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June 14th, 2017 News of the Day: Munich Might Ban Diesel, Toyota May Seek Acquisitions

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【Summary】News of the Day for June 14th, 2017.

Original Claire    Jun 14, 2017 4:33 PM PT
June 14th, 2017 News of the Day: Munich Might Ban Diesel, Toyota May Seek Acquisitions

Automakers admit driverless cars may take four decades to realize

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An industry panelist at a Senate hearing Wednesday said that it's going to take decades for autonomous car revolution to be completely realized.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers pointed out that the retail sales of fully-automated vehicles won't possibly begin until 2025 at the earliest. The association represent major automakers that produce 80% of cars in the U.S.

"Level 4 self-driving vehicles will probably begin around 2021. But retail sales to consumers of so-called Level 5 vehicles that can operate anywhere a person can drive a conventional vehicle today is unlikely to happen until around 2025 or after...Ubiquity is not projected to occur for at least four decades largely due to the fact that over 260 million light duty vehicles are registered in the U.S." He said in his written testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Home of BMW may ban diesel to tackle pollution

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Munich, the hometown of German luxury automaker BMW is considering a complete ban on diesel vehicles due to the serious nitrogen oxide emission results in the city, the Mayor of Munich told media on Wednesday.

"As much as I would welcome avoiding such bans, I think it is just as unlikely that we can continue to do it without bans in the future," Dieter Reiter, Munich Mayor said while interviewed by Süddeutsche Zeitung.

According to the media, around 133,000 to 170,000 vehicles could be affected by the restriction. However, cars meeting the latest Euro 6 emission rules would be exempt.

Toyota may enhance its self-driving technology through acquisitions

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Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at an annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday that the company may consider mergers or acquisitions to procure new automotive technologies, including self-driving car technology, to compete with its rivals.

"The auto industry is undergoing big changes, and issues and ideas which we may have thought were far off in the future could affect us tomorrow. That's why we need to go on the offensive while also preserving our areas of strength," he said.

He mentioned that the company has invested $9.08 billion each year for research and development, which might not be enough. All options, "including M&A" (mergers and acquisitions), should be considered to "survive in the future."

The Japanese auto giant has invested $1 billion an AI research institute, and has built up partnerships with Microsoft, Uber and Nvidia.

Trucker Path collects $30 million to lend to truckers on its platform

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Three-year-old Mountain View startup Trucker Path has accumulated debt funding of $30 million to start lending the money to truckers on its platform. The company builds an app that helps connect drivers, brokers, shippers and carriers, and even loans some truckers money right after they finish their delivery.

The strategy means truckers don't need to wait 30 to 60 days to get paid by the vendors. Meanwhile, the loans provide a new profit opportunity as the company can charge its customers slightly more in interest than it's paying its debt provider Flexible Funding, a 25-year-old lending institution in San Francisco.

Currently there are 55,000 long-haul truckers using Trucker Path's app, which began as a navigational tool for drivers to share parking space information, as truckers doing long-distance freight delivery always find it difficult to park at a safe place for them to rest. The CEO of Trucker Path Ivan Tsybaev claims that by using the app drivers can save 11 hours or $600 per month.

LISNR and PILOT join Jaguar Land Rover incubator

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Two startups have joined Jaguar Land Rover's Portland Tech Incubator: LISNR and PILOT Automotive Labs.

LISNR uses ultrasonic audio to transmit data. Any two devices, be it smartphone or a car, can send and receive messages once they are in the range of each other. The company was part of the inaugural AutoMobili-D startup expo at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.

PILOT uses a sensor plugin that is installed on a car's roof to take in data. The data could then help the driver improve his driving skills, or can be connected to the car's steering and braking systems, allowing the vehicle to take over some simple driving tasks. It can also connect to the cloud to inform about traffic conditions and share its data.

Previous programs at Jaguar Land Rover's incubator ranged from parking apps to drones. The newly-joined two startups will continue to focus on automotive technology.

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