May 30th, 2017 News of the Day: Uber fires Levandowski, Nissan sells its battery business

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【Summary】News of the Day for May 30th, 2017.

Original Claire    May 30, 2017 4:25 PM PT
May 30th, 2017 News of the Day: Uber fires Levandowski, Nissan sells its battery business

Uber fires ex-google engineer Anthony Levandowski amid Waymo lawsuit

Uber fired self-driving car executive Anthony Levandowski on Tuesday, amid the continuous lawsuit with Waymo.

Levandowski as an ex-Google engineer and founder of self-driving truck company Otto, was at the center of the case and was accused of stealing trade secrets related to autonomous vehicles and taking them to Uber.

Eric Meyhofer, who took over Levandowski's former role of leading the Advanced Technologies Group, will continue to lead the team. Previously Uber has been asking Levandowski to comply with internal investigations. However, he did not meet the company's deadlines for compliance.

"Over the last few months Uber has provided significant evidence to the court to demonstrate that our self-driving technology has been built independently," Uber's associate general counsel for employment and litigation said, according to the New York Times. "Over that same period, Uber has urged Anthony to fully cooperate in helping the court get to the facts and ultimately helping to prove our case."

Nissan selling its battery business to China's GSR


According to Bloomberg, Nissan is preparing to sell its 51% stake of Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) to Chinese venture capital firm GSR Capital, quoting an insider's source.

AESC is a joint venture between Nissan and Japanese information technology company NEC, to provide lithium-ion batteries for the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200, as well as some Renault vehicles.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the deal will likely be worth $988 million. After that, GSR will move some of AESC's manufacturing units to its home province Hubei (in the central part of China), to better serve the local growing EV market. Nissan is also in talks to sell its US and UK manufacturing facilities to GSR.

Kitty Hawk the flying car company posting another demo video


The secretive flying car company funded by Google co-founder Larry Page recently provided Business Insider a new demonstration video, which covers some of the early test flights and pilot training processes. Staff are chosen from various backgrounds to test the flying machine,  including sports pioneers, paraglider enthusiasts, and helicopter pilots. Some of the test pilots also accept interviews, revealing their extreme excitement toward the testing experience.

Check out the video below:

The company plans to use its flying gadget to ship Flyers later this year, and probably will invite more sports enthusiasts to try out the flying program.

Yandex showing off its first self-driving car project


Russia search and internet technology giant Yandex debuts its first-ever self-driving vehicle prototype developed by Yandex, the taxi on-demand ride service.

The project is to help Yandex test its software, which has navigation, geolocation, computer vision and machine learning expertise from ongoing products and services, including Yandex Navigator and Yandex Maps.

The company claimed that the software for its prototype vehicle is completely developed in house, according to TechCrunch. However, the car is equipped with Nvidia's GTX GPU, and a Velodyne LiDAR unit, which is "custom-built" to serve Yandex's needs. The company plans to test the vehicle on public roads within a year, and eventually hopes to cooperate with carmakers and suppliers to bring autonomous vehicles to market.

The Boring Company posts more underground transport photos


Elon Musk's Boring Company has released more photos showing an electric skate that can transport passengers at high speed through multiple layers of underground tunnels.

As the picture show, the skates are capable of carrying multiple people, just like a section of an airport skytrain. Meanwhile, a glass cover provides passengers with a clear view of the underground world from all angles.

The Boring Company is already working on its first tunnel running from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks in California. The envisioned speed is 125 mph for the transport pods.

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