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May 26th, 2017 News of the Day: Sergey Brin builds secretive airship, Trump blasts German carmakers

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【Summary】Car News of the Day for May 26th, 2017.

Original Claire    May 26, 2017 6:00 PM PT
May 26th, 2017 News of the Day: Sergey Brin builds secretive airship, Trump blasts German carmakers

Google co-founder building the world's largest aircraft

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is reportedly financing a project in Silicon Valley to construct a giant high-tech airship, according to The Guardian. The massive aircraft is being constructed in a hangar on NASA airfield "far from the eyes of the public".

An insider source of the media said the airship will likely be 640 feet long, which is the largest in the world. And it will use a system of internal gas bladders to control its buoyancy, "allowing it to off-load almost anywhere in the world".

Sergey Brin hopes the airship will be able to deliver supplies and food on humanitarian missions to remote locations. Meanwhile, it will also serve as a luxury intercontinental plane for the billionaire's friends and family. The project is estimated to at $100 million to $150 million.

Trump blasts German automakers and vows to stop their car sales in U.S.

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US President Donald Trump condemned German car sales in the U.S. during a meeting with European officials in Brussels on Thursday, according to German publication Der Spiegel.

"The Germans are bad, very bad," Trump said in the closed-door meeting, citing unidentified attendees according to the media. "Look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S. Terrible. We're going to stop that."

Later Trump's top economic advisor Gary Cohn clarified that Trump is referring to Germany's high trade surplus with U.S. rather than critiquing the country. Earlier in January, he threatened BMW with a 35 percent import duty for foreign-built cars sold in U.S.

Today. The German auto industry hit back regarding to Trump's criticism, insisting that it had created more than 100,000 jobs in the US, which would be endangered by trade restrictions.

California DMV investigates Uber's self-driving truck unit

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California regulators will inspect Uber's autonomous truck headquarters in San Francisco to determine if the company tested driverless trucks on public road without permission. A spokesperson at the California Department of Motor Vehicles tells Forbes that DMV and Highway Patrol will stop by to "see the capabilities of Otto's trucks in person."

Uber spokesperson replied by explaining that trucks testing in California only use driver assist technology. "This technology is the essential foundation upon which autonomous technologies are built, but is not autonomous in itself."

Months ago, Uber was found testing its driverless vehicles in San Francisco without the necessary permits. As a result, the California DMV quickly revoked the registrations of the entire fleet.

Aston Martin returns to profit after strong Q1 result

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After a decade, luxury car maker Aston Martin finally posted its first-ever quarterly profit, with the DB11 car model playing an important role in the British manufacturer's success.

The company's Q1 revenues more than doubled, from 92.6 million to 188 million pounds driven by the strong demand for DB11, which helped increase its sales by 75%, to more than 1200 vehicles.

The profit before tax is 5.9 million pounds, compared with last year's losses 29.7 million pounds.

Aston Martin's CEO Andy Palmer mentioned the company is delivering a "Second Century" transformation program and will introduce new car models including the the Vantage and Vanquish. The company is owned mainly by Kuwaiti and Italian investors, and expects its annual sales to rise by more than 30% based on the 3,687 units it sold in 2016.

Lyft and Uber resume services in Austin this week

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Since pausing their operations in Austin, Texas in 2016, Lyft and Uber finally get "ok" from the government regarding regulation issues. Originally Austin regulators imposed rules that both companies complained were overly restrictive to running their businesses, such as requiring fingerprint-based background checks for drivers, and barring pick-ups and drop-offs in lanes on certain roads within the cities.

Now State Governor Greg Abbot has signed the new bill that overrules local regulations regarding ride-hailing services into law on Monday, the same day Uber and Lyft resumed services in the city. The bill HB100 essentially lifts the previous rules required by Austin municipal regulators, removes the fingerprint requirements, but asks that the ride-hailing companies to get a permit from the Texas state licensing body, which will have an annual operations fee.


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