Uber self-driving car could be grounded by Google

Uber self-driving car could be grounded by Google

Uber’s self-driving pilot program may be halted in May due to a court order. According to a Reuters report, the Judge in the Waymo Uber court case warned the car-hailing company that should his director plead the 5th Amendment, and not testify for fear of incriminating himself; he might just grant the injunction sought by Google’s self-driving company, Waymo.

The case against Uber was brought before the San Francisco District Court in February. Waymo claims that its former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded 14,000 files related the Google autonomous vehicle program before leaving to join Otto, an autonomous vehicle company acquired by Uber in 2016. Otto, using Level 4 autonomy equipped semi, successfully delivered a load of 50,000 beers on a 2-hour journey to Colorado Springs in October 2016.

Judge William Alsup warned Uber’s legal team in a closed hearing this week that unless Uber can prove they have not used any of Waymo’s technology associated with the files, that he would like to hear Mr. Anthony Levandowski version. The Judge went further, saying “I’m sorry that Mr. Levandowski has got his — got himself in a fix. That’s what happens, I guess, when you download 14,000 documents and take them, if he did. But I don’t hear anybody denying that.”

Uber has yet not responded to Waymo’s claims and is trying to push for arbitration, where Mr. Levandowski can testify in a closed hearing without fear of being criminally charged.

Uber last week temporarily grounded its autonomous vehicle pilot project after a collision caused by another vehicle. The company lifted the grounding on Tuesday. The hearing, set for May 3, could lead to a longer injunction of Uber’s self-driving program, wich would not add to alleviate the company’s tarnished public image. Should Uber be handed an injunction, it does not stop them from testing in other countries.

In other Uber electric vehicle-related news, the ride-haling company had to withdraw from Denmark after the introduction of a new law making it difficult for the company to operate its business model. And in the UK the company announced that it would expand it’s existing electric vehicle fleet from 20 Nissan Leaf and 30 BYD e6‘s to 150 cars in the City of London. The company will adapt its app and install fast chargers to assist the drivers of the EV’s.

 

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Waymo and Chrysler unveil self-driving car, the Pacifica Minivan, now Honda wants in.

Waymo and Chrysler unveil self-driving car, the Pacifica Minivan, now Honda wants in.

In May 2016 we reported on the Google (now Waymo) partnership to test self-driving car technology with 100 Chrysler Pacifica Minivans. The partnership completed the first vehicles within an impressive six-month period and revealed the vehicle this week. Waymo will start testing the vehicle on public roads within four cities coming 2017.

Following on the success of the Waymo (Google), Chrysler partnership automakers are flocking to the technology company to try and strike deals on self-driving technology. The latest company to announce that they are in talks with the IT giant is Honda. Honda announced that it approached Waymo to allow its vehicles to join testing in four US cities with Waymo’s self-driving technology. Honda targets commercial self-driving models by 2020. Other automaker’s that tried and failed to partner with Waymo includes Ford and GM.

For a list of other companies that are allowed to test the self-driving technology on Californian roads follow the link. The CEO of Waymo has also been invited as a member of the US Department of Transport Automation Committee. For a full list of all the members follow the link.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 5 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 5 2017

ONE

Daimler and Uber announced a cooperation agreement where Daimler will introduce and operate self-driving cars on the Uber network. Uber abandoned efforts to build its own vehicle early on, rather focusing on partnering and acquiring technologies to achieve its goal of a self-driving fleet for its network. Uber acquired autonomous trucking company Otto in 2016 and made a successful delivery of a consignment of beer before being blocked by the California DMV.

TWO

Public opinion and consumer boycotts are driving the composition of President Donald Trumps advisory council with Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick this week resigning his seat on the council amid call to delete the Uber app. Some shortsighted Tesla owners are now also asking their deposits back for the Model 3 due to Elon Musk’s position on the council. Elon, this week in a tweet, explained that his position should not be seen as a support for Trumps policy’s but rather as an opportunity to influence the causes that Mr. Musk believes in, such as electric vehicles and his Mars project.

THREE

To support the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s efforts to combat air pollution in the city the London Metropolitan Police Service, also know as Scotland Yard launched a new green fleet of over 250 new energy vehicles by the end of the year. Tesla and other automakers have been approached to trail their new energy vehicles for front line operations as part of the first phase, which would eventually see the overhaul of Scotland Yards fleet of 4000 vehicles.  

FOUR

 Faraday Future’s future remains a contradiction in terms as the company struggles to remain afloat. This week the company tried to allay fears about the future of its North Las Vegas plant. The company announced that construction would go ahead albeit on a much smaller scale in a phased approach. The new phased construction is in line with the company’s reduced model lineup down from 7 models to 2. The smaller lineup now only consist of the FF91 unveiled in January at the CES in Las Vegas and a crossover targeted at the Tesla Model X. It remains to be seen if the company can achieve its new goals amongst the challenges created by its financial position, including holding on to the necessary skills as the start-up keep on losing key executives.

FIVE

The California Department of Motor Vehicles released it’s 2016 Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement report this week. We reported earlier that a total of 20 companies were authorized to test the autonomous technology on the State’s public roads by the end of 2016. The Disengagement report reflects the number of events where a driver essentially has to take over from the vehicle’s autonomous mode to either prevent a traffic incident or where it fails. Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle program moved from Google to a stand-alone company Waymo, revealed its 2016 scoring in a blog post by it’s Head of self-driving technology. Waymo showed a marked improvement from its 2015 safety related disengages of 0.8 (341) disengages per 1000 miles to 0.2 (124) in 2016.