Nov 7, 2017

Waymo to announce driverless taxi service today

Waymo CEO John Krafcik, left, sits with Steve Mahan, who is blind, inside a driverless car during a Google event. Photo: Eric Risberg / AP

Alphabet's autonomous car company, Waymo, plans to announce later today that "its first commercial product will be a driverless taxi service" in Phoenix, according to Ars Technica.

Why it matters: Car companies like Volvo, BMW, Tesla, and more have been racing to be the first provider of fully autonomous vehicles. Google decided that instead of selling autonomous vehicles, it would "build a taxi service" designed to be driverless. The service will initially navigate only a part of Phoenix's metropolitan area, per Ars Technica, and eventually expand elsewhere. Waymo chose Phoenix because of its frequent warm and sunny weather which is easier for autonomous cars to navigate

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Putin sets referendum that could allow him to rule until 2036 for July 1

Putin has not seemed to enjoy governing by video conference. Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has set July 1 as the new date for a constitutional referendum that could allow him to remain in power through 2036.

Why it matters: Putin was forced to delay the referendum from April due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has set the date despite Russia's continued struggles to contain its outbreak. Putin's popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid his response to the pandemic and its economic repercussions.

A busy week for IPOs despite upheaval from protests and pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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Why it matters: This shouldn't be happening, under any traditional rubric for how markets work.

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A protester holds a sign in downtown Minneapolis to protest the death of George Floyd on May 31. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

An explosive weekend in America sent Silicon Valley grasping for moral clarity. While many companies and executives spoke out against racial inequities, critics and even some of the rank-and-file found some of the companies' responses lacking.

Why it matters: Tech companies have giant platforms, and their leaders have become public figures, many of them household names. History will record their words and actions — which, in the case of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, directly shape the bounds of public discourse.