Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Cruise

Cruise this week touted its first fully driverless vehicle tests in San Francisco, two days after Uber sold its autonomous vehicle unit to a rival.

Why it matters: Neither development was quite what it seemed, however, reminding us that self-driving cars are still a long way from commercialization.

Driving the news: Cruise, the self-driving tech firm backed by General Motors and Honda, shared video of its first tests with no one behind the wheel.

  • "What we’re witnessing here is the move of real self-driving out of the R&D lab and on to the path to being a commercial product that everyone can use," Cruise CEO Dan Ammann told reporters.

Reality check: The featured test occurred at night, in a quiet residential neighborhood, with no other cars on the road except those parked along the side of the street.

  • An operator in the passenger seat held a "kill switch" but had no access to the traditional driver controls, a Cruise spokesperson tells Axios.
  • Ammann said the driverless testing would start small, and expand to more cars, in more neighborhoods, in 2021.

Earlier in the week, Uber said it was handing its self-driving project to Aurora and would invest $400 million in the Silicon Valley startup.

  • After sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into the AV unit — which had been plagued with safety and legal problems from the start — Uber is essentially paying Aurora to take over the project, the New York Times observed.
  • By partnering with Aurora, and taking a stake in the company, Uber is keeping some chips on the table for a future robotaxi service, however.
  • Aurora's current focus is on self-driving trucks, but it likely sees potential business with Toyota, which had backed Uber's AV project.

What to watch: Two other AV companies, Zoox and Canoo, are going to reveal new self-driving vehicles next week.

Go deeper

Ex-Uber autonomous driving exec gets pardon from Trump

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In the last hours of his presidency, President Trump granted a full pardon to Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of a 2017 lawsuit between Google's self-driving car unit and Uber over alleged theft of trade secrets.

Why it matters: The case made headlines as a bitter legal battle between two of Silicon Valley's best-known companies in the race to build self-driving cars.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
22 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.