The Herd Quitter, by C.M. Russell

I haven’t done one of these in a while!

VinFast, a new and relatively unknown electric vehicle startup from Vietnam, is exploring an IPO at a $60 billion valuation, according to Reuters.

I wrote in about the origins of VinFast, and its parent company, the Vingroup conglomerate.

“The startup is a subsidiary of Vingroup, a giant Vietnamese conglomerate that was founded in 1993 in Ukraine by Vietnamese expatriate Phạm Nhật Vượng. Vượng arrived in Ukraine after attending college in the Soviet Union. He first opened a restaurant in Ukraine, and then an instant noodles business. …

Big news from Cruise yesterday!

An interesting aspect of the press release is the importance of Cruise’s electric fleet, which the Dubai Road and Transport Authority predicts will help the region meet its goal of 12% pollution reduction.

My colleague Oliver Cameron ( who is hiring, by the way) took to Twitter to expand on the partnership:

Our CEO, Dan Ammann, appeared on Bloomberg News to discuss the partnership. The anchors asked him about a driverless in the US and he said:

“Well, it’s 2021. We’ve begun driverless testing, we’re making rapid progress with the Cruise Origin, we’ve…

I’m really excited about this summer’s upcoming lineup of 2022 Chevy Bolts. There will actually be two models: the EV and the EUV. Both will feature GM Super Cruise, an advanced driver assistance system that reviewers claim is on par with Tesla AutoPilot.

The 2022 EUV will launch first, starting at $34,000, although the price goes up for Super Cruise. TechCrunch just reviewed the Bolt EUV and concluded:

“This compact SUV has the space, power and high-tech capability that will allow it to go head-to-head with the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Volvo’s XC40 Recharge, Ford’s Mach-E and Volkswagen’s…

Gatik, a middle-mile self-driving truck company, last week announced a partnership with Isuzu to build self-driving medium-duty trucks. The press release states that the trucks will be deployed this year, which would be no small feat, given the lead times required for automotive production.

What impresses me most about this deal is simply Gatik’s ability to stay alive and relevant in a sea of much larger competitors.

According to LinkedIn, Gatik has between 35 and 200 employees. I guess the precise number is under 100. A lot of other leading autonomous vehicle companies have over 1,000 employees. Gatik has raised…

Waymo’s Twitter account posted a message today soliciting questions from the public.

This is such a great thing to do. Publicly-traded companies typically hold quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street analysts. Those analysts get to ask any questions they want, and the answers are shared with the world in real time. But the general public rarely gets an opportunity to ask questions themselves.

Waymo isn’t even a public company yet (although it is under the Alphabet umbrella), so there’s certainly no expectation that Waymo would field questions from investors or anybody else. But it’s a great PR move.

I got…

Pandaily reports that Chinese electric carmaker XPeng just completed an 8-day, 2200-mile (3600-kilometer) test of its advanced driver assistance system, called Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP).

The route began at XPeng’s headquarters in Guangzhou and proceeded along the coast, through Shanghai, to Beijing.

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is the movement of many events online, and the access that provides to people around the world. NVIDIA’s upcoming GPU Technology Conference seems likely to be a perfect example.

Every year, NVIDIA puts on a world-class conference that is a mix of academic and industry presentations. This year, the conference is open to the world, streaming live, starting on April 12.

The speaker list includes academic luminaries, such as Geoffrey Hinton, Daphne Kohler, Raquel Urtusan, Yann LeCun, and Bryan Catanzaro, alongside industry leaders like Jesse Levinson, Drew Bagnell, and Chris Wright.


Waymo CEO John Krafcik resigned yesterday, which seemed to surprise just about everybody.

After 5 exhilarating years leading this team, I’ve decided to depart from my CEO role at Waymo & kick-off new adventures. To start, I’m looking forward to a refresh period, reconnecting with old friends & family, and discovering new parts of the world. /1

- John Krafcik (@johnkrafcik) April 2, 2021

Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov, previously the COO and CTO, will step into co-CEO positions. As of right now, Mawakana hasn’t yet updated her LinkedIn profile, which perhaps illustrates the suddenness of the announcement.

Cruise is hiring product managers!

People sometimes ask me why I entered the autonomous vehicle world as a engineer, instead of a product manager. One reason is that, when I started working on autonomous vehicles in 2015, there were no products to manage! Self-driving cars have long been an engineering research and development effort.

But products are starting to emerge! That means AV companies like Cruise are finally starting to hire product managers. If you are a PM, this is your moment!

Take Oliver up on his invitation to DM him ASAP. You can also apply for jobs through the Cruise website, or email your résumé to me.

This is such a fun and rewarding field, and what Cruise has accomplished already is amazing. Join us!

Originally published at on March 30, 2021.

David Silver

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

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