Imagine a place that is something like SimCity, the urban development simulation game, where you can control what happens on the streets. You manage how many cars move along the roads and how fast they go. You allow a certain number of cyclists on a roundabout – and allow some to ignore basic rules of the road. You can even change the weather conditions, with sunny skies one moment and suddenly there’s a heavy downpour.
Such ‘power’ is usually only available in computer simulations and doesn’t exist in real life. However, if you drive out to the middle of Merced County in the American state of California, you’ll find it at Castle, a former air force base used by the Waymo development team to help build ‘The World’s Most Experienced Driver’.
Covering over 450,000 square metres, Castle is a state-of-the-art, closed-course testing facility which has been specially designed and redesigned over the years for the unique testing needs of Waymo,