Connected vehicle system developer Sibros has added a new partner to its Rolodex. This time it isn’t an automaker but Google Cloud. By adding Google’s advanced scalable data infrastructure, Sibros looks to bolster its connected vehicle management technology to support a number of data-driven functions to its EV customers, like fleet management and OTA updates.
Volvo Cars has announced it will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3rd generation digital cockpit technology to help power its infotainment system. Together with Google’s Android Automotive Operating System (AAOS), this upgrade will mean a faster infotainment system offering an ecosystem of features for future drivers of the Polestar 3, Volvo’s forthcoming electric SUV, and other upcoming EVs.
Autonomous rideshare startup Waymo has announced an additional $2.5 billion investment round of funding. Waymo plans to use the additional funding, led by parent company Alphabet Inc., to hire more staff and advance its self-driving technology toward more paid rides.
Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
Today in EGEB, a new bill designed to jumpstart Indiana’s solar industry looks to be stopped before it gets started. Google’s first green project in Asia. And a moratorium on North Carolina land-based wind projects ends.
Google is officially off-setting 100% of its energy usage with either wind or solar power. The company signed contracts on three wind power plants in recent days to bring them over 3GW of production capacity.
Google’s energy infrastructure investments have totaled over $3.5 billion globally, with about two-thirds being in the US.
Their efforts have so far been focused on actual battery production and securing the rarer raw materials needed, like cobalt, but they are also exploring more future-oriented options to improve batteries at the technological level.
Today, VW is announcing a partnership with Google to use quantum computers to improve electric car batteries and others parts of the future of transportation, like traffic optimization and new machine learning processes. Expand Expanding Close
Following eight years of development and an ongoing public awareness campaign, Waymo’s self-driving cars are now transporting passengers without a human behind the wheel. Beginning mid-October, these fully autonomous rides will expand to the public as part of a ride-hailing service in the coming months.
Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Googler at the center of Waymo and Uber’s legal battle, has been fired. His termination comes after a continued refusal to cooperate in proceedings over whether the ride-sharing company stole Alphabet’s self-driving technology and a scathing New Yorker piece this morning.
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…
Today Google updated its Project Sunroof with some pretty striking data on approximately 60 million buildings and the viability for Solar Panels to power them. According to the search giant, almost 4 in 5 US homes are viable for solar panels with over 90% of homes in sunny states like Florida and California being viable. But even for houses in “not so sunny states” like Maine and Minnesota, over 60% of the homes surveyed were eligible to benefit from solar panels.
That’s a huge, untapped market for solar companies like Tesla’s SolarCity subsidiary… Expand Expanding Close
Alphabet’s Waymo subsidiary has filed a lawsuit against Uber over the theft and replication of a key self-driving component. Former employees working on Google’s self-driving project allegedly stole information before leaving for a start-up that was purchased by Uber.
In October, we got our first look through spy shots at the Chrysler Pacifica minivans that Google has been outfitting with its self-driving technology. Today, Chrysler and Waymo, the new Alphabet company created out of Google’s self-driving effort, have officially unveiled the final design of a Chrysler Pacifica with self-driving hardware. Expand Expanding Close
Google has long said that it has no plans to manufacture self-driving cars itself, instead partnering with automakers, but it had been thought that it might press ahead with cars without steering wheels or pedals. However, a new report from The Information suggests that parent company Alphabet has now ‘backed off’ these plans in favor of something more conventional.
The report also echoes a much earlier one on the company’s intentions for the self-driving car project …
While Tesla’s fleet recently reached 222 million miles driven on Autopilot in about a year, Google’s fleet of self-driving cars just passed the 2-million miles mark last month after 7 years on the road. As we previously discussed, Tesla’s Autopilot miles are not really equivalent to Google’s self-driving miles, but it still gives us a good indication of the speed at which each company is deploying their semi-autonomous and autonomous programs.
We have been reporting quite often on accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot program so it’s just fair that we also let you know about accidents involving other autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle programs.
We learned that one of Google’s self-driving prototype was involved in a serious crash with a commercial van in Mountain View today. Expand Expanding Close
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.”
comma.ai CEO George Hotz recently praised Tesla, Google and Otto for being fairly opened about their self-driving car programs, but he is taking his own company a step further in openness with the release of a dataset of 7.25 hours of comma.ai’s prototype at work.
We’ve often discussed at Electrek how data will be extremely important in the race to create a fully self-driving car, and also in the race to get such a system approved by regulators, which is why comma.ai’s move here is particularly interesting. Expand Expanding Close
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…
Yesterday, 9to5Mac.com reported that Apple Inc has founded a new, fully owned, subsidiary known as Apple Energy and that this entity had applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC regulates power companies) to be able to sell electricity and other power grid services to anyone that is not a public utility. Does this mean that you can now buy clean electricity made on the roof of the Apple Spaceship? Unless you are a large corporate electricity user within 10-30 miles, probably not. However if we step back and take a broader view, something interesting is happening – the likes of Apple, Google, Ikeaand others including even Walmart are showing us a small piece of the future of much smarter electricity grid owned by many instead of the few.
Earlier this year, we wrote a profile on an interesting startup, Zee Aero, developing a battery-powered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft near Google’s X lab. The company caught our attention when it started hiring talent from NASA, Tesla and Stanford.
At the time, we couldn’t confirm where the money was coming from, but today we learn that Alphabet’s billionaire CEO Larry Page is secretively behind the electric aircraft startup, reportedly financing it with over $100 million, and even setting up a competing startup, Kitty Hawk, to test another model.
The group’s proximity with Google led a lot of people to believe it was financed by the tech giant, but in fact, Page is financing the initiative himself and not through Alphabet or Google Ventures. Expand Expanding Close
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…