Apple To Become $2 Trillion Company With Apple Car Release By 2025

According to a new report, Apple will become a $2 trillion company with the release of the Apple Car by 2025. Here are the details. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

According to a new report, Apple will become a $2 trillion company with the release of the Apple Car by 2025. Here are the details.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

FiveAI to start a trial of its shared autonomous car fleet in London in 2019

After raising $35 million to develop driverless car technology and a strategy to build a fleet of shared vehicles, UK startup FiveAI is announcing its first on-street trial: a service aimed at commuters in the London outer boroughs of Bromley and Croydon. Projected to begin in late 2019, it will kick off first with a […]

After raising $35 million to develop driverless car technology and a strategy to build a fleet of shared vehicles, UK startup FiveAI is announcing its first on-street trial: a service aimed at commuters in the London outer boroughs of Bromley and Croydon. Projected to begin in late 2019, it will kick off first with a 10-month “data gathering” exercise, which will see five FiveAI vehicles, with drivers, collect information about road conditions, the movement of pedestrians and various vehicles, and other variables to help train its AI platform.

The new trial will be the first on-street effort from the UK startup, which has up to now been testing its technology primarily in Bedfordshire, at automotive testing centre Milbrook Proving Ground, according to Ben Peters, FiveAI’s VP of product who is also a co-founder of the company (alongside Stan BolandSteve Allpress, John Redford and Simon Walker).

The news of the London trial comes as TechCrunch has learned that FiveAI is also in the process of raising a new round of funding.

While the $35 million FiveAI has raised to date is considered the highest amount of funding for an autonomous car company in Europe, it is a very modest figure when compared to startups in the US and China. Indeed, although transportation across Europe is estimated to be a $400 billion market, Peters estimates that no more than $100 million has been raised by autonomous driving startups in the region, versus around $8 billion by autonomous car startups the US, home to startups like Zoox and Nutonomy (which, like FiveAI, are building platforms that they plan to use in their own fleets), transportation providers like Uber, and car makers (which themselves are acquiring startup talent to kickstart their efforts), and tech giants like Google that approach cars like the next big hardware challenge.

But there is a clear opportunity: Europe has a lot of urban density, roads that are less likely to follow grid patterns, and road names are very often the opposite of clearly marked. These factors make Europe a hard problem to tackle, but one that a local company might be more amenable to trying.

With that in mind, Peters would not say how much FiveAI is looking to raise, or anything about the investors, but he did confirm that the round would be FiveAI’s largest to date, with the aim of expanding trials to more cities across Europe. The round should be closed by the end of this year.

In the meantime, Bromley and Croydon may not be the most high-profile parts of London to those outside of England, but Peters said that FiveAI is eschewing Central London and opting instead to focus on these two boroughs for a couple of reasons.

One is that the area affords the startup some sympathetic guinea pigs, or as Peters calls them, “friendly users.” First Direct, the insurance company that is an investor in FiveAI, has recently moved its offices to Bromley from Croydon, and so there are employees living in the latter borough who have to commute to the former on a regular basis. This gives FiveAI an opportunity to build a service tailored to that market.

Another is the opportunity to fill a gap that isn’t being addressed by others. The center of London is very congested, but there are already a number of transportation alternatives attempting to address that issue. “There are a lot of problems to solve there, but they are very well served by current providers,” said Peters. “But in Zones 4 to 6 [the outer boroughs of London], about one quarter of people are still driving their own vehicles to and from work.” That presents an opportunity for a shared mobility service.

It will take a good 10 months before the first FiveAI vehicles can offer rides, and likely more months before no driver has to be present to engage the vehicle if something goes awry. Peters said that this slow early work will help the startup add more roads, areas and cities to the service more quickly down the line. “It doesn’t have to be as slow in the future, maybe just a few months to get up and going,” he said. “We’re really targeting an urban service, which is the difficult part. Autonomous driving in urban areas is the hardest challenge, one that is still unsolved.”

Waymo partners with Phoenix to connect people to public transit

Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, is launching program in Phoenix next month that will focus on delivering people to bus stops, train and light rail stations. The program announced Tuesday is in partnership with Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority. The announcement […]

Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, is launching program in Phoenix next month that will focus on delivering people to bus stops, train and light rail stations.

The program announced Tuesday is in partnership with Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority.

The announcement gives clarity to the fourth leg in Waymo’s business strategy. The company’s has publicly shared plans to focus on four areas: create a ride-hailing service, develop self-driving trucks for logistics, and license its technology to automakers for personally-owned vehicles

But it was the fourth piece—connecting people to public transportation—that was nebulous until now.

The program will be initially offered to employees of Valley Metro. These riders will be able to use the Waymo app to hail a ride in one of the company’s autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to take them to the nearest public transportation option.

Waymo will expand the program and provide first-and-last mile travel to Valley Metro RideChoice travelers, which cover groups traditionally underserved by public transit.

Waymo and Valley Metro hope to learn more about how people use public transit and what role self-driving cars can have in connecting people to the buses, trains, and light systems found in cities.

The company said it hopes to open the service to the public in the future.

Phoenix has become a major testing hub for Waymo. The company has been testing its self-driving vehicles there for months and launched an early rider program. In March, Waymo began shuttling a group of early riders in self-driving vehicles without a human test driver behind the wheel.

Last week, the company, announced a series of partnerships with Walmart, AutoNation, Avis and others to give customers access to autonomous vehicles. Under the partnerships, Waymo will pick up customers and drive them to businesses in the Phoenix area.