Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars
The deal calls for the companies to work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts.
The partnership highlights the fluid nature of relationships in the self-driving-car sector. From technology companies to automakers to firms that manufacture components, dozens of players are angling for a slice of an autonomous vehicle market that many believe will ultimately be a multibillion-dollar industry.
The partnership indicates that Waymo believes its self-driving-car technology has moved past the research stage and is ready to be applied commercially.
We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.
This is pretty bad, and given Google's past investments in Uber (via Google Ventures), this decision was probably not made lightly. It would be interesting to see how this will play out and we'll post updates to this discussion on an ongoing basis.
Update (May 3, 2017): Waymo versus Uber court hearing. The lawsuit is underway now, with the first hearing taking place today. Waymo accused Uber of creating a fake, shell company (Otto) with its former engineer to steal its tech.
Uber starts self-driving car pickups in Pittsburgh
Beginning today, a select group of Pittsburgh Uber users will get a surprise the next time they request a pickup: the option to ride in a self driving car. Uber wants to learn and refine how self driving cars act in the real world. What do you guys think about Uber's approach to this?
Intel, Mobileye, and Smiling Curves – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson puts the acquisition of Mobileye by Intel into the Smiling Curve Theory of industries by Stan Shih of Acer. But before that, he also dives into how Smiling Curve Theory applies to PCs, Phones and Servers which is interesting in itself.
In very short, Ben argues that Intel already has expertise in server chips, but can make up for its lack of self-driving car hardware expertise with this acquisition by bringing in Mobileye's cameras, maps and chips. Also, Intel doesn't want to lose on the SDC front the way it lost to Nvidia on the GPU chip front (related: The rise of AI is creating new variety in the chip market, and trouble for Intel)
Alphabet's X spun off the self driving car project as an independent company Waymo under Alphabet, along with a release of a drive taken with no backup drivers and a legally blind passenger last year. That level of confidence is what Google/Alphabet has been aiming for years, and it seems like it's getting there. What are your thoughts around this?