Google’s tiny self-driving pod cars tootle into Texas

google reportedly pursuing manufacturing partner for self driving car
Those little pod-like self-driving cars that Google’s been testing in California for the last few months are about to tootle into Texas.

It’ll be the diminutive vehicle’s first ride outside of the Golden State as Google continues its quest to create a safe and reliable robo-car.

Residents of Austin have a good chance of spotting the car in the next few weeks, Google told the Wall Street Journal.

To make sure everything goes according to plan and ensure the vehicle doesn’t malfunction or come to any harm, the pod will have a passenger/driver inside keeping an eye on things. And yes, the car does include a steering wheel, so if, for whatever reason, it needs to be taken out of driverless mode, there’ll be no problem getting it to its intended destination.

Google already has experience of testing its driverless tech on the roads of Austin, though on those occasions the kit was fixed to Toyota Prius and Lexus RX hybrids.

The latest development marks the first time for one of Google’s “homemade” pods, which first hit the road in June, to venture outside of its Mountain View neighborhood.

Google says that taking its driverless technology further afield lets it see how the software handles various road conditions and terrain. It also gives people in others parts of the country the chance to drive alongside such vehicles, with Google keen to get feedback on how regular road users feel about the technology.

The company introduced its self-driving pod car to Austin folks at a special event over the weekend. According to a blog post describing the event, interested kids said the car resembles a variety of objects, including “a gumdrop, an owl, a rock with a face on it, an ant, a bug, a moving living room, a computer mouse, a car with top hat… and our personal favorite: ‘the future.'”

There were plenty of questions too, like “does it have windshield wipers?” (yes, though you’ll find them on the car’s all-important sensors), and “does it have an eject button?” (er, no, but that would really be quite something.)


Unrestrained by heritage, Polestar sets its sights on becoming a digital brand

With no heritage to worry about, Polestar is free to move full-speed ahead towards its goal of becoming a digital brand. All of the company's upcoming models will be electric, and they will inaugurate an Android-powered infotainment system.

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.

Nuro’s awesome robot delivery pods are tootling into Texas

Robo-delivery startup Nuro is taking its cool-looking autonomous delivery pods to Texas. The pods will deliver Kroger groceries to customers' doors in Houston following a successful pilot program in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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.

GM Cruise to double its autonomous-car team to meet robo-taxi goal

With its eye on the launch of a robo-taxi service before the end of the year, General Motors' Cruise Automation has said it plans to double the size of its autonomous-vehicle team over the next nine months.

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.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.