There are many projects inside the X labs over at Alphabet. X was formerly known as Google X and then changed to just X. This is basically an incubator for new projects, and once they are mature enough, they end up being their own company underneath the Alphabet umbrella. And according to a report coming out today, Google's self-driving cars are close to graduating from X. What this means is that self-driving cars won't be so much a "moonshot" anymore, but something that Alphabet believes can generate revenue for the company.
Tonight's NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt will feature a segment explaining what is in order for X and self-driving cars at Alphabet. The segment will include an inside look at the X division which includes many other projects, besides these self-driving cars. These include things like Project Loon, Project Wing and Makani. Holt interviewed Astro Teller and Obi Felten over at X.
Now with the self-driving car project being close to graduation from X, that means that Google is close to selling these cars, or at least generating revenue somehow. Now Google's self-driving cars have not been approved in many States in the US. Currently, Google is only testing them in a handful of cities, mostly in the Western United States. Google has said that they want to battle Uber, basically, with their self-driving cars. Having them doing ride-sharing can generate more revenue for Google, but also makes it so that people don't need to buy cars anymore. Since they wouldn't be driving anyways. In theory, it should be cheaper than Uber, because Google isn't paying for drivers here.
With this being close to graduation, it's also a bit fuzzy as to whether the self-driving car project would fall under Google or be a separate company under Alphabet. There's also the question of what it would be called, we've seen a few different names floating around in recent years. But we should know more in the next few months. Now when they say "close" to graduation, it's tough to know what that means. It could be a few weeks, months or even a year away. Since Google has been working on these cars for years already.