Google looks to Detroit to help build its autonomous vehicles

There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether [company]Google[/company] really wants to be an automaker, but today in an interview with Reuters, Google’s self-driving car project chief Chris Urmson said the company is open to the idea of working with traditional automakers to build its autonomous vehicle technology into cars.

“We’d be remiss not to talk to … the biggest auto manufacturers. They’ve got a lot to offer,” Urmson said in the interview. “For us to jump in and say that we can do this better, that’s arrogant.”

Urmson confirmed Google is in talks with some of the world’s biggest automakers including [company]GM[/company], [company]Ford[/company], [company]Toyota[/company], [company]Daimler[/company] and [company]Volkswagen[/company]. But he didn’t say one way or another if Google will wind up supplying core autonomous driving technology to auto industry or a specific automaker or if it will manufacture the vehicle themselves.

Google’s ultimate plans are still as much of mystery as they were before, but Urmson did seem to stress that Google will need outside help in getting this self-driving car project off the ground even if it winds up being the final manufacturer of the vehicle. Building a car from scratch isn’t like designing Google’s own servers or data centers. Gearboxes, engines and airbags are pretty far outside of Google’s core competency.

Urmson told Reuters that engineering and prototyping specialist Roush built Google’s fleet of driverless test vehicles. Google is also working directly with the auto parts suppliers that directly support the automakers. For instance, [company]Continental[/company] is supplying tires, electronics and other vehicle components to the project.

NYC and 13 more cities get T-Mobile’s iPhone-friendly upgrade

T-Mobile saved the biggest cities for the end of the year. T-Mobile revealed that it has completed its HSPA+ network upgrade in 14 more cities including metropolises like New York, Boston, and Dallas-Fort Worth. In those cities iPhones can now tap into T-Mo’s 3G network.

Does online video need to be local? This startup thinks so.

Glocal wants to become the Hulu for local news and entertainment content, and help local publishers earn more money than on YouTube. That’s ambitious – but it’s also a good reminder that online video isn’t always about the big hits that are popular everywhere.

Twitter sets up shop in Detroit coworking space

Coworking is moving out from its community-focused roots as larger organizations explore ways they can apply the principles of the movement. And Twitter has gotten the memo. When the company opened a satellite office in Detroit, they set up shop in a coworking space.

Today in Cleantech

Green car spotters of the world, unite. The North American International Auto Show has plenty of actual and would-be models to salivate over in Detroit this week. Toyota is showing off three new Prius models to arrive in 2012 — the smaller Prius C, the family-sized Prius V and the first plug-in Prius, which will have a much shorter all-electric range in exchange for much shorter charging time. In the meantime, Ford announced plans to make the world’s first mass-production plug-in hybrid minivan, the C-Max, for 2012 launch, and said that electric drive vehicles could account for up to one-quarter of global sales by 2015. On the theme of family-sized plug-ins, Johnson Controls-Saft showed off a new battery pack in a so-called ie:3 electric concept vehicle — actually a Kia Soul — that combined 100 miles of all-electric range with lots of passenger and cargo space. On the price competition front, Chinese-based, Warren Buffet-backed automaker BYD unveiled a 2012 U.S. launch date for its low-price electric and hybrid car offerings. And on the definite-maybe front, Li-Ion Motors is promising a mid-2011 launch for its long-delayed Inizio electric sports car and has taken five orders for its Automotive X-Prize-winning Wave EV.

Productivity Superstar: Can People Skills Shore Up Your Productivity?

Creative Workgroup in a MeetingEditor’s note: With this post, we welcome Karen Leland, our new Productivity Superstar columnist, to the WebWorkerDaily team. Karen is the bestselling author of six books, including the recent “Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day,” and is the co-founder of Sterling Marketing Group. To find out more about Karen go to www.karenleland.com.

Some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my professional life have been personal ones. There have been times when I’ve jumped the gun and made an incorrect assumption about a person or situation, sent the occasional indelicate email written in haste, or gone into a meeting in a grumpy mood. It’s not a pretty story, but one that needs to be told.

“When we are upset, we’re stupid,” says Randy Martin, a long-time executive coach. “So as a general rule, it’s never a good idea to communicate by phone, email or in person when angry or frustrated.” No kidding.

But despite my occasional bad behavior (and let’s tell the truth — who among us has not fallen off the courteous co-worker wagon from time to time?), I’ve had enough training and practice to know how to recover when I slip and fall on the road to interpersonal excellence. Read More about Productivity Superstar: Can People Skills Shore Up Your Productivity?