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GM still plans to launch self-driving cars next year

GM autonomous
Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, speaks during a press conference about the company's autonomous vehicle program. Photo by Rachel Woolf / Getty Images

General Motors said it will not delay its plans to field a fleet of self-driving cars next year in the wake of yesterday's fatal accident involving an autonomously-driven Uber vehicle.

"Protecting the safety of the people in the communities in which we live and work, as well as our employees, is at the heart of who we are as a company. Our plans to commercially launch in dense urban environments in 2019 remain unchanged but, as we’ve said from the start, we will not launch until we are satisfied that it is safe to do so.”
— GM spokesperson

The state of play: This follows news that Uber and Toyota have halted testing of their autonomous vehicle programs after yesterday's accident.

Erica Pandey 17 hours ago
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Bay Area lags on quake safety measures

An aerial view of downtown San Francisco. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The newfound wealth from San Francisco's tech boom isn't translating to more sophisticated earthquake safety measures, reports the LA Times.

Why it matters: Earthquakes pose the greatest natural threat to northern California's economy and infrastructure, but the Bay Area's cities — once national leaders in safety — are now falling behind their neighbors in southern California.

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No art museum, no Amazon HQ2

Kids at art museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has exhibits that help explain art to kids. Photo: Dayna Smith/for the Washington Post

As Amazon hones in on where they will build their second headquarters, the Washington Post is reporting that of the "238 cities and counties that applied for consideration, plenty have the population (over a million)... But if they don’t also have an exceptional art museum — and preferably more than one — those cities didn’t make the cut."

The details: Sebastian Smee of the Post points out that museums come into play in the decision considering that "[p]eople qualified to expect high salaries tend to have the leisure time and surplus cash to pursue cultural aspirations... That’s why, in the competition to secure the best and brightest, Amazon and other big companies care deeply about cultural offerings in the places they’re located." Washington, D.C. and Boston are likely to top Amazon's list.