secretive lab called “X” run by company co-founder Sergey Brin. Since then, its cars have covered more than 2.3 million miles while steered by a robot