June 21st, 2017 News of the Day: Volvo's Polestar to make its own EV, Snapchat buys map app Zenly

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【Summary】News of the Day for June 21st, 2017.

Original Claire    Jun 21, 2017 5:43 PM PT
June 21st, 2017 News of the Day: Volvo's Polestar to make its own EV, Snapchat buys map app Zenly

Volvo's Polestar now focuses on EV production

Polestar, which was acquired by Volvo in 2015, will be spun off as a separate company within the Volvo group, to focus on performance electric vehicles. The new Polestar will have its branding distinct from Volvo's, and build its own "world beating" EVs.

"Volvo Cars acquired 100% of Polestar Performance in July 2015, having worked together in motorsport since 1996. In the future, Polestar will offer Polestar branded cars that will no longer carry a Volvo logo, as well as optimisation packages for Volvo's range of cars under the Polestar Engineered brand." Volvo said in a company statement.

Meanwhile, Volvo is planning to release its first battery-electric car in 2019, according to Automotive News. The range is expected to be around 250 miles, and priced between $35,000 and $40,000.

London Mayor wants zero-emissions transport system by 2050


In a draft titled "Transport Strategy,", London Mayor Sadiq Khan recently raised up the plan of making London more environmentally friendly. Khan suggests making London's entire transport system zero emission by 2050, with periodical plans of making all taxis and private hire vehicles green by 2033, all buses by 2037, and all remaining road vehicles by 2040.

"Transport emissions can blight the streets, harming human health and contributing to climate change now and in the future...Air quality and climate change are such pressing issues with such dire consequences that London should provide international leadership," he says.

These measures would help the mayor to establish a "zero emission zone" in central London by 2025, before a larger "inner London" territory by 2040, and a city-wide zone by 2050."

Snapchat acquires social map app Zenly for $250M to $350M


According to TechCrunch, social app giant Snapchat has recently purchased mapping startup Zenly between $250M to $350M in mostly cash and stock plans. The Paris-based startup designed an app which lets users find where their friends currently are on a map using constant GPS in the background. Users can then message friends in the app for meet-ups.

After launching the app, Zenly hit 2 million downloads last year, and is getting popular among young people who want to hang out with friends at concerts, school or other events.

After buying Zenly, Snapchat has released a new location-sharing feature this morning called "Snap Map".

Currently the startup had raised $35.1 million, including $22.5 million of Series B funding in September 2016 by well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm Benchmark, who was the major financial backer behind Uber.

University of Michigan to deploy first driverless shuttle on campus


The University of Michigan will deploy two fully autonomous, 15-passenger electric shuttle buses to take students back and forth on the school's North campus beginning this fall.

"No driver, no problem! The @navyatch arma can take you where you need to go!" The university posted on Twitter with a demonstration video.


Manufactured by French-based automaker NAVYA, the level-5 autonomous buses are equipped state of the art multi-sensor tech, including LiDAR sensors and odometers. Currently, the buses are limited to speeds of 28 mph and cover one route every 10 minutes. The e-bus will run on University of Michigan roads during business hours for passengers free of charge. In the future, the services might be extended to longer hours with more routes being covered.

Head of Autopilot of Tesla leaves after just six months


Former Apple executive and Tesla's VP of Autopilot Software Chris Lattner left the EV company yesterday, after only six months of work with the automaker. This is the third time a key member of Tesla's self-driving team leaves the company in the last six months.

Before leaving for Tesla, Lattner worked in Apple for 11 years. Regarding the short stay in the EV company, Lattner said Tesla simply wasn't a "good fit" for him after all, and he is looking for other opportunities.

The ex-Apple engineer came to Tesla to replace former Director of Autopilot Software Sterling Anderson, who was later sued and accused of stealing confidential information from Tesla. Before Lattner's departure, David Nister, another key executive in Tesla's Autopilot team left in April.

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