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Americans head to the polls tomorrow more divided than ever about the future of the country. But there’s at least one thing they almost all have in common: they know almost nothing about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, one of President Joe Biden’s most impactful policy accomplishments.
There’s no shortage of pain in the news this week: Lyft is laying off 13% of its workforce, Arrival is at risk of getting kicked off the NASDAQ, a UK court decision may force taxi fares to increase by 20%, Subaru says it can’t compete with McDonald’s wages and TuSimple fires its CEO over alleged ties to a Chinese competitor. Meanwhile, even as the cost of climate change grows, so too does resistance from increasingly influential populist political movements. And why is the U.S. talking about teaching other countries how to improve road safety when it has the worst traffic fatality rate in the developed world?
Hey, it’s not all bad! Waymo becomes the first AV operator to offer autonomous rides to the Phoenix airport. And following highly-publicized setbacks for AV technology in recent months, Aurora Innovation says its driverless trucks are just around the corner.
What infrastructure bill? Surveys show very few voters have been aware of the infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law last year. It’s just one of many communications failures that Democrats could ponder as they assess the mid-term elections in the likely event they lose control of Congress tomorrow.
Uber court case could hike UK taxi fares: UK taxi services outside of London could be forced to apply a 20% value added tax to their rides if a court rules in favor of Uber, which has been subject to the tax since March. Uber has argued in court that its competitors should also be required to pay.
Big layoffs at Lyft: The ride-hail giant lays off 700 employees, or roughly 13% of its workforce, a move CEO Logan Green attributed to a looming economic downturn and the rising cost of rideshare insurance.
Subaru can’t compete with McDonald’s: In remarks to investors, Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura says the automaker won’t manufacture EVs in the U.S. due to rising labor costs. He specifically referenced McDonald’s workers in Indiana making “$20 to $25 per hour.” That decision comes despite the big discounts the U.S. is offering to customers who buy American made EVs.
TuSimple sacks CEO over links to Chinese company: The board of TuSimple, the San Diego-based startup developing self-driving trucks, fires CEO Xiaodi Hou after an internal investigation into his relationship with Hydron, a Chinese autonomous trucking company led Mo Chen, who co-founded TuSimple with Hou but left the company last year. The investigation led the board to believe that some TuSimple employees last year spent company time doing work for Hydron and shared proprietary information about TuSimple’s technology. Hou adamantly denies the allegations, but the company’s stock plummeted by nearly 50% in response to the firing.
An unwelcome Arrival: NASDAQ warns embattled EV startup Arrival that it risks getting delisted because of its low stock price: $0.69. When the UK-based company went public via SPAC 18 months ago, its stock was trading at $22 a share. Its planned commercial electric vans have been repeatedly delayed amidst a number of legal and financial problems, which have prompted layoffs and two restructurings in the past six months.
Saudis team up with Foxconn on EVs: Saudi Arabia’s huge Public Investment Fund forms an EV joint venture with Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer best known for the iPhone. The new venture, Ceer, plans to deliver EVs using BMW’s component technology by 2025.
Aurora offers assurance: Aurora Innovation tells investors that it has enough money to deliver autonomous commercial trucks by 2024. The Pittsburgh-based startup, which went public by via SPAC a year ago, closed Q3 with $1.2 billion in cash on hand. It may have felt pressure to combat skepticism about AVs following Ford’s decision last week to dismantle Argo AI. Its announcement appeared to work: its stock price rose more than 5% in response.
Waymo kicks off airport rides: Autonomous trips to and from the airport are the latest offering from Waymo in Phoenix. Although the Alphabet-owned company has been operating in the Phoenix area for several years, navigating the chaos of airport pickups and drop-offs is a big new step up. We’ll see how it works out!
The populist obstacle on climate change: Politico examines what has become one of the biggest political obstacles to climate policy: right-wing populism. While climate change skepticism has been a mainstay of conservative politics in the U.S. for a generation, it’s also embraced by far right parties that are gaining traction across Europe and Latin America.
When will we cut our losses? As U.S. taxpayers pour billions of dollars into rebuilding hurricane-ravaged communities in Florida, USA Today asks a dozen economic and climate experts if and when Uncle Sam should tell people living in climate-vulnerable areas that they’re on their own.
A time to learn, not teach: In Bloomberg CityLab, David Zipper highlights the irony of the U.S. Department of Transportation creating a program to help other countries improve traffic safety. Traffic deaths are much more common in the U.S. than in other developed countries. There are a number of things the U.S. could do to improve the situation, but it probably starts with learning from what other countries are doing, Zipper writes.
What is Tesla’s future in China? The Atlantic wonders whether there is an expiration date for Tesla’s warm relationship with China. Increasing geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China may make it harder for Elon Musk to maintain the same level of chumminess with Chinese leaders.
Can the U.S. learn to build transit on the cheap? Vice considers ways that U.S. transit agencies can dramatically reduce the costs of major projects. As is the case with traffic safety, we only need to look abroad to find models that perform much better.
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