Mark Fields just purchased 100,000 Teslas for Hertz’s rental car fleet. The deal is being hailed as biggest rental car purchase ever.

Mark Fields was CEO of Ford Motor Company during my time as an engineer there. …

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently hosted teams of university students who programmed cars to drive the track autonomously, in an event called the Indy Autonomous Challenge. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), in Germany, took first place.

This is such a neat endeavor, and the team that…

NVIDIA has been plugging away at self-driving for years now, and by all accounts making a lot of progress. They are arguably the world’s leading artificial intelligence company, due to the importance of its GPU products for deep learning.

Their self-driving business model isn’t totally clear — whether they will…

Motional has a neat blog post that describes several subtle features they’re incorporating to improve the passenger experience.

One theme I notice is trying to communicate features to users both in the mobile app and also on the vehicle. Different passengers will presumably respond better to cues in different places.

Aurora recently announced two programs — Horizon and Connect — to allow partners to rent driver systems for trucks and automobiles, respectively.

The announcement is pretty high-level and thin on details. There’s not a lot of context on how, exactly, the driver gets to the customer. Does the driver come with an Aurora vehicle, or can an Aurora driver be installed in a customer-owned vehicle?

But it’s a small step toward the dream of autonomy-as-a-service. The goal is something like Amazon Web Services, whereby any person or business with a credit card can rent a small vehicle, and then a small collection of vehicles, and then progressively larger vehicles that scale up and down, on-demand.


Originally published at on October 14, 2021.

Luminar’s $5 billion market capitalization is by far the largest of the half-dozen lidar start-ups competing for business among both automotive manufacturers and autonomous vehicle technology companies. The growth to support that valuation may well come as much from software and artificial intelligence as from the hardware sensors on which Luminar has so far built its business.

In I interview Luminar Vice President Aaron Jefferson about their partnerships with automotive manufacturers, their future as a software-oriented company, and the long-term vision.

Originally published at on October 12, 2021.

Grayson Brulte recently hosted Cruise Senior Director Prashanthi Raman on his Road to Autonomy podcast. Raman is a leader on Cruise’s government affairs team. The episode was great — they discussed public policy, Cruise’s all-electric fleet, California regulators, and more.

That got me looking at past episodes of the podcast. I found a whole bunch that I’m excited to play, and one I played immediately.

That was Brulte’s episode with Alan Ohnsma n, Forbes Senior Transportation Editor. Alan is one of the most informed and perceptive minds in autonomous vehicles.

Their discussion ranged from electric vehicles to autonomous trucking to public transit to logistics to the Los Angeles Olympics. It is amazing.

I recommend both episodes, and probably the entire podcast series, highly.

Originally published at on October 12, 2021.

I spent a good chunk of today watching yesterday’s GM Investor Day presentation, which is available online.

I watched Mary Barra (GM CEO), Travis Katz (BrightDrop CEO), Dan Ammann (Cruise CEO), and Doug Parks (GM EVP for Product Development), all of whom were great.

Two of Dan Amman’s slides really struck me. One is the slide above, which breaks out some very high level unit economics for Cruise. Unit economics are sometimes hard to come by in the autonomous vehicle industry, and I love that Dan put them out there.

I also like this slide that predicts Cruise’s ramp, in terms of new vehicle additions.

Walmart announced today a partnership to deliver online purchases for Home Depot. This is the first partnership in Walmart’s new GoLocal white-label delivery service.

On the one hand, this is another salvo in the Amazon vs. Everybody retail competition. …

Qualcomm will pay $4.5 billion to purchase Veoneer, a Swedish Tier 1 automotive supplier with a specialty in advanced driver assistance software. That makes Veoneer one of the largest acquisitions in the autonomous vehicle space since Mobileye. …

David Silver

I love self-driving cars and I work on them at Cruise!

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