Issue #8 • June 24, 2022
Happy Friday! This week in mobility... let’s talk about autonomous trucks, the latest in the space, and more.
Need to Know
The day we see commercialized, driverless semi-trucks on open roads may be closer than you think... Benefiting from technology and good economics, autonomous trucks seem to be racing past robotaxis on the path to market. By way of a favorable regulatory environment in places like Texas, which has pushed the state to the forefront of this industry, we could see commercial self-driving trucks on the road as soon as 2023. Given all the excitement in this space, let’s look at everything this week driving it forward…
On the topic of Texas, Embark Trucks announced a partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety to establish how autonomous trucks will interact with police and emergency vehicles. Einride, an autonomous EV freight company, received approval from NHTSA to operate its Autonomous Electric Transport trucks on public roads in the US. Arrival, a commercial EV startup, received EU certification and European Whole Vehicle Type Approval for its Arrival Van. Brightdrop delivered its first 150 Zevo 600 electric vans to FedEx in Southern California. And Volvo Trucks showcased their hydrogen-powered fuel cell truck.
In Other News
🏛️ Regulatory. In the United States, President Biden called on Congress and states to suspend gas taxes for the next 90 days and for the oil industry to increase refinery capacity to address rising fuel prices. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania made moves to allow autonomous vehicles without a human on public roads. In Europe, the UK faced its largest rail strike in 30 years, with the government looking at contentious means to get around the disruption. Germany’s finance minister shared that the country will not support the European Union’s plans for a 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. Norway, one of the leaders in EV adoption, may phase out some of the advantages conferred on EV drivers as it seeks to encourage public transportation. And Finland announced the establishment of a national hydrogen network to support an accompanying marketplace. Elsewhere, Shanghai announced it would subsidize EV purchases within its borders with 10,000 yuan (~$1,500) per unit for the rest of 2022. And the United Nations extended the speed limit for L3 automated driving to 130 km/h in certain conditions.
🚘 Cars. Ferrari announced plans to produce its first SUV later this year and launch its first EV in 2025. Vueron, a LiDAR autonomous vehicle startup, received a permit from the California DMV to test its LIDAR-only vehicles on public roads. Foxconn plans to enter the EV business, revealing three EV concepts. Ola Electric, an Indian EV startup, is moving into four-wheeled vehicles. Toyota initiated a recall of its all-electric bZ4X SUV because its wheels may fall off. And after several revisions, Elon Musk says that the Tesla Cybertruck design is “finally locked,” with production slated to begin in mid-2023.
⚡ Mobility Ecosystem. Stellantis is researching inductive charging technology, already achieving efficiency levels similar to DC fast chargers at its test track. CharIn, the standards-oriented trade group, formalized the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) standard for heavy-duty electric trucks and buses. General Motors is equipping its models with ‘Plug and Charge’ capability to streamline EV charging. And Waymap’s app is helping the visually impaired navigate public transit.
Autonomous Tech. Applied EV and Oxbotica are deploying the first fully autonomous and cabinless commercial vehicle for everything from last-mile delivery to logistics. In addition, MIT scientists unveiled the first open-source simulation engine for testing autonomous vehicles.
📍Go to Market. Cruise started charging fares for driverless rides in San Francisco. Uber brought carpooling back to NYC, LA, Chicago, and six other cities. Zoox, Amazon’s robotaxi company, shared that it completed a “critical checkpoint” in the testing and rollout of its vehicle. And Aurrigo ran trials in rural England of its Auto-Pod autonomous vehicle.
💼 Business. Electric Last Mile Solutions, an electric delivery van maker that went public last year via SPAC, filed for bankruptcy. And Honda is looking past the mega dealership era with a new purchase experience for its future EVs.
🤝 Partnerships. Enel X and Arrival entered a partnership to test Arrival’s zero-emission battery electric bus in Italy. ZeroAvia and Otto Aviation are working to develop a hydrogen-electric powertrain for Otto’s Celera aircraft. Dolby and Dirac are collaborating to demo more immersive in-car audio technology, coming first to the Nio ET7. DeepRoute.ai, an Alibaba-backed self-driving startup, is making deliveries for courier Deppon in Shenzhen. Mercedes-Benz is working with ZYNC to build a premium entertainment experience for their vehicles. Hyundai and Michelin are partnering to develop environmentally friendly EV tires. Valeo, Atul, and Honda are working together to accelerate three-wheelers electrification in India. SoftBank and May Mobility are working to bring an autonomous driving service to Japan using SoftBank’s 5G network. And Nissan is working with Wallbox to offer a seamless home charging solution for Nissan EV owners.
✨ Investments. Brightdrop acquired Marain for its AI-driven software to better support fleet customers in electrification. KORE Power, a lithium-ion battery manufacturer, acquired a 4.22% stake in ZEVx, a startup offering affordable EV fleet conversion kits. Helbiz announced its acquisition of Wheels, a last-mile shared electric mobility platform. Teleo, a startup retrofitting heavy equipment with autonomous technology, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Synop, an EV fleet management startup, secured a $10 million seed round. Omio, a German travel booking platform, raised $80 million as travel demand rebounds. Finally, Wingcopter, a German drone delivery company, raised $42 million as part of its Series A extension to expand its service beyond medical deliveries.
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