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April 25, 2017
The Robotic Future

April 21, 2017
Sony Debuts New Pro Camera

April 18, 2017
Should Apple Build a Car?

April 14, 2017
PC Market Outlook Improving

April 11, 2017
Little Data Analytics

April 7, 2017
Facebook Debuts Free Version of Workplace Collaboration Tool

April 4, 2017
Samsung Building a Platform Without an OS

March 31, 2017
Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Creators Update Release Date

March 28, 2017
Augmented Reality Finally Delivers on 3D Promise

March 24, 2017
Intel Creates AI Organization

March 21, 2017
Chip Magic

March 17, 2017
Microsoft Unveils Teams Chat App

March 14, 2017
Computing on the Edge

March 7, 2017
Cars Need Digital Safety Standards Too

February 28, 2017
The Messy Path to 5G

February 24, 2017
AMD Launches Ryzen CPU

February 21, 2017
Rethinking Wearable Computing

February 17, 2017
Samsung Heir Arrest Unlikely to Impact Sales

February 14, 2017
Modern Workplaces Still More Vision Than Reality

February 10, 2017
Lenovo Develops Energy-Efficient Soldering Technology

February 7, 2017
The Missing Map from Silicon Valley to Main Street

January 31, 2017
The Network vs. The Computer

January 27, 2017
Facebook Adds Support For FIDO Security Keys

January 24, 2017
Voice Drives New Software Paradigm

January 20, 2017
Tesla Cleared of Fault in NHTSA Crash Probe

January 17, 2017
Inside the Mind of a Hacker

January 13, 2017
PC Shipments Stumble but Turnaround is Closer

January 10, 2017
Takeaways from CES 2017

January 3, 2017
Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2017

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TECHnalysis Research Blog Extra

April 28, 2017
Google’s Waymo Starts Driving Passengers

By Bob O'Donnell

In a week that featured several news stories about autonomous driving—from ongoing developments in the Uber-Waymo lawsuit to the first “spotting” of Apple’s autonomous test vehicles—the most important one was the announcement that Google’s Waymo was going to start tests with real passengers.

Using Phoenix, AZ as a test bed, the Google “Other Bet” company debuted a free service to residents of the city who were willing to sign up and try it. Initially, Waymo will offer 100 of their specially enhanced Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, but the plan is to expand to 600 vehicles over a few months. This is a significantly larger and more public test than anything announced or tried by other vendors who are eager to enter the autonomous driving market, so Google is placing a particularly large bet.

Waymo’s stated goal is to provide ongoing access to the vehicle service to as wide a range of potential consumers as possible. The idea is to test it for everything from the hectic school-aged children after-school lesson and practice schedules that many families face, to normal drive-to-work, or going out for a social events types of situations. All of this is being done to gauge what kinds of capabilities, services and requirements there may be across all of these different commuting and driving scenarios.

Though the cars will be self-driving, each will still be staffed with a Waymo employee in the driver’s seat on each ride, both to ensure safety and collect additional information.

Given the size of the test, the results will likely be much more closely monitored, and widely reported, than other smaller efforts (such as the Uber trials in Pittsburgh). As a result, the success or failure here could have a disproportionately large impact on how quickly, or not, autonomous vehicles reach the market.

There’s clearly a lot of both excitement and trepidation about the timelines and overall future for autonomous vehicles. To that end, there has been a great deal of private testing done by a wide range of auto companies and tech vendors to help advance the technology forward. But most of those efforts are, frankly, little more than lab experiments. Kudos to Waymo for kicking off the kind of large-scale, public tests that will inevitably be required before any of these technologies can go mainstream. Let’s hope they go well.

Here's a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

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