May 31st, 2017 News of the Day: Baidu partners with Continental, Musk vows to quit advising Trump

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【Summary】News of the Day for May 31st, 2017.

Original Claire    May 31, 2017 5:05 PM PT
May 31st, 2017 News of the Day: Baidu partners with Continental, Musk vows to quit advising Trump

Baidu Signs Deal with Continental on Self-Driving Tech

Chinese internet giant Baidu has signed a cooperation agreement with German automotive supplier Continental on Wednesday, May 31st to develop autonomous and connected car technologies.

In a statement released on Continental's website, both parties will work together, utilizing each other's competitive advantages in automotive components and internet technology to form an effective technical alliance. The field of partnerships will be in automated driving, connected vehicles, and intelligent mobility services.

The two companies will work on sensor systems and software for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), cyber security, self-driving car testing and data collection, etc.

"Artificial intelligence has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI's biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles. By joining hands with Continental, we are striving to upgrade intelligence in the automobile industry and develop a new ecosystem of intelligent mobility and automated driving," Mr. Qi Lu, Group President and Chief Operating Officer of Baidu, said at the contract-signing event.

Elon Musk vows to quit advising if Trump withdraws from Paris agreement


Elon Musk said on twitter today that he will "have no choice" but to withdraw from the advisory councils he currently serves for President Trump, if the latter decides to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

The agreement was firstly adopted by UN consensus agreement in 2015, setting goals to reduce climate impact from greenhouse gases through international cooperations. Previous media reports hinted that Trump might consider pulling the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, but the president revealed earlier today that he'll release his decision officially over the next few days.

Waze to expand Carpool service in California on June 6


Waze under Google is expanding its carpool ride-sharing service to all of California after successful pilot programs in San Francisco, Sacramento and Monterey. The carpool service will be open to all California residents starting next Tuesday, June 6th.

Although primarily functioning as a mapping and navigation app where users are able to report real-time traffic data to the platform, Waze now offers a carpool service that allows peer-to-peer ride-hailing, letting drivers offer rides to people who happen to be on the same direction.

Instead of rivaling with Uber and Lyft, rides for individual riders are limited to two per day, and the mileage rate is no more than $0.54, as the service is mainly intended to help people share gas costs with other riders.

BMW granted license to export from China


German luxury carmaker BMW has been granted a license by Chinese regulators to export vehicles made by its local joint venture, BMW Brilliance, opening the door for China-built BMW cars to be sold to U.S. and European customers.

Previously, China had a poor reputation for safety and reliability issues in the western automobile market. Now BMW deems that the quality of made-in-China vehicles has reached the same standards as those in Germany or the U.S.

"We have an export license for the JV but so far we haven't decided on exports since we need the production for the local market," said Olaf Kastner, head of BMW in China.

Last year, BMW built over 300,000 vehicles at its two Chinese plants on the outskirts of Shenyang province near the North Korean border.

Uber burns $1 million a week for UberPool


Leaked internal document to Buzzfeed shows that Uber spent a large sum of money in order to support UberPool's growth, which was over $1 million a week in San Francisco alone.

Reports show that since the service started in August, 2014, the feature wasn't really working, and only 7.9% of ride initiators matched with an additional rider. Uber then deeply subsidized the cost of shared rides to ignite more interest, which totalled up to $6 million per month for the San Francisco area by June 2015.

In May 2016, Uber's then strategy head David Plouffe told TechCrunch that Pool accounted for 20% of its rides globally. The company claims that riders in San Francisco choose UberPool "up to 50% of the time," though did not comment on if it was currently subsidizing the feature. However, a former employee told BuzzFeed that executives at Uber's headquarters told them not to burn the amount of money like they previously did, "they just couldn't give out subsidies that high anymore."

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