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June 16th, 2017 News of the Day: Takata to File Bankruptcy, Mobike Raises $600M to Expand Worldwide

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【Summary】News of the Day for June 16th, 2017.

Original Claire    Jun 16, 2017 4:17 PM PT
June 16th, 2017 News of the Day: Takata to File Bankruptcy, Mobike Raises $600M to Expand Worldwide

Takata may file for bankruptcy as soon as next week

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Takata, the Japanese airbag supplier with an 84 year history, now plans to file for bankruptcy amid the trouble of being responsible for the largest safety recall in history, according to Bloomberg. The filing of bankruptcy could come as soon as next week.

An insider revealed to the media that Takata is expected to seek protection in its home country first, with its U.S. subsidiary filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly thereafter.

Earlier in February, the company pled guilty to fraud over defective airbags, which could deploy explosively and were linked to at least 17 deaths worldwide. The company has struggled to replace over 100 million defective airbags all over the world, and accepted a settlement that could cost them $1 billion.

Now the company facing bankruptcy could possibly be sold to American airbag maker Key Safety Systems, who a Takata steering committee recommended as their preferred bidder.

China's Mobike raises $600M to expand its bike-sharing service worldwide

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Mobike, one of China's leading bike-sharing startups, has recently landed $600 million in new funding to expand its service outside of China.

"We will accelerate the pace of global expansion and our new target is to be in 200 cities by the end of this year," Davis Wang, CEO and Co-founder of Mobike, said in a statement.

Wang added that the fresh funding will also be spent on R&D and optimizing the use of artificial intelligence and other technologies to improve the user experience.

Mobike now operates more than 5 million bicycles, with 100 million registered users taking 25 million trips per day at peak times. Although predominantly operating in China, the company now has expanded to Singapore, will launch in Manchester, UK soon.

Swedish startup Wheelys building a driverless bus to sell groceries

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Swedish bicycle cafe startup Wheelys and Hebei University in China have partnered together to work on an autonomous bus that can sell groceries. The beta version of the product premiered in Shanghai last Tuesday, with the concept of a 24/7 grocery store on wheels that is supposedly able to drive itself. The bus called Moby Mart, uses AI scanners to check out customers instead of cashiers and has a built-in hologram to greet people at the door.

Although the bus on exhibition is a beta product that can neither drive autonomously or sell commodities, the researchers have high hopes for what it can do once realized. The autonomous market not only can sell produce and pastries, but also in-house pharmacy for people in needs. The Moby Mart would use a cloud-based system to drive itself back to the warehouse for restocking.

VW told by California to build EV charging stations in poor areas

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California regulators have set more restrictive rules on Volkswagen, requiring the automaker to spend a portion of clean air infrastructure funds in poor areas, passing a bill as part of a budget package agreed with Governor Jerry Brown.

The German carmaker previously agreed to spend $800 million in California on projects such as EV charging stations to make up for the diesel emission scandal. VW's Electrify America unit proposed spending $120 million on more than 400 highways and EV charging stations by 2019, often in high-traffic areas where competitors also want to build commercial stations. Critics suggest that the automaker ignored other poorer communities where the state wants to promote clean cars.

The Air Resource Board of California last month told VW to invest 35 percent of the first 30-month investment cycle in low-income and disadvantaged communities, which are disproportionately affected by air pollution.

Governor Jerry Brown has not yet signed the bill. However, he mentioned he will support the budget package.

Helsinki to kick off autonomous buses soon

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The city of Helsinki, Finland has announced plans to start a regular and scheduled public transit service with self-driving buses.

Named the "RoboBusLine", the service will kick off this fall. In a previously implemented test-run, two autonomous EasyMile EZ10 electric minibuses are utilized to carry passengers at a leisurely speed of 7 mph on a straight quarter-mile test road in Helsinki's city district. Although autonomous, there's an operator behind the wheel to takeover control in case of emergencies. The test runs have since moved on to other cities but will soon return to Helsinki.

The city government says the move "represents a shift from an experimental phase" to one that will be mainstream. The details on the route and schedule will roll out later this year.


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