Driverless in Phoenix and GM takes its EV offensive beyond vehicles – TechCrunch

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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.

TechCrunch outage it’s finally here! We’re back in person and I couldn’t be more excited about the guests we’ll have on our multiple stages and all the people I’ll meet there. I hope you are one of them.


Earlier this week, I took a quick jaunt to Phoenix to see what Waymo it’s up to the task on the truck and robotaxi fronts. It’s been a minute since I’ve taken a self-driving ride in a Waymo. And last time it was a Chrysler Pacifica. This time, I took a spin in downtown Phoenix in a driverless Jaguar I-Pace (without a human safety driver).

Self-driving rides in downtown Phoenix are not yet open to the public. For now, only vetted people who have signed confidentiality agreements and are part of Waymo’s “trusted testers” program can call in to these trips. That meant I had a Waymo employee use his phone to request my ride. We spent about 30 minutes driving, arriving at a destination, getting out of the vehicle, and then calling it back.

A few months ago, Waymo implemented a major improvement to its autonomous driving system. The specific change was the planning (as in planning and insight) piece of the software, according to senior product manager Pablo Abad. This newer version relies more on machine learning and neural networks than in the past.

Adad explains:

“Coding for all these different scenarios more manually can be time consuming, as you can imagine,” Adad said. “As you build more and more of these heuristics, it becomes more difficult for other developers to go in and modify certain parameters without affecting other parts of the system. So instead you give the system all this training data, allowing it to learn the best behavior in certain situations on its own, rather than having to manually input and insert heuristics.”

The result is a system that can handle more dynamic situations and improves faster. During my trip, the vehicle was able to handle more difficult situations (such as double parked vehicles) than I remember without problems. It also allows Waymo to more easily add new features.

For example, as I was leaving, the robotaxi gave me a visual and audible alert that another vehicle was approaching from behind to make sure I didn’t open the door all the way into the busy street. It will also alert bicyclists to upcoming bicyclists.

My experience in downtown Phoenix makes me curious (more than ever) about how Waymo’s robotic taxis work in San Francisco. And Cruise, for that matter.

You can always email me at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticism, opinions or advice. You can also send a direct message to @kirstenkorosec

Micromobbin’

the scooter1a station

Amazon plans double the number of micromobility centers has in Europe as it explores ways to clean up its logistics network.

And yes Apple Decided to screw up the secret electric car project and actually just make an electric bike? Bloomberg explore that question.

Bird posted an independently verified life cycle analysis for its 2 Bird Three scooter, showing it has a lifespan of up to five years after refurbishment and is one of the lowest GHG emitters in Europe compared to shared public transport, cars and other micromobility vehicles .

radio flyerthe toy company famous for its little red wagon, has launched a folding electric cargo bike. The bike has 5-level pedal assist and throttle, and comes with the option to add accessories such as storage bins, cargo bin, and child seats.

Waymo unions ArgoAI by approving the six technical guidelines for safe interactions between autonomous vehicles and cyclists of the League of American Bicyclists.

You are reading a shortened version of micromobbin’. Subscribe for free to the newsletter and you will get much more.

deal of the week

money station

Not a big deal of the week this time. Instead, here is a list of the ones that caught my eye.

Acquisition of Ascending Mobility Ia mobility-focused Special Purpose Acquisition (SPAC) company, he withdrew his plans for an initial public offering. The SPAC was co-chaired by former Tesla executives Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen and Jochen Rudat.

Bird modified his $150 million vehicle financing credit facility so you don’t have to pay it back during the slow, dry winter months and can increase payments during the spring and summer months, which the company says will help reduce interest and amortization payments. Interesting news as we approach third quarter earnings.

delta airlines invested $60 million in Joby Aviation and announced plans to launch an eVTOL service that will transport Delta passengers from local vertiports directly to airports, starting in Los Angeles and New York.

Kodiak Robotics insured a $30 million growth capital credit facility of Horizon Technology Finance Corporation.

zoom carthe Indian car rental startup, plans to go public in the United States through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Innovative International Acquisition Corp. The combined company is valued at $456 million, including debt.

Do you want more offers? A full list of them, including information on Aptiv, TerraWatt, and TruckSmarter, were in the subscription version this week. Sign up for free here.

Notable readings and other tidbits

driverless in phoenix and gm takes its ev offensive beyond vehicles – techcrunch

autonomous vehicles

akshay jaisingMotional’s vice president of merchandising, spoke with TechCrunch about the company’s merchandising strategy following its most recent deal with Uber.

starship technologies is associating with grubhub to deliver food via curbside delivery robots on US college campuses.

Waymo Cafeteria workers at the Mountain View-based company’s site are forming a unionciting the high cost of living in the Bay Area and the lack of great benefits working for such a valuable company.

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

car manufacturers recalled EVs shouldn’t count for fleet-wide fuel economy, writes Tim De Chant.

general motors launched a new business unit to sell a line of energy products to homeowners, businesses, and utilities. That is No a little effort. GM Energy is trying to cover the full range of EV ownership, including stationary energy storage, solar power through a partnership with SunPower, two-way charging technology to deliver power from the vehicle to your home or to the grid, and a product in the cloud that hosts data and management software

sling is spending $700 million to refurbish three of its Ohio plants to build electric vehicles as it aims to phase out gasoline engines by 2040.

Polar Star introduced the Polestar 3, an $83,900 all-electric SUV that the company hopes will fuel its transition into a mass-market automaker.

they are motors debuted its solar-powered Sion EV in New York this week, and our very own Rebecca Bellan went for a ride. More importantly, she met Whoopi Goldberg there!

Sony Y sling launched a mobility joint venture, Sony Honda Mobility, which aims to offer premium electric vehicles with automated driving capabilities in the US and Japan by 2026.

Stellar launched a plan for its circular economy business unit to generate more than €2bn in revenue by 2030 and drive the company’s net-zero carbon goal by 2038. Psssttt: the circular economy is heating up.

Miscellaneous

Cabify launched a B2B2C unit called Cabify Logistics that will provide storage and/or last mile delivery. The company expects to invest $20 million in the new unit.

the US Department of Labor has proposed changes to the classification of temporary workers in an effort to “combat employee misclassification,” the federal agency said in a statement. a declaration. The announcement pushed down shares of Lyft, Uber and other companies that rely on temporary workers.

People

ECARX Holdingsa global mobility technology company, named Ramesh Narasimhan as CFO, Peter Cirino as COO and Andrew Winterton as General Counsel.

Piech AutomotiveA Swiss electric vehicle startup that wants to launch a GT sports car in 2024 has named former Aston Martin chief executive Tobias Moers and former global head of Hyundai’s Genesis brand Manfred Fitzgerald as co-chief executives.

Trevor Miltonwho founded Nikola and later took it public through a SPAC, was convicted by a federal jury of securities fraud. The conviction caps a wild and dramatic streak for Milton, whose constant efforts to boost the stock, including lying to investors, helped propel the company’s valuation beyond that of established automakers, even though it hadn’t made not a single truck. His sentencing is scheduled for January 27 and he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Want to read more of the week’s notable reads and other news? The station’s weekly email newsletter has much more on electric and autonomous vehicles, the future of flight, insider information and more. Click here and then check “The Station” to receive the full edition of the newsletter every weekend in your inbox.

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