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   Technology StocksDriverless autos, trucks, taxis etc.

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To: Sam who wrote (413)3/20/2021 11:10:27 AM
From: Sam
1 Recommendation   of 453
Founder, funder explain deal behind Luminar's $8B 'blank check' market debut (Video)

By Cromwell Schubarth – TechFlash Editor, Silicon Valley Business Journal
Dec 3, 2020 Updated Dec 3, 2020, 3:09pm PST

Luminar Technologies Inc. CEO Austin Russell and billionaire investor Alec Gores say the reason they went public in an $8 billion "blank check" merger this week is simple — it was the most efficient way to drive the lidar company to its future potential.

Russell and Gores expanded on that in an interview that was shown at the Silicon Valley Business Journal's Upstart Tech Trends 2021 virtual event Thursday morning, the same day that Palo Alto-based Luminar went public and rang the opening bell on the Nasdaq exchange.

"Luminar has an amazing leader in Austin, who I got to know every well," Gore said. He heads the Los Angeles private equity firm behind the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that Palo Alto-based Luminar merged with.

"We had to make sure he can execute on his vision," he added. "His technology, in my opinion, is way ahead of anyone else's."

Russell said he considered taking on a strategic investment or doing a traditional IPO but changed his mind after hearing Gores' SPAC pitch.

"The first time I heard about SPACs was, I think, a couple of years back," Russell said. "That's when it was an interesting concept and it made sense as a mechanism, but it just really never had the traction, sponsors or credibility to really take off."

Alec Gores, the Gores Metropoulos Inc. SPAC he created, and a growing number of companies that successfully went public this year in "blank check" mergers changed his mind.

"There are only so many people who can write a $500 million or $600 million check," Russell said. "That's why I think you're seeing new EV (electric vehicle) companies or others who are pre-product or pre-revenue get out there as a way to fund initial parts of the business. It definitely can make a lot of sense."

Russell and Gores, in the video attached to this story, expand on, among other things, their merger, whether the record number of SPAC IPOs this year is a bubble and why Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk is wrong when he says self-driving cars don't need lidar.

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From: Sam4/5/2021 8:21:42 AM
   of 453
Alphabet’s Waymo CEO steps down as tech executives take over
By David Welch and Mark Gurman
Driverless vehicle
Monday, 05 Apr 2021 11:30 AM MYT

John Krafcik stepped down as chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving vehicle division, making way for two tech industry veterans to jointly take over the business, the company said in a memo.

Krafcik, 59, will be replaced by Tekedra Mawakana, Waymo’s chief operating officer, and Dmitri Dolgov, chief technical officer, who will serve as co-CEOs. Mawakana was named COO in 2019, and held senior roles at AOL, Yahoo, and EBay Inc earlier in her career. Dolgov had been CTO since late 2016 and previously had engineering positions at Google and was a researcher at Toyota Research Institute, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Replacing an auto industry veteran with executives more steeped in technology points to Waymo’s efforts to move past the industrial phase. After Krafcik cut deals with carmakers to get technology in vehicles, the company’s now moving to deploy vehicles on the road with revenue-generating services.

Under Krafcik, Waymo secured agreements with Stellantis NV, Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc, Volvo Car AB, Daimler AG’s truck group to put its technology in passenger cars and freight trucks. While Krafcik got Waymo’s technology in vehicles, he had said that the challenge of autonomy was a difficult one and it could take longer than expected for people to get a truly driverless experience on the road.

“Krafcik’s departure comes as the Alphabet-owned company has been slow to capitalize on its lead in autonomous technology over peers such as Tesla and GM Cruise,” Mandeep Singh, senior technology analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “Tesla’s growing fleet of electric cars with its proprietary Autopilot system could be aiding its competitive positioning versus Waymo One, which still hasn’t been rolled out broadly.”

The company sought its first funding for the business from other investors last year, raising US$3.25bil (RM13.46bil), an increase from an initial US$2.25bil (RM9.32bil). In the fall, Waymo started offering self-driving services without a test driver in Arizona.

“They went outside for funding, which was a sign that Alphabet was running out of patience to turn this into a real business,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights. Still, “John accomplished a lot in terms of building relationships at automakers. Before he got there, Google talked to a lot of automakers and got turned away.”

Waymo confirmed the move on Twitter, thanking Krafcik for leading the company’s autonomous technology development for more than five years.

“After five-and-a-half exhilarating years leading this team, I’ve decided to depart from my CEO role with Waymo and kick-off new adventures,” Krafcik said in the memo, adding that he will remain as an adviser. “To start, I’m looking forward to a refresh period, reconnecting with old friends and family, and discovering new parts of the world.”

Mawakana brings government affairs experience to the top at Waymo. She was previously chief external officer at the company, heading public policy and communications. She also had similar roles at EBay and Yahoo.

That will be vital as Waymo seeks to run its services on public roads and charge for driverless rides. The federal government is still developing rules for self-driving vehicles and states have their own rules and permits.

Dolgov was one of the original members of Google’s self-driving project that started in more than a decade ago that became Waymo. He also worked on Toyota Motor Corp’s self-driving car program and was part of Stanford University’s DARPA Urban Challenge team that started the push into autonomous technology. He leads development of Waymo’s autonomous system. – Bloomberg

Related stories:

A (virtual) test ride in a Waymo long-haul truck

Samsung to develop autonomous driving chip for Google's Waymo - media

Alphabet’s Waymo says its tech would avoid fatal human crashes

Waymo brings robo-taxis to San Francisco in new test

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From: Sam4/19/2021 6:21:06 AM
   of 453
2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say
“No one was driving the vehicle” when the car crashed and burst into flames, killing two men, a constable said.
By Bryan Pietsch
April 18, 2021

Two men were killed in Texas after a Tesla they were in crashed on Saturday and caught fire with neither of the men behind the wheel, the authorities said.

Mark Herman, the Harris County Precinct 4 constable, said that physical evidence from the scene and interviews with witnesses led officials “to believe no one was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.”

The vehicle, a 2019 Model S, was going at a “high rate of speed” around a curve at 11:25 p.m. local time when it went off the road about 100 feet and hit a tree, Constable Herman said. The crash occurred in a residential area in the Woodlands, an area about 30 miles north of Houston.

The men were 59 and 69 years old. One was in the front passenger seat and one in the rear seat, Constable Herman said.

He said that minutes before the crash, the men’s wives watched them leave in the Tesla after they said they wanted to go for a drive and were talking about the vehicle’s Autopilot feature.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last month that it was investigating nearly two dozen crashes involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it.

The causes of death were unclear on Sunday. Positive identification had not yet been made because of the duration of the fire, Constable Herman said.

“It took four hours to put out a fire that normally would have taken a matter of minutes,” Constable Herman said, adding that it took more than 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.

Regulators have raised concerns about the batteries used in electric vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board warned in a 2020 report that the batteries can pose safety risks to emergency responders.

Mitchell Weston, chief investigator at the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, said that while the batteries are “generally safe,” impacts at high speeds can result in “thermal runaway,” which causes an “uncontrolled contact” between different materials in the batteries.

Thermal runaway can lead to fires, as well as “battery reignition,” even after an initial fire is put out, the safety board warned in its report. Mitsubishi Electric warns that “thermal runaway can lead to catastrophic results, including fire, explosion, sudden system failure, costly damage to equipment, and possibly personal injury.”

The fire marshal’s office was investigating the fire in the crash, a spokeswoman said. Constable Herman said his department was working with the federal authorities to investigate.

He said that law enforcement officials had been in contact with Tesla on Saturday for “guidance on a few things” but declined to discuss the nature of the conversations.

Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations team, did not respond to a request for comment.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, earlier on Saturday had promoted a recent safety report from the company, writing on Twitter that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

Tesla, which on its website calls Autopilot the “future of driving,” says the feature allows its vehicles to “steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.” However, it warns tha
t “current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

In 2016, a driver in Florida was killed in a Tesla Model S that was in Autopilot mode and failed to brake for a tractor-trailer that made a left turn in front of it.

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From: Sam5/2/2021 12:00:02 AM
1 Recommendation   of 453
Mobileye and Udelv Ink Deal for Autonomous Delivery
Udelv Customers will use ‘Transporter’ for last- and middle-mile autonomous deliveries.

  • Mobileye’s self-driving system ? branded Mobileye Drive™ ? will be the autonomous “driver” for Udelv’s next-generation electric self-driving delivery vehicle, called “Transporter,” which was revealed today.
  • Fleets of Transporters will begin operations in 2023; more than 35,000 Mobileye-driven Transporters will be produced between 2023 and 2028.
  • First pre-order of 1,000 Udelv Transporters announced today by Donlen, one of America’s largest commercial fleet leasing and management companies.
  • Premiere deal signals commercial readiness of Mobileye Drive™ for large-scale deployment in the movement of goods and people and maturity of Udelv’s delivery technology.
JERUSALEM, Israel, and BURLINGAME, Calif., April 12, 2021 – Mobileye, an Intel Company, and Udelv, a Silicon Valley venture-backed company, announced that Mobileye’s self-driving system ? branded Mobileye Drive™ ? will “drive” the next-generation Udelv autonomous delivery vehicles (ADV), called “Transporters.” The companies plan to produce more than 35,000 Mobileye-driven Transporters by 2028, with commercial operations beginning in 2023. Today’s news is believed to be the first large-scale deal for a self-driving system and signals that Mobileye Drive is ready for commercial deployment in solutions involving the autonomous movement of goods and people.

More: Mobileye Drive (Fact Sheet) | Autonomous Driving/Mobileye (Press Kit) | Mobileye News | Udelv ‘Transporter’ (Video)

“Our deal with Udelv is significant for its size, scope and rapid deployment timeline, demonstrating our ability to deliver Mobileye Drive™ for commercial use now and in volume,” said Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye president and CEO. “COVID-19 has accelerated demand for autonomous goods delivery, and we are delighted to partner with Udelv to address this demand in the near term.”

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From: Sam5/28/2021 7:18:56 AM
   of 453
Driving in the snow is a team effort for AI sensors
Date:May 27, 2021
Source:Michigan Technological University


A major challenge for fully autonomous vehicles is navigating bad weather. Snow especially confounds crucial sensor data that helps a vehicle gauge depth, find obstacles and keep on the correct side of the yellow line, assuming it is visible. Averaging more than 200 inches of snow every winter, Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is the perfect place to push autonomous vehicle tech to its limits.

Full story:

Nobody likes driving in a blizzard, including autonomous vehicles. To make self-driving cars safer on snowy roads, engineers look at the problem from the car's point of view.

A major challenge for fully autonomous vehicles is navigating bad weather. Snow especially confounds crucial sensor data that helps a vehicle gauge depth, find obstacles and keep on the correct side of the yellow line, assuming it is visible. Averaging more than 200 inches of snow every winter, Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is the perfect place to push autonomous vehicle tech to its limits. In two papers presented at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2021, researchers from Michigan Technological University discuss solutions for snowy driving scenarios that could help bring self-driving options to snowy cities like Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Toronto.

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From: Sam6/27/2021 9:29:55 AM
   of 453
Forget Lordstown Motors. Buy These 3 Electric Car Stocks Instead

These three companies look like long-term winners as the auto industry evolves.
Lou Whiteman, John Rosevear, and Rich Duprey
Jun 26, 2021 at 7:00AM

Investors in Lordstown Motors ( NASDAQ:RIDE) have endured a rough ride in the last few months.

The electric pickup start-up came into 2021 with a lot of promise, but has been weighed down first by accusations from a short-seller and more recently by a company warning that it might not have enough cash to stay in business for another year.

The Lordstown story is illustrative of both the promise, and the risk, that comes with investing in electric vehicle (EV) companies. There's almost no doubt the industry is evolving quickly, and electrification is the future. But there are a lot of companies chasing that future, many of them are in their early days, and some are still pre-revenue.

There will certainly be electric vehicle success stories, but it's almost equally certain that not every EV stock will end up in that category.

It's hard to predict the future and know for sure who the eventual winners will be. But here's why three Fool contributors are focused on Churchill Capital IV (Lucid Motors) ( NYSE:CCIV), NIO ( NYSE:NIO), and Ford Motor ( NYSE:F) instead of Lordstown.

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From: Sam6/27/2021 9:33:29 AM
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2,85,520 Tesla vehicles “recalled” in China due to faulty active cruise control: Model 3 and Y affected

A number of Tesla Model 3 and Y units have been found to have a fault in the autopilot system and thus require an update to fix the issue. affected models include both domestically produced and imported vehicles.
By: Aakash Paul Updated: Jun 26, 2021 8:30 PM

Tesla is not having a great time in China lately. First, their vehicles were banned in high-security areas due to security concerns, then angry Tesla owners staged a protest against the company at the Auto Shanghai 2021 and now it has been found that a total of 2,85,520 vehicles from the manufacturer have a faulty active cruise control system that needs to be fixed via a recall. Vehicles affected include both domestically produced and imported units of Model 3 and Model Y.

The Chinese authorities found that the active cruise control feature can be accidentally engaged and this can cause issues in case the car is driving at a slower speed compared to that set by the cruising speed. In such an event, the vehicle could quickly accelerate when not needed and result in an accident. Tesla cars are known for having autopilot features that can allow the car to drive itself under certain conditions. The active cruise control is part of that feature set and adjusts the driving speed of the car according to the vehicle in front.

While this is being termed as a recall, customers do not necessarily have to send their vehicles to the workshop. The issue can be fixed via an over the air (OTA) update which the company will roll out for free. In some cases where that cannot be done, Tesla will contact the users and arrange for the vehicle to be updated. This too will be free of cost for the customer. The vehicles affected by the issue include imported and domestically produced variants of Model Y and 3. A notice issued by State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) states that out of the total 2,85,520 affected vehicles, 38,599 are Model Y vehicles produced domestically between January 1 to June 7, 2021, a massive 2,11,256 units of Model 3 made between December 19, 2019 and June 7, 2021 and 35,665 units of Model 3 that were imported to China and manufactured between January 12, 2019 and November 27, 2019.

While China is a prime market for EVs and Tesla has invested heavily in setting up their Gigafactory there, continual issues like these could hurt the company’s image in the long term. It remains to be seen how things unfold in the coming days. Meanwhile, the American EV maker is finally preparing to set foot in the Indian market. They have registered a subsidiary in Bengaluru and could set up their headquarters in Mumbai.

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From: Sam7/5/2021 12:11:39 PM
   of 453
Tesla AI chief explains why self-driving cars don’t need lidar
Ben Dickson @BenDee983 July 3, 2021 10:20 AM

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From: Sam7/5/2021 12:19:28 PM
   of 453
General Motors is going to make a multimillion-dollar investment in lithium mining for its EVs
Posted by By Mary Woods July 3, 2021

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From: Sam7/6/2021 6:35:47 AM
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NHTSA Tells Autonomous Tech Companies They Need to Report Crashes
More than 100 companies are working on self-driving and driver-assist technology. Now all of them have to tell the feds if an accident occurs when it's in use.
By Sebastian Blanco
Jul 6, 2021

  • Companies working on autonomous and driver assistance technologies did not need to report any incidents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about times when their vehicles did not work as advertised. Now they do.
  • For at least the next three years, any of the more than 100 companies working on autonomous (AV) and driver assist (ADAS) technologies will need to file reports about any crash that resulted in more than a minor scrape, as well as monthly reports if they have zero crashes.
  • NHTSA will collect this information and release it to the public, but there are carveouts for legitimate confidential information.

  • There are more than 100 companies testing autonomous vehicles or autonomous driving technologies in the U.S. This little tidbit comes from a new Standing General Order issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that requires all of these companies to let the federal government know when any of their AVs are involved in a crash more serious than a fender bender. This represents a policy change from the previous presidential administration, when the Department of Transportation said it didn't want to discourage innovation with too many regulations.

    NHTSA sent its order to 108 autonomous technology companies, ranging from Aimotive to Zoox, to let them know that they are now responsible for submitting detailed crash information when there's been a crash and a car's Automated Driving Systems (ADS) or Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) was engaged. Level 2 ADAS includes many common safety features on today's vehicles, including things like lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control and branded collections of these technologies including Tesla's Autopilot and GM's Super Cruise.

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