Ep 45: Apple worker steals AV secrets; Daimler, Bosch roll out AV taxis; FCA goes after Tesla

Apple Project Titan Autonomous Car
SOURCE: 9to5Mac.com

Episode 45! Our final episode of the season before going on a brief summer break: A (now former) Apple employee steals Apple’s autonomous car secrets; Daimler and Bosch get ready to roll out a test autonomous taxi service; and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declare war against Tesla.

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A (now former) Apple employee steals Apple’s Project Titan autonomous car secrets

Hollywood really needs to start tapping Silicon Valley for new espionage fodder. First, the alleged theft by Anthony Levandowski — basically the inventor of lidar — of Google/Waymo autonomous car tech when he defected to, and was then ousted by, Uber; and now, this: a (now former, obviously) Apple employee accused of stealing Apple’s Project Titan autonomous car secrets, with plans to use them at a new Chinese electric / autonomous vehicle startup Xiaopeng Motors. From a story over at Autoblog.

Daimler and Bosch prepare to test an autonomous ride hailing service

Interesting news that Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) and Bosch (makers of spark plugs, washers and dryers, and everything in between) have partnered up to roll out a test fleet of autonomous taxis somewhere in California. While Bosch will of course supply the sensors, electromechanical bits, and control modules, Daimler will provide the vehicles and test facilities. Meanwhile, Nvidia will handle the image processing systems with its Nvidia DRIVE Pegasus platform.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declare war on Tesla

I was advised a few months ago by a loyal listener that I should focus this podcast solely on autonomous cars; news that was singularly about electric vehicles — with no mention of AV tech — I was told was simply a disfocus. Nevertheless, I’m sharing this news because of some very real tangential implications: turns out that FCA — whose chariman, Sergio Marchionne is not exactly known for his affinity for electric vehicles, let alone autonomous ones — has basically just declared war on Tesla. While the news is couched in terms relating solely to its new electrification plans, I’m reading between the lines and interpret this to mean that autonomous tech is in the cards too: it’s almost always the case now that if a company is developing an electric car, then it’s developing an autonomous car, too.

Summer break begins… now!

As explained in more detail in the podcast itself, today — Episode 45 — will be the final episode for this first season of Autonomous Cars with Marc Hoag. With far too many things going on as we dive into the meat of summer — I’m celebrating my third wedding anniversary with my wife and going on a trip with her; my birthday; a friend’s wedding; and, oh yeah, we’re moving to a new home, and while continuing to run Twibble — I can no longer promise in good faith to reliably crank out two episodes a week, and will therefore be going on a brief hiatus, with Episode 46 — and the start of Season 2 — rolling out some time in late August or early September.

Don’t worry though: I’m not planning to leave you completely in the dark. I promise to do my best to drop a few episodes now and then for any breaking news or just fascinating stuff that happens to come my way; just don’t expect the regular twice-weekly episode release schedule for the next 4-6 weeks or so, that’s all.

Also: please don’t try to read in between any non-existent lines: this isn’t some thinly veiled attempt to mask some sort of imminent doom for this podcast; on the contrary, listenership continues to sky rocket thanks to your support, so I can assure you, this show has a very bright future indeed. Besides, it’s still “the only twice weekly podcast on autonomous cars… in the world” so it needs to stick around!

So without further ado, as always, thank you so much for listening (and reading!), and have a wonderful summer holiday; until next time, bye-bye!

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