Daimler’s CEO says Apple and Google car projects are progressing

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche
News and rumors about automotive projects continue to pour out of Silicon Valley. Despite little hard evidence to confirm its existence, Apple’s “Project Titan” remains the subject of intense scrutiny, and Google is showing more interest in commercializing its autonomous-driving technology.

One person who seems to be impressed by Apple’s efforts is Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler. A recent trip to Silicon Valley showed that Apple and Google are making more progress on automotive projects than originally assumed, Zetsche said in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, translated by Reuters.

“Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed,” Zetsche said. “At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought,” he added. Zetsche and a handful of senior managers met with officials from around 70 companies during the Silicon Valley trip, and Apple and Google were reportedly among them.

Zetsche would not discuss the content of the discussions, but said they involved “concrete talks,” and noted that his group met with startups as well as established companies. Increasing interest in things like autonomous driving and connectivity means research work done by traditional automakers is beginning to parallel the work done in Silicon Valley.

Zetsche’s glowing report comes just as Apple’s Project Titan hits some apparent setbacks. Project leader Steve Zadesky is reportedly leaving Apple for “personal reasons,” and an Apple Insider report claims the project is now subject to a hiring freeze. There are already an estimated 1,000 people working on Project Titan, many cherry-picked from automotive companies like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Tesla, and battery manufacturer A123 Systems.

Meanwhile, Google may no longer be content to just demonstrate its self-driving cars. Officials have said they want to actively partner with car makers to commercialize the technology. That may include a much-rumored partnership with Ford which could involve the production of self-driving cars for ride-sharing services.

Cars

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Cars

Ford to expand autonomous-car research in race to launch robo-taxi service

Ford is in a race with Waymo and GM Cruise to launch large-scale taxi and delivery services using autonomous vehicles. Already testing its technology in four U.S. cities, the automaker looks set to expand its program to a fifth.
Mobile

5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Cars

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.
Mobile

Why premium is the most overused, and least understood, word in tech

Everyone has heard the word premium, and many of us will have purchased a premium product, but what does premium actually mean, and why is it used so much in tech? Here's why it's so popular.
Mobile

Jury fines Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm patents

In a serious blow to Apple in its legal battle against Qualcomm, a San Diego jury fined Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm-owned patents. The decision marks the latest news in a string of court dates for the two companies.
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Business

Captain Marvel continues to soar at the box office with huge second weekend

Captain Marvel blasted into theaters in a big way a week ago, and Marvel's first female-led solo superhero movie is showing no signs of slowing down after a big second week in theaters.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Business

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.