About the Author

Stephen Hall

@hallstephenj

Stephen is Managing Editor at 9to5Google. You can find more of his current work on the flip side at 9to5Mac, as well as at 9to5Toys and Electrek. If you want to get in touch with Stephen, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Google+. Or, you can send him an email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephen j (at) protonmail (dot) com.

 

Stephen Hall's Favorite Gear

June 28

A report out of BuzzFeed News at the beginning of this month said that Alphabet’s Waymo was in the early stages of exploring self-driving trucks, and now (via Jalopnik) we have our first peek at one of those trucks out on public roads. The truck sports an appropriate light blue color, the Waymo insignia, and of course the self-driving hardware suite.

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April 27

According to a report this afternoon from Business Insider, Anthony Levandowski, the subject of a dramatic legal battle between Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber over alleged stolen self-driving car technology, has stepped aside from his role as lead of Uber’s Advanced Technologies group. Levandowski will reportedly continue overseeing operations and safety, however…

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April 24

A relatively new startup by the name of Kitty Hawk is showing off its all-electric flying ‘car’ for the first time today, almost a year since we first learned that Alphabet CEO Larry Page is one the startup’s biggest backers. While often referred to as a flying car, it’s obvious now that what Kitty Hawk has been working on for the last couple of years is more accurately described as a human-carrying drone…

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March 10

Alphabet-owned Waymo is now asking a judge to stop Uber from using the self-driving car tech it claims the ride hailing company stole, in what is the latest development in a legal feud between the two companies. This news follows Waymo’s suit against Uber that was filed late last month over theft of key self-driving technology…

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February 1

The California Department of Motor Vehicles published its Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports for 2016 today, which include statistics on disengagements for all of the companies currently testing self-driving cars in the Golden State. Importantly, Alphabet’s Waymo reported far fewer safety-related disengages and far more miles driven in 2016 compared to 2015, signaling that the company’s system is — as it should — continually getting safer…

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December 13, 2016

Google announced today at a small press event in San Francisco, California that its self-driving car project is spinning off into its own company and getting a new name: Waymo. This news follows a report from earlier today that Google has backed off plans for radical self-driving cars in run-up to its launch.

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August 27, 2016

It feels like Google/Alphabet’s self-driving car project has been at a bit of a yellow light lately, with the recent departure of its technical lead & director Chris Urmson and other key members being the biggest sign of trouble. Now, Reuters reports that the Mountain View company has hired ex-Airbnb executive Shaun Stewart as “a director of the self-driving car project” (albeit not a replacement for Urmson), and that his role will be “to help commercialize Google’s self-driving technology.”

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June 27, 2016

Report: Google’s self-driving car partnership with Fiat is inconsequential

According to a report today out of The Information, Google’s recently-formed partnership with Fiat Crysler to make 100 self-driving minivans is nothing more than the automobile company getting “a seat at the table” with Google. This comes as the Mountain View company struggles to find a path to actually market its self-driving technology, juggling a variety of not-so-great options that include licensing the tech to struggling automakers and entering the ridesharing business…

June 2, 2016

May’s self-driving car report details how Google teaches its cars to honk

Every month, Google puts out a report for its self-driving car project. There’s not that much new this month besides the usual updated running totals (miles driven, number of vehicles on the road, etc.), but the Mountain View company did take some time to detail something that many may not have thought about yet: how it’s teaching the cars to honk…

May 27, 2016

Nest CEO Tony Fadell is behind the Actev Motors Arrow Smart-Kart

According to an alleged Nest engineer a couple months back, the company is on deathwatch. Of course the official word from Fadell himself is that all the bad PR doesn’t represent the company or its culture, but the evidence suggests still that financially and culturally there are lots of problems.

Now, we learn today (via Fortune) that Tony Fadell, Nest’s CEO, has had a little passion project going on in the background. Co-founded with its CEO Dave Bell, Actev Motors makes the Arrow Smart-Kart, a smart first of its kind electric go-kart with app controls and a $600 price tag…

May 5, 2016

According to a report today from The Wall Street Journal, GM and Lyft are partnering to test a fleet of self-driving electric taxis sometime within the next year in an undisclosed city. The pilot will reportedly take advantage of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt, a speedy compact crossover all-electric that we took for a test drive earlier this year…

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May 4, 2016

April 28, 2016

A report from AutoExtremist (later corroborated by The Wall Street Journal) says today that Alphabet/Google is in the late stages of discussing an “advanced technical partnership” with London-based Fiat Chrysler, citing sources with direct knowledge of the discussions…

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April 22, 2016

I was in China this week to witness the unveiling of many new products from a huge Chinese conglomerate you may or may not have ever heard of — LeEco. The company, which recently changed its name from LeTV, took to its own LeSports stadium in Beijing to announce not only several new phones, but a VR headset, some new TV sets, and to top it all off, a concept car.

Follow after the break for a full look at the announcement in less than 5 minutes…

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April 20, 2016

Update: Check out the full announcement video.

Earlier today, LeEco (previously known as LeTV) announced its first set of China-bound phones since its rebranding, but the company also used today’s event in Beijing — attended by more than 10,000 people — to unveil its first all-electric concept car dubbed LeSee…

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April 5, 2016

Google car project nabs ex-Apple global supply manager w/ experience delivering millions of iPhones and Watches

Reuters last month reported that Google has been bolstering its self-driving car team as of late, and now as April rolls in, we’ve uncovered some more information on new hires as the team continues to expand. In one case, Google has added an ex-Apple global supply manager for the iPhone and the Apple Watch to the self-driving car supply management team…

April 4, 2016

Google/Alphabet published its self-driving car report for March over the weekend, and besides of course the latest numbers (including the number of cars in each city, the total number of autonomous and manual driven miles, etc.), there are also some new details on the system the company uses to map the cars’ surroundings, and mention of a mundane accident that happened in Austin, Texas involving one of the company’s Lexus vehicles…

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March 30, 2016

We reported last week that Tesla is using wearable tech to increase production efficiency at its factory, and cited knowledge of a promotional video that Google made in collaboration with Tesla as reason to believe that the company was using Glass hardware. Now, we have clips to share from that video to prove that, indeed, Tesla Motors did at one time trial using Google’s wearable at its Fremont factory…

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March 21, 2016

Google Glass Enterprise Edition has been leaked in full at this point, but what good is new enterprise-focused hardware unless it’s being used in the field? APX Labs, one of Google’s Glass at Work partners, has confirmed on its site that it has signed renowned maker of electric vehicles Tesla Motors as a client, and there is speculation that the company is using the latest unannounced Glass hardware to increase productivity at its Fremont factory…

Update: While multiple people close to the situation say that Tesla is still deploying both Glass and Vuzix hardware in some capacity at Fremont and running trials to compare the platforms, Tesla has reached out saying that “Tesla does not use Glass hardware in the Tesla Factory”. It seems that, while we’re confident Glass was at Fremont at one point, the company has recently moved away from Google’s platform. A person says that Google engineers were at one point referring clients like Tesla to Vuzix while the Enterprise Edition was in development.

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March 19, 2016

We noticed that Tesla removed references to its higher-capacity 10-kilowatt-hour residential battery from the Powerwall website (and the press kit) some time ago, but today GreenTechMedia received an official statement from a Tesla representative confirming that the larger capacity battery has indeed been discontinued…

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