Jan 9, 2017

Hot in Silicon Valley today

Paul Sancya / AP

1. Data is Uber's latest attempt to placate regulators

The ride-hailing company unveiled on Sunday a new website that will let government officials and urban planners access anonymized data about 2 billion of trips. A previous Uber data-sharing partnership with Boston city officials fizzled after launching in 2015.

Uber's pitch: Access to this regularly-updated data should make it easier for government officials and planners to better understand Uber transportation, especially as they work transit plans.

Why it matters: This olive branch is a seemingly friendly step from Uber. But it's also likely a way for the company to placate governments, especially to keep potential data disclosure regulations at bay, while retaining control over what information it divulges.

2. Google's plan to win the self-driving car race:

Google spin-off Waymo unveiled a full suite of sensors for driverless vehicles Sunday night at the auto show in Detroit and said building it in-house allowed it to slash the cost of the technology by 90%. The cost of the radar-like sensors needed for the vehicles used to be a major barrier to commercialization. Google also built its own super-fast computing system to handle all the real-time data collected by the sensors.

Why this matters: After competitors spent last week in Las Vegas touting piecemeal components to autonomous cars, Waymo showed that it controls more of the technology needed for self-driving cars than any other player in operation today.

Next steps:

  • Google is rumored to be plotting a ride-hailing service with Fiat Chrysler for later this year, according to Bloomberg. It will begin testing self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans later this month in California and Arizona.
  • Waymo doesn't plan to become a car maker itself, Forbes notes, but it will probably partner with an auto maker to make custom vehicles that uses all-Google technology.
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