Government Issues

Secretive Alphabet unit aims to fix U.S. public transit

Posted on June 28, 2016

Photo: City of Columbus
Photo: City of Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sidewalk Labs, a secretive subsidiary of Alphabet (Google's parent co.), is initially offering its cloud software, called Flow, to Columbus, Ohio, the winner of a recent $50 million Smart City Challenge organized by the US Department of Transportation, according to The Guardian.

Flow would use camera-equipped vehicles, like Google’s Street View cars, to count all the public parking spaces in a city and read roadside parking signs. It would then combine data from drivers using Google Maps with live information from city parking meters to estimate which spaces were still free, the report said.

The software would also integrate information and payment for almost every form of transport into Google Maps, including buses and taxis to Uber, Lyft, car-share services like Zipcar and even bike-shares, The Guardian reported. For the full story, click here.

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