May 15th, 2017 Car News of the Day: Waymo teams up with Lyft, Uber continues its driverless program

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【Summary】Car News of the Day for May 15th, 2017.

Original   Claire  ·  May 15, 2017 5:10 PM PT
author: Claire   

Uber's self-driving program was temporarily saved by Judge

While Google's Waymo has asked Federal Judge William Alsup to shut down Uber's driverless program while investigating the case. Alsup allowed Uber's autonomous research to continue while the lawsuit proceeds to trial.

Alsup's 26-page order mandates that Uber turn over the 14,000 technical documents allegedly stolen by Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Google engineer who left the company and founded self-driving truck startup Otto. The judge also forbids Levandowski from working on LiDAR-related research at Uber.

On Uber's side, the company said it's pleased with the court's ruling and the fact that its driverless program can continue, and looks forward to the trial which will demonstrate that its technology has been built from the ground up.

Meanwhile, Waymo's spokesperson said it welcomed Alsup's order.

"The court has also granted Waymo expedited discovery and we will use this to further protect our work and hold Uber fully responsible for its misconduct." said the spokesperson.

Google and Lyft team up to work on the autonomous car technology

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Google's Waymo announced this past Sunday that it has sealed a deal with Uber's rival Lyft to collaborate on self-driving car technology.

Although no more details were given, Waymo has told The New York Times that Lyft's vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo to reach more people in more places.

While Lyft replied by saying that the partnership will help "accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation."

Currently Lyft stands at a distant second in the ride-hailing market, and has much less valuation than Uber. It has partnered with General Motors in a $500 million deal to test GM's Chevy Bolts on its network in the next 5 years. However, according to Financial Times, the agreement with Google is a non-exclusive deal, meaning both sides are free to continue their other partnerships without conflict.

Singapore sees a giant vending machine for selling luxury cars

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Autobahn Motors (ABM), a company that used to sell second-hand vehicles in conventional showrooms, has recently opened a 15-storey building in Singapore that looks a like a giant toy vending machine in the Southeast Asian city.

The building can hold up to 60 high-end cars, such as Ferraris and Bentleys. To purchase a vehicle from the "vending machine", visitors to the site can use a touchscreen device and customized app to place an order. Then their car will be delivered to you within in two minutes, using a "fishbone" advanced retrieval system that minimizes wind resistance.

ABM General Manager Gary Hong told Reuters in a recent interview that the vending machine format aims to make efficient use of space in land-scarce Singapore, as well as standing out from the competition.

Chinese automaker Great Wall to open factory in North America

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Great Wall, which claims to be China's largest SUV and pickup truck maker, has recently confirmed with Reuters that the company will build a factory in either Mexico or the United States. The decision weighs heavily on the uncertain policy environment under the Trump administration.

According to the company's boss Wei Jianjun, Great Wall has already looked at three possible sites, one in Mexico and two in the U.S.

"Our plans to go to the American market haven't changed," he told reporters in Shanghai. "First we want to see how things work and then make a decision."

Great Wall is also planning to build a manufacturing center in Russia, and aims to sell 100,000 cars in the international market by 2020.

Germany approves autonomous car testing

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The German government has recently approved a law that allows automakers to test self-driving prototypes on the country's streets.

Each vehicle, however, will be required to install a black box that records every journey. The legislation permits drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road while the car's autonomous system is switched on. If a crash happens while a human driver is in control, the law stipulates that the person behind the wheel will be fully responsible. On the other hand, if a crash occurs when the driverless system is engaged, then the automaker will bear full responsibility.

The law will be revised in two years' time in regards to technology development in data protection and the data collected in rides.


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