If you haven’t heard, TechSwitch has formally launched a weekly e-newsletter devoted to all of the methods folks and items transfer from Point A to Point B — in the present day and sooner or later — whether or not it’s by bike, bus, scooter, automotive, prepare, truck, flying automotive, robotaxi or rocket. Heck, perhaps even by way of hyperloop.
Earlier this yr, we piloted a weekly transportation e-newsletter. Now, we’re again with a brand new title and a format that will probably be delivered into your inbox each Saturday morning. We’re calling it The Station, your hub of all issues transportation. I’m your host, senior transportation reporter Kirsten Korosec.
Portions of the e-newsletter will probably be revealed as an article on the primary web site after it has been emailed to subscribers (that’s what you’re studying now). To get every thing, you must enroll. And it’s free. To subscribe, go to our newsletters web page and click on on The Station.
This isn’t a solo effort. Expect evaluation and perception from senior reporter Megan Rose Dickey, who has been masking micromobility. TechSwitch reporter Jake Bright will sometimes present perception into electrical bikes, racing and the startup scene in Africa. And then in fact, there are different TechSwitch staffers who will weigh in from their stations within the U.S., Europe and Asia.
We love the reader suggestions. Keep it coming. Email me at [email protected] to share ideas, opinions or suggestions or ship a direct message to @kirstenkorosec.
A brand new autonomous automobile firm on the scene

Deeproute.ai is the most recent firm to obtain a allow from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to check autonomous autos on public roads.
Here is what we all know to date. The Chinese startup simply raised $50 million in a pre-Series A funding spherical led by Fozun RZ Capital, the Beijing-based enterprise capital arm of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International. The firm has analysis facilities in Shenzhen, Beijing and Silicon Valley and is aiming to construct a full self-driving stack that may deal with Level 4 automation, a designation by the SAE which means the automobile can deal with all elements of driving in sure circumstances with out human intervention.
Deeproute.ai can also be a provider for China’s second-largest automaker Dongfeng Motor, based on TechNode. The startup plans to supply robotaxi providers in partnership with Dongfeng Motor for the Military World Games within the metropolis of Wuhan subsequent month.
Snapshot: Tesla Smart Summon
Remember manner again in September when Tesla began rolling out its V10 software program replace? The software program launch was extremely anticipated largely as a result of it included Smart Summon, an autonomous parking characteristic that permits house owners to make use of their app to summon their autos from a parking area.
We have some perception into the rollout, courtesy of TezLab, a Brooklyn-based startup that developed a free app that’s like a Fitbit for a Tesla automobile. Tesla house owners who obtain the app can observe their effectivity, complete journey miles and use it to manage sure features of the automobile, akin to locking and unlocking the doorways, and heating and air con. TezLab, which has 20,000 energetic customers and logs greater than 1 million occasions a day, has change into a large repository of Tesla knowledge.
TezLab shared the info set under that reveals the ebb and circulate of Tesla’s software program updates. The X axis reveals the date (of each different bar) and a timestamp of midnight. (Because this can be a screenshot, you possibly can’t toggle over it to see the time.)

This knowledge reveals when Tesla began pushing out the V10 software program in addition to when it held it again. The upshot? Notice the pop on September 27. That’s when the general public rollout started in earnest, then dipped, then spiked once more on October 3 after which dropped for nearly every week. That lull adopted a slew of social media postings demonstrating and complaining in regards to the Smart Summon characteristic, suggesting that Tesla slowed the software program launch.
A geofencing vivid spot
Speaking of Smart Summon, you may need seen the Consumer Reports evaluate of the characteristic. In brief, the patron advocacy group referred to as it “glitchy” and puzzled if it provided any advantages to prospects. I spoke to CR and realized a bit extra. CR notes that Tesla is obvious in its guide in regards to the limitations of this beta product. The group’s criticism is that folks don’t have perception into these limitations after they purchase the “Full Self-Driving” characteristic, which prices hundreds of {dollars}. (CEO Elon Musk simply introduced the worth will go up one other $1,000 on November 1.)
One encouraging signal is that CR decided that the Smart Summon characteristic was ready (more often than not) to acknowledge when it was on a public street. Smart Summon is just supposed for use in personal areas. “This is the first we’ve seen Tesla geofence this technology and that is a bright spot,” CR advised me.
Deal of the week

There have been loads of offers previously week, however the one which stood out — for quite a lot of causes — concerned German city air mobility startup Lilium . Editor Ingrid Lunden had the news that Lilium has been speaking to buyers to boost between $400 million and $500 million. The measurement of this yet-to-be-closed spherical and who is perhaps investing is what received our consideration.
Lilium has already raised greater than $100 million in financing from buyers, together with WeChat proprietor and Chinese web big Tencent, Atomico, which was based by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, and Obvious Ventures, the early-stage VC fund co-founded by Twitter’s Ev Williams. International personal banking and asset administration group LGT and Freigeist (previously referred to as e42) are additionally buyers.
TechSwitch remains to be looking down particulars about who is perhaps investing, in addition to Lilium’s valuation. (You can all the time attain out with a tip.)
Lunden was capable of ferret out just a few essential nuggets from sources, together with that Tencent is seemingly on this newest spherical and the startup has been pitching new buyers since at the very least this spring. The spherical has but to shut. Lilium isn’t the one city air mobility — aka flying automobiles — startup that been shaking the investor timber for cash the previous six months. Lilium’s problem is trying to boost an even bigger spherical than others in an unproven market.

A bit chicken

We hear rather a lot. But we’re not egocentric. Let’s share. For the unfamiliar, somewhat chicken is the place we move alongside insider suggestions and what we’re listening to or discovering from dependable, knowledgeable sources within the business. This isn’t a spot for unfounded gossip. Sometimes, like this week, we’re simply serving to to attach the dots to find out the place an organization is headed.
Aurora, an autonomous automobile startup backed by Sequoia Capital and Amazon, revealed a weblog submit that lay outs its plans to combine its self-driving stack into a number of automobile platforms. Those plans now embrace long-haul vans.
Self-driving vans are so highly regarded proper now. Aurora is banking on its latest acquisition of lidar firm Blackmore to provide it an edge. Aurora has built-in right into a Class 8 truck its self-driving stack referred to as “Aurora Driver.” We hear that Aurora isn’t asserting any partnerships — at the very least not now — nevertheless it’s signaling a plan to push into this market.
Got a tip or overheard one thing on the earth of transportation? Email me at [email protected] to share ideas, opinions or suggestions or ship a direct message to @kirstenkorosec.
Keep (self) truckin’

Ike, the autonomous trucking startup based by veterans of Apple, Google and Uber Advanced Technologies Group’s self-driving truck program, has all the time forged itself because the cautious-we’ve-been-around-the-block-already firm.
That hasn’t modified. Last week, Ike launched a prolonged security report and accompanying weblog submit. It’s beefy. But listed below are just a few of the essential takeaways. Ike is selecting to not check on public roads after a yr of improvement, not like most others within the area. Ike has a fleet of 4 Class 8 vans outfitted with its self-driving stack in addition to a Toyota Prius used for mapping and knowledge assortment. The vans are pushed manually, (a second engineer all the time within the passenger seat) on public roads. The automation system is then examined on a observe.
There are sturdy incentives to reveal speedy progress with autonomous automobile know-how, and testing on public roads has been a part of that playbook. And Ike’s founders are taking a special path; and we hear that the method was embraced, not rejected, by buyers. 

In the subsequent problem of the e-newsletter, try snippets from an interview with Randol Aikin, the pinnacle of techniques engineering at Ike. We dig into the corporate’s method, which relies on a technique developed at MIT referred to as Systems Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) as the muse for Ike’s product improvement.
In different AV truck-related information, Kodiak Robotics simply employed Jamie Hoffacker as its head of {hardware}. Hoffacker got here from Lyft’s Level 5 self-driving automobile initiative and in addition labored on Google’s Street View autos. The firm tells me that Hoffacker is vital to its purpose of constructing a product that may be manufactured, not only a prototype. Check out Hoffacker’s weblog submit to get his perspective.
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