Transportation


Lyft raises $500m 'war chest' in battle with Uber

Daily Mail

Uber rival Lyft is raising an additional $500 million in funding ion its ongoinjg battle with Uber, according to a U.S. share authorization document filed in Delaware. The additional funding round, led by Alphabet's CapitalG, is an extension of the $1 billion round announced in October. The additional funding round, led by Alphabet's CapitalG, is an extension of a $1 billion round announced in October, and raises the firm's valuation to $11.5 billion Axios was first to report the news. In October Lyft had said that the previous round of funding boosted its valuation to $11 billion from $7.5 billion. The fresh funding would raise its valuation to $11.5 billion.


Lyft wins permit to test self-driving cars in California

Daily Mail

U.S. ride-hailing firm Lyft has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, taking it one step further in the race with several other companies to bring self-driving cars to the masses. Lyft's permit, reflected on the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website, comes two months after it announced plans to offer a self-driving car as a ride option in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lyft already has partnerships in place with autonomous car companies to advance its self-driving strategy. Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc said on Monday it would launch its service in Toronto, marking the first international expansion for the U.S.-based rival of Uber Technologies Inc. Ford self-driving test vehicles will be connected to Lyft's network, but at first, customers will not be able to use them, according to Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification.


Renault's self-driving car can avoid obstacles like pro drivers

Engadget

The Renault Group announced today that its autonomous vehicle control system can avoid obstacles just as well as professional test drivers. The company said that in designing the system, it was actually inspired by these drivers' abilities and used them as a sort of benchmark as to what level its technology should be performing. "Despite popular belief, the reality is that human beings are pretty amazing drivers, with less than one fatality per 100,000,000 kilometers in most developed countries," Simon Hougard, director of the Renault Open Innovation Lab, wrote in a Medium post. "Reaching and exceeding that benchmark is essential to improve safety and realize our dreams of autonomous cars, providing more productivity during our morning commutes and robo-vehicle services in city centers." The technology is a result of Renault's collaboration with Stanford University Dynamic Design Lab Director Chris Gerdes, who's also a former US Department of Transportation Chief Innovation Officer, and Renault says it will help with its goal to be one of the first companies to bring "mind off" technology to the public.


Hello, mobile operators? This is your age of disruption calling

#artificialintelligence

Difficult times for operators call for questioning old orthodoxies to win. For the better part of a decade, telecom companies have suffered through declining revenues, cash flow, and return on investment just as tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others have mushroomed by building their businesses on the operators' own infrastructure. While these tech visionaries have enjoyed well over $1 trillion in combined market-cap growth by innovating and thinking differently and adeptly, telecom companies have tried to compete by implementing the same old survival tactics: cutting costs, reducing the workforce, and timidly entering into new business adjacencies. The trouble is that playbook no longer applies. It's time the telecom companies embrace this new reality and rethink the key orthodoxies that have shaped their industry since the first phone call was made about 140 years ago.


AutoNation announces Waymo fleet repair deal, shares jump

Daily Mail

US auto retailer AutoNation Inc announced a multi-year partnership on Thursday to support Alphabet Inc's Waymo self-driving car unit, including vehicle maintenance and repairs as the company adds new brands into its fleet, sending its shares up 13 percent to a high for the year. That news was accompanied by a better-than expected third-quarter profit as AutoNation performed well despite the impact of hurricanes during the quarter. There is fierce competition between large automakers to bring self-driving cars to market first. Lauderdale, Florida-based AutoNation is the latest in a series of recent partnerships the self-driving unit has formed. Google has revealed the self driving minivans it hopes could revolutionize the way we travel.


Tesla reports biggest-ever quarterly loss, Model 3 delays

Daily Mail

Tesla racked up a $619 million loss in the third quarter, its biggest-ever, driving its shares sharply lower as the electric-car maker spends to speed up production of its more affordable Model 3 sedan. The company, led by Silicon Valley star Elon Musk, also confirmed it had missed its Model 3 production goal for the third quarter, producing only 260 vehicles compared to an earlier estimate of 1,500. Its shares fell 5.4 percent in after hours trading. The company said it had $3.53 billion in cash and cash-equivalents as of Sept. 30, compared to $3.04 billion at the end of the second quarter. Tesla said last month it delivered 26,150 vehicles in the third quarter, a 4.5 percent rise on the same period of 2016, but added that "production bottlenecks" had left the company behind its planned ramp-up for the $35,000 Model 3. On Wednesday it said it now hoped to achieve a production rate of 5,000 per month by the end of the first quarter of next year, pushed back from the end of this year.


There's an Apple-like acquisition trend in the self-driving car space

Mashable

Ford's self-driving car subsidiary Argo AI has acquired Princeton Lightwave, a LiDAR producer, in a move to take ownership of its supply chain, which is becoming more common in the autonomous vehicle (AV) development space. LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection And Ranging, are sensors used by AVs to determine how far away objects are in the world around it to create a 3D map of road conditions. The system works by sending out lightwaves from lasers that bounce off objects before returning to the sensor, similar to how more commonly understood tools like radar and sonar function. Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky announced the acquisition in a Medium post, calling the sensor tech "crucial" to the development of Argo's autonomous platform. He wrote that the move to bring Princeton onboard makes Argo "uniquely positioned" to build out its hardware and software systems together, which presumably gives the company more direct control over how the platform works as one, along with cutting costs by owning the means of LiDAR production.


Boston self-driving car start-up nuTonomy inks $450M Delphi deal

Boston Herald

Boston self-driving car start-up nuTonomy, which has been testing its autonomous cars in the Seaport since the beginning of the year, has agreed to be acquired by auto parts manufacturer Delphi for as much as $450 million, the companies said. "We're now a significant step forward towards delivering on the technology," said Karl Iagnemma, chief executive of nuTonomy. "This acquisition puts the combined team in the pole position to be one of the winners in the global AV race." Delphi's acquisition will include a $400 million up-front payment, with an additional $50 million in possible additional payments. "The acquisition of nuTonomy and bringing them in really helps us expand our scale and our capabilities," said Glen De Vos, chief technology officer of Delphi.


Tesla's Model 3 'production hell' is testing Elon Musk's fix-as-you-go carmaking model

Los Angeles Times

When Elon Musk talks about the future of factory automation at Tesla, he envisions new breeds of robots and smart machines compressed in dense factories with little room for human operators, guided by self-learning software. "At the point at which the factory looks like an "alien dreadnought" -- a nod to a video game spaceship -- "you know you've won," Musk has told investors. But so far, the manufacturing of Tesla's new all-electric compact sedan, the Model 3, at its Fremont, Calif., factory is moving at a more earthbound pace. When Musk launched the car at an elaborate stage show in July, Tesla was anticipating a production rate of 20,000 Model 3s a month by the end of December. Over three months through September, though, Tesla had produced only 260 Model 3s -- about three cars a day.


Lyft taxi app boosted by $1bn investment from Google-led consortium

The Guardian

The US ride-hailing company Lyft has secured a $1bn (£760m) investment from a Google-led consortium, a considerable war chest that will help finance its challenge to Uber in the US – and possibly overseas. The funding round was led by CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital), the strategic investment arm of Google's corporate parent Alphabet, and takes the valuation of Lyft up to $11bn. That's still a fraction of Uber's market cap, which is somewhere between $50bn and $70bn, but it pegs the company as a major domestic competitor to the trouble-stricken cab firm. Lyft is tight-lipped as to what, precisely, the new funding will be spent on. In a statement announcing the investment round, the company said: "While we've made progress towards our vision, we're most excited about what lies ahead.