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Sep 3, 2016

WHY SELF DRIVING TRUCKS ? * USA

* California - Why they may be the next big thing on the road ?

--- On Interstate 280 outside San Francisco, towering white Volvo semitrucks have been driving themselves around for months–under the careful supervision of humans in the cab. Otto, a startup founded by automation experts eager to get their inventions out of the lab and onto the road, has been working to reinvent commercial trucking since it was founded in January. And in August, ride-sharing giant Uber announced it was acquiring Otto and its 91 employees in a deal worth an estimated $680 million... Weeks earlier, it sold its Chinese division to market leader Didi Chuxing, getting a hefty stake in return. Didi had previously forged a partnership with Uber’s bitter U.S. rival Lyft, which has reportedly held talks to sell itself to Google–a company with its own ambitious self-driving-car division–or General Motors, which invested $500 million in Lyft earlier this year with avowals that the two would automate ride-sharing vehicles together. (Lyft executives deny that they have shopped the company around.) ... Many in the automotive and technology worlds are convinced that self-driving vehicles are the future. But who gets there first (old-line automakers, new-economy startups) and how (by selling passenger cars, taxi services, commercial vehicles) is still unclear. Because self-driving ventures tend to draw on a relatively concentrated pool of engineers, executives and investors, the nascent field has rapidly become a small but tightly bound web of connections... For now, courting potential problems is the point... It may not yet be clear what the future of automated transport will look like, but the industry’s innovators want to get there fast...
 (Photo: Trucker with digital tablet on autonomous truck)  --  Silicon Valley, CAL, USA - TIME, by Katy Steinmetz - Sept. 1, 2016

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