Author: Kirsten Korosec

Turo files lawsuit against Los Angeles in car-sharing battle at LAX

TECHCRUNCH Peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace Turo has filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles Airport in a preemptive strike aimed at defending the ability of its users to rent out their personal cars at Los Angeles International Airport. Turo filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Central District Court of California in Los Angeles. Los Angeles city officials have yet to respond to request for comment on the lawsuit. We’ll update the story once the city responds. Turo contends in its lawsuit that LAX has misclassified its peer-to-peer car sharing platform as a rental car company. Turo argues...

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Waymo-branded Jaguar I-Pace vehicles hit the streets of San Francisco

TECHCRUNCH Waymo’s next phase in self-driving cars has begun. The former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet has received its first three all-electric I-Pace crossover sport utility produced by Jaguar Land Rover. These I-Pace EVS — the first on U.S. roads outside of JLR’s own fleet — can be seen driving around the San Francisco Bay Area. These aren’t operating autonomously just yet. For now, Waymo is testing the vehicle’s performance on roads to generate self-driving system design requirements and develop durability tests, the company told TechCrunch. Waymo announced in March a strategic partnership with Jaguar Land...

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Ex-Tesla worker makes it official and blows the whistle to SEC

TECHCRUNCH The former Tesla employee who was fired and then sued by the electric vehicle automaker has filed a formal whistleblower tip to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the company has misled investors and put its customers at risk. Martin Tripp has retained Meissner Associates, a whistleblower, securities, investment  fraud and employment law firm to represent him before the SEC. Tesla did not respond to questions about the whistleblower tip. The filing is the latest blow in a bout between Tesla, its CEO Elon Musk and Tripp. Tesla filed a lawsuit on June 20 against Tripp for $1 million,...

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Aurora Labs raises $8.4 million to bring its self-healing software to cars

TECHCRUNCH Aurora Labs, a company that has created predictive tools that will automatically fix problems with software in cars, has raised $8.4 million in a Series A round of financing led by Fraser McCombs Capital. Previous investor MizMaa Ventures also joined the round. The Tel Aviv-based company, which just came out of stealth a few months ago, developed Aurora Labs plans to use the additional funds it expand its presence beyond its new offices in Munich, Germany and Tel Aviv headquarters. The company has 17 employees and plans to add a handful more by the end of year as well as...

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Tesla reaches deal to build electric vehicle factory in China

TECHCRUNCH Tesla has reached a deal with the Shanghai government to build a factory capable of producing 500,000 electric vehicles a year. The factory would be the automaker’s second assembly plant and aimed at serving the alluring Chinese market. Tesla and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government announced Tuesday they had signed the cooperative agreement. Tesla announced last year it was working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a factory in the region. Construction on the factory, which the company has dubbed Gigafactory 3, is expected to begin “in the future after we get all the necessary approvals and permits,” a Tesla spokesman told TechCrunch in an emailed statement. “From there, it will take roughly two years until we start producing vehicles and then another two to three years before the factory is fully ramped up to produce around 500,000 vehicles per year for Chinese customers,” the spokesman said. Tesla hasn’t provided an estimate of what the factory might cost to build. That’s a critical data point for Tesla which has been pouring through cash as it tries to ramp production of its Model 3 vehicle. Still, the deal is a milestone for Tesla and Musk, who has long viewed China as a crucial market. It’s also notable because this will be a wholly owned Tesla factory, not a traditional joint venture with the Chinese government....

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Waze and Esri expand partnership so cities can interpret and apply real-time data

TECHCRUNCH Waze has been sending its partner cities a fire hose of data for the past four years through its free Connected Citizens Program. And while that aggregated and anonymized data holds critical information about traffic patterns, road hazards, potholes, accidents and even road kill, the burden is on cities to make sense of it. Now, an expanded partnership between Waze and mapping and analytics platform Esri is giving cities a decoder ring of sorts that turns that mountain of crowdsourced data into useable information without having to write code or purchase additional software. The two companies announced Tuesday...

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Virgin Galactic agrees to launch space flights from Italy

TECHCRUNCH U.S. space venture Virgin Galactic announced it has partnered with two aerospace companies to help bring commercial space launches to Italy. The agreement with Italy’s largest private space company Sitael and Altec, a public-private company owned by the Italian Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space, has been two years in the making. The idea is to put Virgin Galactic’s space vehicle system at the future Grottaglie Spaceport where it can be used by private individuals who want to experience space as well as customers like the Italian Space Agency interested in conducting research. Earlier this year, Italian aviation authority ENAC designated the Taranto-Grottaglie Airport as the future home for horizontally-launched spaceflights in Italy. While this Italian spaceport will eventually provide the infrastructure for future Virgin Galactic suborbital flights, the company will maintain its operational headquarters at Spaceport America in New Mexico. “This partnership could see Virgin Galactic launch the first person in history into space from Italian soil — and in fact from any European territory,” Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said in a statement.  Virgin Galactic is owned by the Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS. There are two sister companies as well, Virgin Orbit,  which focuses on launching small satellites into space using its LauncherOne orbital launch, and its manufacturing arm, The Spaceship Company. Virgin Galactic is testing the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity, a reusable space launch system...

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Daimler can now test self-driving cars on public roads in Beijing

TECHCRUNCH Daimler has been granted a license test self-driving vehicles on public roads in Beijing, making it the first international automaker to receive such permission. The owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand was given the test permit by the Chinese government after extensive close-course testing, the company said in a statement, adding that it marks a milestone in its research and development efforts in China. Daimler, which also has licenses in Germany and the U.S., said it will now begin road tests in Beijing. There are other companies testing autonomous vehicles in China, notably Baidu, which has been on public...

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