• Andrew Chilcott

LYFT launches robotaxis in Phoenix

Carzaam Automotive News Episode 2: Nio - Weller - Lyft - Waymo - DriveAI

NIO recalls nearly 5,000 vehicles

Hello everyone and welcome to the news, we start today with Chinese automotive startup Nio which is recalling nearly 5,000 of its ES8 high-performance electric SUVs after a series of fires caused by a short circuit in their battery packs.

The recall affects more than 4,800 models that are equipped with NEV-P50 batteries.

The company said it will be replacing the battery packs, a process that could take up to two months.


Willer to launch MAAS subscription in Japan

In other news, Japanese company Willer will let passengers ride taxis, buses and trains for a flat monthly payment of around $50 from next year.

The Osaka-based bus operator will offer riders the ability to hop on and hop off on any services from participating providers by scanning a QR code.

The company is also planning to introduce a ride sharing app that uses artificial intelligence to plot the most efficient route and transport type.

Finland's MaaS Global is held up as an early leader in the subscription transport model and Willer is the latest entry in a market which is gaining popularity around the world as companies aim to ease traffic related pollution and congestion.


LYFT launches robotaxis in Phoenix

Some Phoenix area LYFT users are now able to take an autonomous vehicle ride, powered by Waymo.

The Google subsidiary Waymo has provided 10 self-driving minivans to Lyft for use in specific areas of Phoenix. The Waymo vans are still manned by a safety driver, who will step if the self-driving technology were to malfunction.

The autonomous vehicle future doesn’t look too far off at this point, and Lyft seems poised to play a significant role.


Apple acquires Drive.AI

Apple has set its sights on the autonomous vehicle market with an acqui-hire of the team at Drive.AI

Drive.ai was launched in 2015 by a group of Stanford students and while no valuation has been mentioned, the company was once valued at $200 million before running into funding difficulties.

Drive provides bus-like autonomous vehicles to shuttle passengers between selected destinations on demand and rumors have suggested that as part of its self-driving car efforts, Apple is working on a self-driving campus shuttle service to drive employees between the company's various Bay Area offices.

Apple's acquisition confirms that work on the Apple Car project (called Project Titan) is still underway despite laying off 190 employees in its self-driving car division in February. It is reported that Apple maintains around 5,000 employees working on its secretive database of automotive technologies.

The company maintains that building an autonomous vehicle is “the most ambitious machine learning project ever” and even if Apple never produces a single self-driving car, the company believes that the project is worth the effort because of the scale of the machine learning challenge.


Read more about the Coolest Automotive tech, trends and takeaways from CES2020 and 7 BIG Reasons Why You Should Buy a Used Car Instead of a New One...

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