The Rise of Driverless Taxis: Cruise and Waymo Lead the Way
Significant growth in autonomous ride services highlights industry shift.
Cruise and Waymo significantly increased their driverless ride services in San Francisco this year, with Cruise logging twice the number of passengers and trips compared to Waymo by August. Both companies accelerated their driverless taxi operations in 2023, transitioning to fully driverless rides, marking an industry inflection point. Cruise reported a fivefold increase in monthly passengers, reaching almost 66,000 in August, while Waymo saw its monthly passenger tally rise from about 3,300 in January to 28,100 in August. This surge indicates growing exposure and loyalty among riders, with both companies claiming tens of thousands awaiting paid driverless rides. Cruise, currently suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Waymo, operating through a waitlist, are navigating challenges in the evolving landscape.
Walmart Global Tech’s Major Move: Occupying Meta’s Sunnyvale Campus
Walmart Global Tech, the digital arm of global retailer Walmart, has taken over an entire campus that is leased to Meta Platforms in Sunnyvale
SETI Institute’s Galactic Boost: A $200 Million Quest for Extraterrestrial Life
Late tech mogul’s generous endowment propels alien research forward.
Late tech mogul left South Bay nonprofit $200 million for alien research. Franklin Antonio, co-founder of Qualcomm, left a substantial $200 million grant to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute upon his passing. The SETI Institute, a leading space exploration nonprofit, plans to utilize the funds for postdoctoral fellowships, grants, educational initiatives, and the advancement of research capabilities. Antonio’s philanthropic legacy includes contributions to science education and a $200 million grant to a high school seniors’ program. The endowment ensures the SETI Institute’s core programs are permanently supported, fostering global partnerships and groundbreaking research. Antonio, known for his technical expertise, played a crucial role in upgrading the Allen Telescope Array, a radio telescope used by the Institute.
San Francisco Triumphs as APEC Host: A Fusion of Culture and Technology
City’s diversity and tech prowess clinch the prestigious global summit.
San Francisco secured the hosting rights for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, beating other major U.S. cities. Matt Murray, the U.S. State Department’s senior official for APEC, highlighted San Francisco’s rich history, cutting-edge technology, and sustainability focus as key factors. The city’s diverse population, including over a third being Asian residents, and its prominent tech companies like Meta, Google, Uber, and OpenAI contributed to its selection. The 20,000-person event is anticipated to have a $52.8 million economic impact on the city, providing a boost post-pandemic. San Francisco’s logistical readiness, including Moscone Center’s expansion and airport connectivity, played a pivotal role in the decision. Murray acknowledged a strong partnership with Mayor London Breed’s administration in bringing APEC to the city.
Forging a Path for Responsible AI: Tech Leaders Unite in San Francisco
Startups and investors collaborate on ethical AI development guidelines.
Tech leaders, backed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, introduced responsible AI guidelines for startups and investors in San Francisco. These voluntary commitments, spearheaded by Responsible Innovation Labs, involve 35 companies and investor groups, emphasizing responsible AI practices from the outset of product development. The principles cover organizational buy-in, transparency, risk and benefit planning, product safety testing, and ongoing improvements. While welcomed by some, including the Biden administration, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen expressed dissent. The voluntary framework is part of broader AI regulation efforts, aligning with recent executive orders from President Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom.