Stories by Sudha Jamthe

Expert Voices

New EV batteries could benefit the electric grid and AV owners

Animated GIF of electric car as a lightening bolt
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Automakers and utility companies are collaborating to develop bi-directional battery capability in electric vehicles, which enables EVs to receive and return power to the grid.

The big picture: Many AVs will likely be electric, and if they can operate as off-grid batteries, they could let owners make better use of the energy they buy from utilities and even be used as backup energy sources in blackouts.

Expert Voices

AV rollouts advancing, but their signals remain a work in progress

a Waymo SUV on the road
Waymo self-driving vehicles in Mountain View, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Waymo recently became the first AV company cleared to test vehicles without human safety drivers in California — which has far more congestion than Arizona, the only other state that has granted permits to driverless vehicles.

Why it matters: As AVs make it onto the road, they will interact with human drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other driverless cars, but there is no industry standard for how they should signal their driving intentions — or even an agreement that they'll have to. This problem has become all the more urgent as test deployments of truly driverless cars move forward.

Expert Voices

Competing business models emerge as more AVs hit city streets

Waymo self-driving SUV
A Waymo self-driving vehicle in Mountain View, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As autonomous vehicle companies conduct more tests of robotaxis and autonomous shuttles, they are also experimenting with what business models will best support them. Waymo is testing trips funded by third-party businesses, Via and EasyMile are looking to city buses, and Lyft is piloting an autonomous ride option.

The big picture: Autonomous vehicles can become an on-the-road reality only when they become a business with paying customers. Finding these customers is one of the key questions raised by this potentially transformative technology.

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