The Alphabet (Google) self-driving car unit is spinning out as a separate subsidiary within Alphabet, called Waymo.

This is not a surprise, because Google has been telegraphing this move for months.

That said, it’s not obvious what the practical implications of the move are.

TechCrunch speculates:

As an independent company under the Alphabet umbrella, Waymo will likely be less insulated from scrutiny regarding its progress and performance as a business, so its next steps in terms of partnership and sales or licensing model will be very interesting to watch.

It’s not obvious to me why that would be the case, unless Alphabet starts breaking out Waymo’s financial details in its annual reports. Alphabet hasn’t done that with other business units, though, so it seems unlikely they would do that with Waymo.



With more states embracing autonomous cars and the hype surrounding next-stage vehicles increasing exponentially, Nevada wants to protect its lead on autonomous testing.


“The worst thing would be for California, sort of the birth state of this technology, to accidentally sort of shut things down,” Sarah Hunter, public policy director at the experimental lab Google spun off to focus on ambitious projects such as self-driving cars and Internet-beaming balloons, said at a public presentation in September.


Over the summer, Google expanded its road testing from Silicon Valley to Texas, where state law would not prohibit cars without pedals and a wheel. Some within California’s DMV wondered whether Google’s move was motivated by frustration with its home state.

Originally published at www.davidincalifornia.com on November 16, 2015.