Waymo, Lyft partner on self-driving tests as Google plans CarPlay-ready Android car interf...

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Alphabet's Waymo is joining with Lyft to test self-driving cars on public roads, according to an announcement, while another Alphabet company -- Google -- is previewing a complete Android interface for cars which will nevertheless support Apple's CarPlay technology.




Details of the Waymo/Lyft partnership haven't been revealed, but should bring Waymo's technology to more locations, Bloomberg noted on Monday. Waymo is already engaged in a 24/7 ridehailing trial, but that's currently limited to a few hundred residents of Phoenix, Ariz.

The deal may be a deliberate snub of Uber. Although Alphabet once invested hundreds of millions into the company, the two are now engaged in a lawsuit over stolen files, one which could turn into a criminal investigation. If Uber's own self-driving technology takes off, it might also negate some of the potential for Waymo selling its technology or using it in its own ridehailing service.

Lyft is already in a self-driving partnership with General Motors, an important investor.




The Google auto interface will go beyond Android Auto, integrating car controls and Google Assistant in addition to natively hosting apps like Spotify and Google Maps, Bloomberg said. Like CarPlay, Android Auto simply bridges an automaker's own software with smartphones.

Indeed the new interface will offer other features Android Auto is missing, like 3D and satellite imagery.

At Google's upcoming I/O conference the company will show off the technology running on an Audi A8 and a Volvo V90. The software will eventually make it to all Audi and Volvo vehicles, as well as other automakers. No firm timelines have been made public.

Each company will be able to customize things to their liking, and Google said that it won't track any critical vehicle data.

Significantly the company revealed that CarPlay will still work on vehicles running Android, as long of course as automakers have enabled that support. Many 2017-model vehicles feature both CarPlay and Android Auto in order to avoid alienating buyers.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,485member
    FWIW there were more automakers supporting Android Auto than Carplay the last time I'd read about it. Why would that be? Just guessing but Google and Waymo have made it clear they have no intention of directly competing with automakers with a car of their own design. Apple has avoided mentioning what plans they currently have, if any beyond basic testing of their autonomous platform. The industry may be hedging their bets. 

    EDIT: Well current count is about equal apparently according to what I've read today. 
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 2 of 12
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,758member
    gatorguy said:
    FWIW thee were moire automakers supporting Android Auto than Carplay the last time I'd read about it. Why would that be? Just guessing but Google and Waymo have made it clear they have no intention of directly competing with automakers with a car of their own design. Apple has avoided mentioning what plans they currently have, if any beyond basic testing of their autonomous platform. The industry may be hedging their bets. 
    And yet some still cling to the idea that what Apple is really doing is building a car platform for other automakers. Of course they never say which automakers would adopt Apple's platform. I'm also skeptical that Apple would be better at the type of software needed for automomous/self-driving vehicles than they would be at building a car. Or that you can really separate the two.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,405member
    "Google said that it won't track any critical vehicle data"

    What is their definition of "critical"? Seriously, though, is it possible for Google to make any product or service that doesn't in some way give them data for their actual revenue generator (advertising)?
    calimike1bb-15watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 249member
    "Google said that it won't track any critical vehicle data"

    What is their definition of "critical"? Seriously, though, is it possible for Google to make any product or service that doesn't in some way give them data for their actual revenue generator (advertising)?
    Using DuckDuckGo for my search engine. Doing my best to keep Google, Mr Softy, and Samsung out of my home and life.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,079member
    gatorguy said:
    FWIW there were more automakers supporting Android Auto than Carplay the last time I'd read about it. Why would that be? Just guessing but Google and Waymo have made it clear they have no intention of directly competing with automakers with a car of their own design. Apple has avoided mentioning what plans they currently have, if any beyond basic testing of their autonomous platform. The industry may be hedging their bets. 

    EDIT: Well current count is about equal apparently according to what I've read today. 
    A few months back I began rethinking this who Apple car and what Apple could really be doing. I began to think they may not be making a car like Tesla, but infact making the control systems and user interface to the how you interact with a self driving car. Imagine that via you phone you and hale your car, tell the car where to drive you and also lock the car to only your phone and the only way the car knows who you are is via touch ID on the phone. I think this has more to do with what Apple is working on verse making the next great thing on 4 wheels. They do not actually need to make a physical car to help improve users experience with driving or being driven.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,485member
    "Google said that it won't track any critical vehicle data"

    What is their definition of "critical"? Seriously, though, is it possible for Google to make any product or service that doesn't in some way give them data for their actual revenue generator (advertising)?
    Good question. With Google making more of an effort to expand beyond their core revenue generator perhaps they can do something that has nothing at all to do with corporate advertising services. 
  • Reply 7 of 12
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    The Chrysler google software concept was hideous and unintuitive. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    gatorguy said:
    "Google said that it won't track any critical vehicle data"

    What is their definition of "critical"? Seriously, though, is it possible for Google to make any product or service that doesn't in some way give them data for their actual revenue generator (advertising)?
    Good question. With Google making more of an effort to expand beyond their core revenue generator perhaps they can do something that has nothing at all to do with corporate advertising services. 
    It's everything to do with Googled core business model. When Google aren't collecting data, they're collecting data.
    bb-15watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Herbivore2Herbivore2 Posts: 362member
    I still don't buy the idea that "self" driving vehicles will be a reality in our lifetime. Perhaps for hauling cargo. Trains are perfect for automation. Driving a vehicle requires complex interactions. Asking a computer to duplicate the highest cognitive function, judgment is a pretty tall task. Poor judgment is still better than none at all. 

    Will a computer understand a cop at a busy intersection after a sporting event is over, who is directing traffic by hand? Even when the traffic signals are operating normally? Will it understand another driver at a four way stop gesturing to proceed? And the big question. Nearly everyone I know of drives over the speed limit. Just not enough to be pulled over. Will a driving computer do such? I highly doubt that it will. It means that for most of the driving public, the automated assistant will be scorned, not embraced. People will still prefer to operate their own vehicles so that they can get from point A to point B just a little bit faster. For in town driving, going the speed limit makes sense. The traffic lights are such that going the speed limit offers a smoother experience. But on a long stretch of interstate, nearly everyone pushes the speed envelope. 

    Automated vehicles have a long way to go. Flying planes is much more easily automated, but none of the airlines is proposing to eliminate their human pilots. 

    If I need transportation, I will simply find a cab or Uber or Lyft with a human operator. I rather like chatting with the drivers. And in a place like New York City, I would never trust an automated vehicle. The subway is far better if I need automated transportation. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,485member
    ireland said:
    The Chrysler google software concept was hideous and unintuitive. 
    Are you referring to their infotainment system? I thought that was a Garmin product. 
  • Reply 11 of 12
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 169member
    "Google said that it won't track any critical vehicle data"

    What is their definition of "critical"? Seriously, though, is it possible for Google to make any product or service that doesn't in some way give them data for their actual revenue generator (advertising)?
    This. Google will collect data tied to the user's identity for all of their software products.
    So, except for search I don't use anything made by Google. 
    A car with a Google OS? As far a I'm concerned, no way. 
    edited May 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    I still don't buy the idea that "self" driving vehicles will be a reality in our lifetime. Perhaps for hauling cargo. Trains are perfect for automation. Driving a vehicle requires complex interactions. Asking a computer to duplicate the highest cognitive function, judgment is a pretty tall task. Poor judgment is still better than none at all. 

    Will a computer understand a cop at a busy intersection after a sporting event is over, who is directing traffic by hand? Even when the traffic signals are operating normally? Will it understand another driver at a four way stop gesturing to proceed? And the big question. Nearly everyone I know of drives over the speed limit. Just not enough to be pulled over. Will a driving computer do such? I highly doubt that it will. It means that for most of the driving public, the automated assistant will be scorned, not embraced. People will still prefer to operate their own vehicles so that they can get from point A to point B just a little bit faster. For in town driving, going the speed limit makes sense. The traffic lights are such that going the speed limit offers a smoother experience. But on a long stretch of interstate, nearly everyone pushes the speed envelope. 

    Automated vehicles have a long way to go. Flying planes is much more easily automated, but none of the airlines is proposing to eliminate their human pilots. 

    If I need transportation, I will simply find a cab or Uber or Lyft with a human operator. I rather like chatting with the drivers. And in a place like New York City, I would never trust an automated vehicle. The subway is far better if I need automated transportation. 
    I'm not sure how old you are but I'm fairly sure we'll see self driving cars in my lifetime. A lot of the things you mention can be negated by a progressive roll out. Start with self-driving on simpler roads like expressways/highways (I'm not totally sure of the US terminology) with driving taking over when necessary. Self-driving cars can safely go slightly over the speed limit, more so than humans. Google's ones go ~10mph faster when deemed appropriate.

    Urban driving for sure will be more difficult but it'll be made easier by e.g. Tesla's cars already being on the road learning before they switch on self-driving. Google claims they can already read hand signals from bikers and be more cautious around children. Traffic cops may need to adjust and use hand signals with lights or something else. With enough autonomous cars on the road, they'll perhaps be able to communicate and make post-concert traffic move faster. It seems like half the people on the road don't know how to merge as it is. There will be accidents, no doubt, and the ethics of autonomous cars will be a minefield but it seems like the status quo - 30k people dying on US roads each year - gives the self-driving industry a pretty low bar to get over.
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