TechCrunch Mobility: Cruise robotaxis return and Ford's BlueCruise comes under scrutiny | TechCrunch

TechCrunch Mobility: Cruise robotaxis return and Ford's BlueCruise comes under scrutiny | TechCrunch

Welcome back tO Tech Crunch Mobility – Your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation. Sign up here – Just click on TechCrunch Mobility. – To receive the newsletter every weekend in your inbox. Subscribe for free.

It was another wild week in the world of transportation, especially in the EV startup and automated driving industries. sure, Cruise Get our attention by announcing. A return of sorts. But there's more to read, including the Indian ride-hailing dev Firstly Exiting the UK, Australia and New Zealand; A feature on a New York-based startup that wants to bring curbside EV charging. To the lamps; Uber Eats Getting started a TikTok-like video features; and contract manufacturers Magna Piloting humanoid robots Prepared by Sanctuary AI.

Oh, one more thing – the reporter Rebecca Bellin is back! I know readers miss her, so show her some love by sending her some suggestions. rebecca.bellan@techcrunch.com.

let's go!

A small bird

Founders, investors, engineers, policy wonks and others tell us things. And we are here to convey that with verifiable information small birds Have shared with us.

Have a tip for us? E-mail Kristen Korosek On kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com, Sean O'Kane On sean.okane@techcrunch.com or Rebecca Bellin On rebecca.bellan@techcrunch.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous., Click here to contact us.including SecureDrop (Instructions here) and various encrypted messaging apps.

Deal of the week

Station money

Just a bunch of deals this week!

Base MarkA Finnish company that developed AR and computer vision software used by automakers, Raised 22 million euros. ($23.6 million) in a Series B round led by ETF Partners. Other backers include Finland Industry Investment, Constructor Capital, Business Finland, the European Innovation Council and private investors.

Bumperan automotive fintech startup sector, Raised £2 million in Series B. The extension round which included support from Suzuki Global Ventures and Marubeni Ventures.

KararAn Israeli startup that provides battery modules and thermal management systems for EVs, Raised $5.3 million. A Series A round that included new investors Salida BV, OurCrowd, and NextGear, as well as existing backers Gentherm, NextLeap Ventures, Dive Digital and others.

ExoesA French-based startup that developed battery cooling technology for EVs, Raised 35 million euros. ($37.5 million) from BpiFrance and Meridim Green Impact Growth Fund.

HysetCo SASA startup that rents hydrogen-powered EVs to taxi drivers in Paris, About 200 million euros were raised. in a round led by Hy24 ($218 million). Rise Impact and Eiffel Investment Group also participated.

Yoshi Mobilitya Nashville-based startup that developed an app to offer drivers preventive maintenance, virtual vehicle inspections and electric vehicle charging, Collected 26 million dollars in a Series C round led by General Motors Ventures. Bridgestone America, Universal Motors Agencies and Shukra Limited also participated.

Notable reading and other things


gave National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the driver of a Ford Mustang Mach-E that crashed into a stationary car in Texas in February Using the hands-free driver assistance system Known as the Blue Cruise. This is the first known fatality resulting from an accident involving the use of Blue Cruise. The NTSB's announcement comes a day after the safety board announced it is investigating a second fatal crash near Philadelphia where Ford's driver assistance system may have activated.

Autonomous vehicles

GM's A subsidiary of the self-driving car Cruise is back. in a sense. The company is Redeploying Robotex, but not in his hometown of San Francisco. Instead, Cruise is setting up shop in Phoenix and all of its autonomous vehicles will be operated manually by employees. Here's the weird part: Cruz says he'll be building maps and collecting street information in Phoenix, a city where he's had a presence (and has been operating autonomously) since at least 2020. This means he has mapped these roads before.

Going back to mapping I'm a bit confused. Is this theater or does Cruise see the need to restart its entire process due to concerns about the underlying technology?

Cruz has also petitioned California regulators. Restore its permissions. Working in San Francisco. Will we see the company mapping its hometown once again, or will it return with a Robotaxis service?

during this, Wemo Officially launched Paid rides in Los Angeles. this week. We Reported earlier on approval by California regulators to charge the Alphabet-owned company for its robotaxi service in the city. A Waymo spokesperson told TechCrunch that the service is starting small and will build based on demand and performance metrics.

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

Elon Musk's The decision to greenlight Robotxy An affordable EV TC reporter Tim DeChant writes that the company may be costing its lead.

Exponent energyAn Indian battery tech company that claims to have developed a 15-minute charging technology has partnered with an auto manufacturer. OMEGA SEKI MOBILITY To provide a Passenger Three-Wheel EV With these fast charging capabilities.

Faraday future Now joining the two. Internal whistleblowers. The two former employees have filed a lawsuit claiming the troubled EV company lied about some of the few sales announced to date. They also claim that founder Jia Yueting has “armed” the EV startup's HR department to retaliate against anyone who speaks up about these alleged misrepresentations.

Lucid Motors More EVs delivered. than any other quarter in the first quarter of 2024, although it set a record by a very narrow margin.

Tesla Dropped the monthly subscription In an effort to get more dollars and data from drivers, its “Supervised FSD” (previously known as “FSD Beta”) dropped its price from $199 to $99.


Lieut And Uber Said they would pause Their planned departure from Minneapolis came after city officials decided to delay the start of driver pay raises by a few months.


Check this out. deep dive I Neurological perceptiona company that is using AI to help engineers create more aerodynamic vehicles for the racing, automotive and aerospace industries.

This week's wheels

Image credit: Kristen Korosek

I'm back in a Mercedes EV, this time one 2024 Mercedes EQE 350 4MATIC. The model is priced at $77,900, excluding destination fees. The version I drove came in at $97,615, thanks to all sorts of options, such as a 10-degree rear-axle steering system, head-up display, air suspension, AMG exterior and a $1,250 driver assistance system.

There are many improvements from the previous model year, including a new braking system, a heat pump to help improve driving performance in winter conditions, a 20-mile improvement in battery range, 20-inch wheels, charging Includes power opening port door. And a better user interface (in my opinion) on the central infotainment.

What I really wanted to try was the advanced driver assistance system, and in particular the automatic lane change feature, which I had yet to experience.

Within the infotainment center, the driver can select either “manual” or “automatic” lane change options. When the automatic feature is selected and ADAS is turned on, the vehicle will make automatic lane changes without driver input. How it works. I was driving in the right lane on the highway with ADAS engaged. As the vehicle approached slow-moving traffic, an arrow appeared on the instrument cluster (see photo), the system turned on my indicator and then changed lanes. It can be overridden by holding the steering wheel and keeping it in the lane.

My thoughts? The system worked flawlessly and I could see myself using it on occasion. The question is whether drivers want to give up that kind of control.

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