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Waymo is opening up its robo-taxis to anyone (in Phoenix)

There are about to be a lot more Waymo driverless rides taking place in Phoenix.

Waymo has been testing its autonomous-vehicle technology in and around Arizona's capital since 2017, slowly expanding the capabilities of the driverless cars over time. Today, Oct. 8, the Alphabet company announced that anyone will be able to able to hail one of its vehicles in the areas Waymo currently serves. The plan right now, given the pandemic, is to actually start with fully driverless vehicles, and then as Waymo is able to retrofit its vehicles with safety dividers between the front and rear seats, it'll bring human drivers back into the mix. This will allow the vehicles to cover a larger swath of Phoenix, where the cars might not be as confident to drive 100% on their own.

No word on when services like this will be coming to other municipalities, or whether you're going to have to be stuck in the least-cool, most-futuristic car on the road, Waymo's modified minivans.



'Woke tech' and 'the new slave power': Conservatives gather for Vegas summit

An agenda for the event, hosted by the Claremont Institute, listed speakers including U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The so-called "Digital Statecraft Summit" was organized by the Claremont Institute. The speakers include U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as a who's-who of far-right provocateurs.

Photo: David Vives/Unsplash

Conservative investors, political operatives, right-wing writers and Trump administration officials are quietly meeting in Las Vegas this weekend to discuss topics including China, "woke tech" and "the new slave power," according to four people who were invited to attend or speak at the event as well as a copy of the agenda obtained by Protocol.

The so-called "Digital Statecraft Summit" was organized by the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank that says its mission is to "restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life." A list of speakers for the event includes a combination of past and current government officials as well as a who's who of far-right provocateurs. One speaker, conservative legal scholar John Eastman, rallied the president's supporters at a White House event before the Capitol Hill riot earlier this month. Some others have been associated with racist ideologies.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

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