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Smart Brevity count: 1,172 words, or <5 minutes.
Expert Voices contributor Sudha Jamthe explains how cities can responsibly manage data collected from mobility services.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
General Motors is laying down huge, simultaneous bets on electric cars and self-driving technology, a strategic gamble based on its belief that future automated vehicles will run only on electricity.
Why it matters: It's a risky bet that few can stomach, especially if EVs and AVs are slow to be accepted by consumers. Other carmakers, like Ford, see near-term limitations to battery-electric AVs and favor a more measured approach.
Between the lines: GM believes both technologies are approaching a tipping point and hopes they will propel it to the forefront of a massive industry shift toward shared, self-driving electric cars.
The big picture: Automakers are split on the path to electrification, the Wall Street Journal reports.
What they're saying: The companies' views on self-driving technology are also influencing their strategies toward electrification.
GM says all-electric autonomous cars have an advantage over hybrid- and gasoline-powered ones.
Ford sees practical issues that favor hybrid powertrains for AVs for the time being.
The bottom line: "We all want to transition to BEVs eventually, but we also need to find the right balance that will help develop a profitable, viable business model," said Sherif Marakby, president and CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC.
Automated vehicles, when they are ready, won't magically deploy themselves into robotaxi services.
Why it matters: Most AV developers don't specialize in routing. They're focused on the AI and robotics necessary for vehicles to drive themselves.
What's happening: RideOS, a San Francisco-based startup founded by former Uber engineers, announced today it has developed an open-source platform that any company can use to create its own ride-hailing network.
Among its initial customers is Voyage, the self-driving startup focused on ride-hailing in retirement communities, whose CEO, Oliver Cameron, is glad to tap RideOS' expertise.
What to watch: There's no reason Uber or Lyft couldn't squash a startup like RideOS if they decided to resell their own routing and dispatch software to other companies. It's basic plumbing, after all. So far, there's no sign that they plan to.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
As mobility data is amassed from ride-hailing, dockless bikes and e-scooters, cities need tools to responsibly track, store and analyze it, Sudha Jamthe writes for Axios Expert Voices.
What's needed: It's imperative that cities anonymize data and store it securely — but it's also important for cities to be transparent about what data they're collecting and make it available for analysis by city officials, residents, academics and other stakeholders.
Between the lines: These programs establish best practices around user privacy and transparency, and foster the use of data to ensure equal mobility access to all residents, even when data is initially collected by private companies.
Go deeper: Read the full post.
Jamthe is director of DriverlessWorldSchool and teaches AV business at Stanford Continuing Studies.
Dependable: For Uber and Lyft Drivers, Camrys are the ride of choice (Anne Kadet — Wall Street Journal)
Tesla: What are the regulatory barriers to full self-driving? (Edward Niedermeyer — The Drive)
White hats: Automakers warm up to friendly hackers at cybersecurity conference (Tina Bellon — Reuters)
Waymo van learns how to navigate parking lots. Photo: Waymo
Waymo's self-driving vans are learning to share the human driver's hatred of shopping mall parking lots.
Why it matters: Parking lots are one of the most difficult environments for a self-driving car to master: unruly vehicles, darting pedestrians and the occasional runaway shopping cart contribute to a Wild West atmosphere.
What's happening: Waymo is teaching its automated test vehicles how to navigate this chaotic environment by practicing on 91 acres at the former Castle Air Force base near Merced, California, Popular Science reports.
Engineers can dial up the complexity in a variety of ways:
The bottom line: Just like on roadways, Waymo must map out the parking lot, including details like the orientation of angled parking stalls for cues about the direction of traffic.