Google’s Waymo driverless vans pick up real people in big Arizona test

Waymo, bring the van around please

If you think self-driving autonomous cars are still something that’ll arrive in the future, then the future is happening right now in Arizona. Google’s robot car spinoff Waymo is testing out some of its self-driving Pacifica hybrid minivans in Phoenix, and they’ve started an “early rider program” for some lucky residents. Participants get 24/7 access to the self-driving test vans with the hard-to-miss LIDAR domes on top.

The passengers’ end of the deal involves giving Waymo feedback on how the vans are working, and of course, volunteering to be guinea pigs of sorts as Waymo irons out the wrinkles of its self-driving tech. According to a post on Medium, Waymo has an order in for 500 of the vans and says they will include hundreds of people in the pilot – or pilotless – program. Meanwhile, both Uber and GM are testing robot cars in nearby Scottsdale. The future is here- at least in Arizona.

4K for less than $2K

So, been waiting to upgrade from your ancient HDTV to one of those shiny new 4K models with all the bells and whistles? Well, the time is now, according to Vizio. 4K TVs have come down in price pretty quickly, and Vizio just rolled out their latest P and M series models. How about $1,600 bucks for a 65-inch HDR model? Or under $1,000 for a 55-incher?

For this model year, Vizio has decided that tablets maybe aren’t the best choice for a remote and has reverted back to a regular-style remote, but we should also note that none of these TVs comes with a built-in over-the-air tuner, because who uses one these day anyway? Instead, the “displays,” as Vizio calls them, include Chromecast built in along with lots of apps, since most us stream our shows or use cable boxes. Go here for more details.

Hey, no pressure, Samsung…

With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 phones last month, all attention has turned to the next iPhone, but Samsung has another phone up its sleeve: the.. in our opinion… questionably named Galaxy Note 8. That’s right, the follow-up to the disaster known as the Note 7 will likely appear several months ahead of Apple’s latest and greatest.

And while we haven’t seen any design clues for the Note 8 from Samsung, that hasn’t stopped others from trying their hand at rendering what will hopefully be the non-flammable follow-up to the S8. BGR says the expected specs for the Note 8 include 6 gigs of RAM, 64 and 128 gig memory options, a dual-lens camera setup, iris scanner, S-Pen, and a hefty 4,000milliamp battery we hope and pray is tested 10 ways from Sunday before the phones get shipped out. Hit the link for more video and Note 8 predictions.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

Product Review

Vizio's best-ever soundbar brings Dolby Atmos theater magic to the living room

Soundbars with true Dolby Atmos surround sound have historically been a rich man’s game, but Vizio’s 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar undercuts similar competitors by hundreds of dollars. Can this budget Atmos system stand up to the big boys?
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.

Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: YouTube Premium and drones that fly forever

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, Greg Nibler welcomed Laura Major from CyPhy and Ben Lee from Rootstrap to the show. Plus, the future of YouTube Premium after news that the streaming giant will be offering exclusive content for free.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: HyperloopTT’s Dirk Ahlborn discusses the future of travel

We chatted with HyperloopTT's Dirk Ahlborn about the newest way to travel. The Hyperloop travels at nearly the speed of sound and has already been commercially approved in China and the UAE.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: A runaway Tesla, new Airpods, and Hyperloop updates

On episode 28 of Digital Trends Live, host Greg Nibler and guest Adrien Warner explored the biggest tech news of the day, including rumors of new Airpods, a police chase involving a Tesla, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Alexa-enabled Billy Bass, ‘Gear.Club Unlimited 2,’ and more

Alexa-enabled fish and Boring Company lawsuits highlighted this episode of Digital Trends Live. We also welcomed Chris Rosario to talk about Gear.Club Unlimited 2 and Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee joined the show from Tokyo, Japan.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Harlem Globetrotter Big Easy talks new app, favorite gadget

We welcomed Harlem Globetrotter Nathaniel Lofton to talk about how he became a Globetrotter 14 years ago. Big Easy also told us about the brand-new Harlem Globetrotters app that is now available on Android and Apple.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: First 5G phone, Batcole Foundation, and a new data breach

Tuesday on Digital Trends Live, Greg Nibler discussed trending topics such as the Quora data breach, and Jeremy Kaplan was joined by Katie Linendoll from the Batcole Foundation to discuss the benefits of AR and VR in hospital rooms.
Digital Trends Live

Filmmaker Justin Ching talks about empowering underrepresented voices

Justin Ching, filmmaker and founder of production studio J-school, believes it is important to empower underrepresented communities to tell their own stories. He appeared on Digital Trends Live to talk about his journey and J-school's…
Digital Trends Live

Pro4Ma CEO Liz Dunn explains the retail trends of Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Black Friday is a day of sales, but also of chaos. Pro4MA CEO Liz Dunn appeared on Digital Trends Live to discuss the shifts she has seen in Black Friday weekend, and what they mean for consumers.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Self-driving cars, ocean exploration, and holiday shopping

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discussed the first self-driving car service in Phoenix, an expedition heading to the bottom of the world's oceans, and talked to Liz Dunn from Pro4ma about holiday shopping trends.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Alexa updates, Uber’s self-driving cars, and more

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, Senior Editor Caleb Denison discussed the best streaming devices and we welcomed Danny Pyell and Felia Mano, the Nintendo Power Couple, and Kelly Dachtler from OBVS to the show.