Jan 31, 2017

Uber strikes self-driving deal with Daimler

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Uber and German automaker Daimler today announced an agreement whereby Daimler will begin producing self-driving Mercedes-Benz vehicles that will operate on Uber's global ride-sharing network.

Why it matters: This is the first time that Uber has contracted with an auto OEM to put a fleet on its rider network ― self-driving or otherwise ― and it sounds unlikely to be the last (this is a non-exclusive agreement on both sides). It also reflects a bit of strategy shift, or at least strategy broadening, from an existing program to outfit cars with Uber's self-driving "kit."Expect to see a mix going forward.

Is it unique? No. Lyft and General Motors (a major Lyft shareholder) struck a similar agreement last year.

Open questions: No word on the financial terms, nor if the agreement involves any sort of equity. We also don't know the timing of roll-out nor where initial markets will be.

Quotable: "Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars—and in fact, making cars is really hard. This became very clear to me after I visited an auto manufacturing plant and saw how much effort goes into designing, testing and building cars." ― Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Go deeper

Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Go deeperArrow30 mins ago - Science

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health