Google Has Scaled Back Self-Driving Car Ambitions

HardOCP News

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Citing the usual "people familiar with the situation" sources, The Information claims that Google has backed away from its self-driving bubble cars in favor of a partnership with an established automaker.

Alphabet has backed off plans to develop a revolutionary car without a steering wheel or pedals, at least for now, according to people close to the closely-watched project. Instead, the self-driving car pioneer has settled on a more practical effort to partner with automakers to make a vehicle that drives itself but has traditional features for human drivers.
 

WangChung

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Dec 19, 2013
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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.
 

Dwango

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Sounds totally sensible. To get to the vision they have for self-driving cars (i.e. totally autonomous vehicles with no control surfaces for the occupants) they needed to accept that there have to be stepping stones to get people used to the idea. Those stepping stones are the various levels of partially autonomous cars that allow a human driver to take control when they want or need to. Google gets to collect more data on how the systems work in a variety of conditions and we all get autonomous tech that much quicker. I call that a win-win.
 

DocSavage

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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.
I wonder if that's because they are so diversified that they don't really care about each program like a focused company would. There is no reason they can't push Google fiber in every city other than some exec thinks the wireless satellite option is better.
 

Monkey God

Mangina Full of Sand
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This is a good thing. Its the software that is valuable here. No need to become an auto manufacturer.
 

nilepez

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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.
In this case, I completely disagree. Car manufacturers are far better at making cars than Google ever will be, but Google does have the software to drive the car. Why not partner with someone that's good at what you're not? I was never going to buy a bubble car anyway, but I'd buy a Toyota with their software.
 

DPI

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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.
Out of curiosity, what's the problem with Project Fi or Nexus Phones? Project Fi is still going strong, and Nexus Phones came to an end because they no longer felt the need to subsidize phones. Google Fiber wasn't for lack of trying, but "you can't fight city hall" in every corner of the country - the cable & telecom duopoly has billions in collective lobbying power.

The thing about probing a new vertical or market for ROI is you have to actually make an attempt. Better to fail at it than not have tried. What's the alternative? Sitting back on their asses like Microsoft waiting for someone else to lead/innovate and then make a move with some half measure after it's too late and the first-movers have passed them by?
 

Spidey329

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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.
Google reminds me of a company with ADHD. They start out strong and bring some cool stuff to the table, but when it comes time to sit down and actually finish that stuff, they've already distracted themselves with another really cool idea.
 

MV75

[H]ard|Gawd
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All they needed was the partnership to guarantee software royalties, it was never about the car, just the royalties on getting their shit into cars. The car was just the sale pitch of what the software can do.
 

lcpiper

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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.

There are actually development and manufacturing standards that most seriously reputable companies try to meet because those standards attest to the companies willingness to commit to successful practices. Now I am not saying that meeting these standards in any way guarantees a company will be successful or that a company can't be successful without adhering to the standards. But these standards help define processes and all companies do need good processes to have a good chance at being successful.

I'll give to an example.

Here at work today we got a list of scan results from our IA guys and one of the items listed as a vulnerably was the small application called Putty, we haven't updated Putty to at least 6.4. So we got together and got ready to update Putty 6.0 to 6.4 and we went to the approved software list and guess what, Putty 6.4 isn't on the approved software list. So I go back to talk to my supervisor and he says the IASO says that if a scan calls for a software update that we are OK to upgrade to that updated build because of the scan document.

So I am thinking, that's fine, the boss says to go ahead and do it, but I am thinking, how are we going to get the approved software list updated and why our processes fail to recognize that this should have been a trigger to get this done.

When IA runs a scan either IA can see the software update requirement and submit a ticket recommending that the update go before a CCB, or when we, the admins see the issue, we can send the ticket in for this to go to CCB. Either way, there is a problem in our processes but my boss can't seem to recognize these things and initiate actions to correct them on his own.

Google must have bosses like mine explaining why things just don't get done, cause people just are not following through and many projects just become too hard to do, and get dropped.

Ask around, others here know and understand, process improvement is a huge deal in any organization.
 

gulguran

Limp Gawd
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I really like the stuff Google does, but they have really piss poor follow through when it comes to nearly all hardware and a lot of software. Project Fi, Google Fiber, Nexus phones, Nest/Protect/Dropcam, Google Voice.... They're too wishy-washy and it seems like every time a project hits a moderate snag they bail out instead of pushing through, like they expect everything they do to come to 100% fruition within two years or they cut bait.

Really disappointing.
It's strange right? I think it's much like most very difficult technology problems to solve. You get 97 percent fairly easy and that last little bit is damn near impossible. Usually it's real world that breaks you. But I find it interesting how Google and other tech firms think they can solve problems so easily that people outside their company have been trying for decades at times. They fail because it's hard. Curing cancer is hard.. they think because they did something else they are somehow super geniuses that can solve anything. The same hubris a lot of us engineers get thinking we do the impossible.
 
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