Wave of the Future

Today the Villanova in the Valley program visited Google. Our speakers, Mr. John Igoe, Director of Real Estate Design and Construction, and his team, spoke about the new construction that broke ground several months ago. John has a background in Civil Engineering from Villanova and master and MBA from Stanford and Drexel, respectively. He has tremendous experience in high tech companies in the Bay Area.

Whiting-Turner is challenged by Google to build the next iconic, sustainable, 21 century building to address the fast growth faced by the company. The Googleplex was built with emphasizes on great amenities such as various playgrounds and fitness centers; however the new building will focus on immediate work areas. When asked about how Google plans to change designs, John illuminated on including feedback from its current employees such as filed complaints to be addressed in the new building. Moreover, John has highlighted the importance of creating an environment that is workplace friendly—real estate is relatively cheap compared to the returns generated by Googles employees. The constant interaction among designers, engineers, project managers etc were astounding as progress on the construction changes constantly due to challenges such as finding new ways to engineer, new ways to build, or new equipment to use. It’s takes a while for the team and then some to enable this monumental endeavor. We can’t wait for its grand opening in 2020!

In the afternoon, we met with the head of real estate and workplaces to learn about Waymo—Google’s autonomous vehicles. They started the endeavor in 2009. With a couple years at a time, a new iteration of the system was tested on the road. Data was constantly collected from users to build the next safe, easy to use autonomous vehicles. Currently, Waymo has partnered with Chryslers to make fully autonomous minivans. One of the features included in the minivan are displays of the driving path. Although intuitive, the displays serve an alternative purpose—to provide the passenger justifications as for why the vehicle may stop or change routes. People riding experiences was improved when they are engaged in the driving progress.