How Big Tech is Playing a Key Role in Self Driving Cars
Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley are taking on the challenge that awaits in terms of being able to provide millions of Americans with self-driving cars in the years to come. Alphabet, Google's parent company, as well as Microsoft and Amazon are deploying huge amounts of resources to become big players in autonomous vehicles.
Sebastian Thrun from Google started Google's journey with autonomous cars back in 2009. Nearly a decade's worth effort has produced dozens of key insights into autonomous vehicles and Google's own self-driving car, called Waymo. The remarkable thing about Google's efforts with Waymo is that the self-driving car is a complete system unto itself, including Google's own proprietary software and sensors.
Google is now in the works with the rental car company Avis. Google plans on allowing Avis to offer autonomous cars using Google's proprietary software and over a decade's worth of insights to consumers across the nation. A pilot program of sorts was already undertaken in Arizona insofar as people involved in the program were allowed to use Google's self-driving cars to get to and from work.
Apple Going Beyond iPhones
Tim Cook, Chief Executive Offer over at Apple, had to disabuse a spate of rumors that Apple had been working on an entire lineup of autonomous vehicles. The truth is that while Apple doesn't have any near-term plans for autonomous vehicles and Apple cars (Apple mini?), Tim Cook pointed out that Apple is working feverishly on the back-end software that could one day come to power autonomous, self-driving vehicles.
It seems like every big tech company these days is getting involved in autonomous vehicles in one way or another. In the same way that Google partnered with Avis to hopefully deploy rentable autonomous vehicles, Apple has teamed up with Hertz. The plan is for Apple to offer Hertz the use of its software. Apple's software would ultimately power the autonomous features on some of the SUVs that Hertz offers its customers.
These rumors have been confirmed by the city of San Francisco, where the Apple/Hertz pilot program