Good morning! Thanks for reading. Please share this newsletter and tell your friends they can subscribe here. If you have tips or feedback, just reply to this email.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
In a surprise to no one, Cruise today acknowledged it will not meet a 2019 target to deploy driverless cars in an urban robotaxi service.
The big picture: The news is likely a bit embarrassing for General Motors, Cruise's majority owner, whose ambitious timetable helped fuel some of the hype around self-driving cars in recent years. But it also shows GM is sticking to CEO Mary Barra's vow not to deploy automated vehicles before it can prove they're safer than a human driver.
Between the lines: The timing of the announcement, in a blog post by Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, comes the same day that Tesla reports second-quarter financial results and will likely provide an update on its own ambitious plan to have a million "full self-driving" cars on the road by next year.
While not criticizing Tesla or any other Silicon Valley rivals by name, Ammann is trying to distance his company from those others.
Where it stands: Cruise has hired more than 1,000 engineers, raised $7.25 billion in capital, and integrated its hardware and software development with GM.
What's next: In pushing back Cruise's timeline, Amman laid out the company's near-term plans in pursuit of deploying AVs safely at a "massive scale," including more than doubling the rate of testing and validation miles logged through the remainder of the year.
The bottom line: Rushing to deploy technology that is not ready for the real world risks alienating the public in the long run. The industry has time to get it right: 71% of people are still afraid to ride in fully self-driving vehicles.
Illustration: Caresse Haaser/Axios
Electric scooters have already landed dozens of riders in the hospital in less than 2 years since they appeared on city streets — but it's not clear they are more dangerous than other modes of transportation like bicycles, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva writes.
While their characteristics differ, scooters and bikes share the same huge challenge — operating in an environment that's not built for them.
Scooters are inherently different from bikes, making them more prone to accidents in some ways.
Yes, but: Both scooters and bikes currently have to contend with roads that were designed only for cars. The growing popularity of scooters could force city planners to make room for them.
If people really do swap scooter trips for some of their car rides, there will be fewer cars on the road. That may have positive effects on overall road safety for scooter users.
Be smart: There’s still so little data about scooters (compared to the decades of bicycle use), that it’s tough to say quite yet how companies, cities and people should tackle safety issues.
Go deeper: Read the full post
Driverless parking using a smartphone app. Photo: Daimler
Daimler and Bosch have received approval from German regulators to operate an automated parking service without a safety driver behind the wheel.
Why it matters: It is the world’s first fully automated driverless parking feature approved for public use and represents an important building block for self-driving cars of the future.
How it works: Limited for now to a single parking garage at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, it is the product of 4 years of work by the two German giants.
What's next: Daimler and Bosch are working to bring fully autonomous vehicles to urban roads “by the start of the next decade.” Last year, the companies announced plans to pilot a robotaxi service in San Jose, California, starting later this year.
Summer read: Was the automotive era a terrible mistake? (Nathan Heller, New Yorker)
Do-over: City planners eye self-driving vehicles to correct mistakes of the 20th-century auto (Katherine Shaver, Washington Post)
Data dump: Lyft releases open source data set for autonomous vehicle development (Kyle Wiggers, Venture Beat)
Ford is circulating video of its prototype electric F-150 truck pulling rail cars weighing a combined 1 million pounds (and more when they added 42 gasoline-powered F-15os to the load).
Quick take: It's a not-so-subtle attempt to show that the company's push into EVs won't come at the expense of performance of the F-150, the country's top-selling pickup, Axios' Ben Geman writes.
The intrigue: Per CNBC, it's also an effort to "defend its highly profitable pickup franchise from emerging all-electric truck competitors such as Tesla." GM is also working on electric pickups.
One big question: It's not clear when the truck will go on sale. A spokeswoman said "in the next few years."
Go deeper: Ford teases all-electric F-150 pickup truck by pulling a million-pound train (The Verge)