Flying Transport Pods To Be Tested at NASA Ames; Google Moves Forward With Self-Driving Cars

A look at the way Mountain View technology companies made news last week.

Every week, Mountain View makes news with technology developments, discoveries and sometimes controversies.

In the weekly “Bits and Bytes” column we’ll relay the past week’s news highlights from our backyard giants, start-ups and small businesses alike.

Google CEO Eric Smidt pushed for self-driving cars at a press conference Thursday, stressing that they should become “the predominant mode of transportation in our lifetime.” These cars, he said, would help save lives since they’d be better drivers than actual humans. So far, the only state that has approved such cars on the road is Nevada.

Remember those magnetic floating pod vehicles from The Jetsons? Well, one Mountain View company is designing these cars of the future. SkyTran has created prototypes of 500-pound, two person vehicles that can travel up to speeds of 150 miles per hour. They float on overhead rails with the aid of magnetic levitation. While none of the pops have been sold yet, the company has gotten the go-ahead from NASA Ames to build a quarter mile look to test them out.

LinkedIn picked up several of social news site Digg’s patents on Thursday. They paid between $3.75 and $4 million for 15 patents, including the well-known “click on a button to vote up a story.” Digg sold the rest of its remaining assets to The Washington Post and

Smartphone toting small business owners, you’re in luck. On Thursday Intuit announced a free app aimed at small biz owners and available on the iPhone or iPad. “Snap Payrole” calculates an employee’s net pay based on his or her hours logged, factoring in withholding for state or federal taxes.

The City of Mountain View has given Hacker Dojo to raise enough funds to stay open. The community coworking and events venue has already raised $124,000 of the $250,000 it needs for the city mandated upgrades to stay in compliance with the code. On Thursday, they announced a campaign through grassroots fundraising website Kickstarter to raise $30,000.


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