The mystery box sits inside an all-white room in an office building in San Francisco. It’s a large, wooden crate with no features other than the word “ZOOX” in big, black block letters and a sturdy-looking padlock. For about $100 million, you can get a key and have a look inside.Few have had the pleasure. What they saw is a black, carlike robot about the size and shape of a Mini Cooper. Or actually, like the rear halves of two Mini Coopers welded together. The interior has no steering wheel or dashboard, just an open space with two bench seats facing each other. The whole mock-up looks like someone could punch a hole through it. But because you’ve just invested $100 million in the thing, you’ve earned the right to have a seat and enjoy a simulated city tour while you pray that this vision of a driverless future will come to pass.Of the many self-driving car hopefuls, Zoox Inc. may be the most daring. The company’s robot taxi could be amazing or … [Read more...] about $800 Million Says a Self-Driving Car Looks Like This
Silicon valley ferrari
Press play to listen to this article By JACK BLANCHARD Send tips here | Subscribe for free | View in your browser Good Friday morning. QUIZ NIGHT: Downing Street staffers left their Brexit woes behind last night and gathered in No. 10 for the raucous annual pub quiz. Apparently senior officials acted as the quizmasters on a round-by-round basis, with Theresa May’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell, director of policy James Marshall, official spokesman James Slack and outgoing Cabinet enforcer Sue Gray among those taking a turn. The winners were the political unit team — “Reservoir SpAds” — led by May’s political director Alex Dawson. Playbook assumes there will be plenty of sore heads in No. 10 today. DRIVING THE DAY DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Theresa May has made her big play to break the Cabinet deadlock over customs, via an unexpected game of ministerial divide and rule. With the Brexit clock ticking and no sign of a breakthrough, the PM has split … [Read more...] about POLITICO London Playbook: Downing Street quiz night — Brexit divide and conquer — Jez has ships for brains
Lilium, a German start-up with Silicon Valley-scale ambitions to put electric "flying taxis" in the air next decade, has hired Frank Stephenson, the designer behind iconic car brands including the modern Mini, Fiat 500 and McLaren P1.Lilium is developing a lightweight aircraft powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted on its wings. It aims to travel at speeds of up to 300km/h, with a range of 300km on a single charge, the firm has said.Founded in 2015 by four Munich Technical University students, the Bavarian firm has set out plans to demonstrate a fully functional vertical take-off electric jet by next year, with plans to begin online booking of commuter flights by 2025.It is one of a number of companies, from Chinese car maker Geely to US ride-sharing firm Uber, looking to tap advances in drone technology, high-performance materials and automated driving to turn aerial driving - long a staple of science fiction movies like Blade Runner - into reality.Stephenson, 58, who holds … [Read more...] about Flying taxi start-up hires Mini designer
Incrementalism doesn’t make for the best sales pitch, especially in Silicon Valley. That certainly wasn’t how Tesla Motors—now just Tesla Inc.—was sold to investors. When Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive officer, published his “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” in 2006, he made it clear that the upstart electric vehicle maker’s sporty Roadster—described by one impressed reviewer as a “carbon-fiber mosquito”—was just the beginning:“The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium. … I can say that the second model will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster and the third model will be even more affordable,” Musk wrote.Investors bought it, but things didn’t happen quite that way. The next two vehicles, the Models S and X, were also big-ticket luxury rides with … [Read more...] about What If Tesla’s Time Is Running Out?
Press play to listen to this article By JACK BLANCHARD PRESENTED BY BP Send tips here | Subscribe for free | View in your browser Good Monday morning. Parliament is back today from its two-week Easter holiday, and so am I. Thanks to top colleagues Charlie Cooper and Tom McTague for filling in over the past fortnight. DRIVING THE DAY MAY IN THE HOUSE: Theresa May will address MPs on the bombing of Syria this afternoon as parliament returns from its two-week Easter recess to an international crisis. The prime minister will make a Commons statement at 3.30 p.m. and then field at least an hour of questions, before taking the rare step of asking Speaker John Bercow for an emergency debate to give MPs more time to debate Saturday’s air strikes. “We have acted because it is in our national interest to do so,” May will say, according to comments released overnight by No. 10. “It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in … [Read more...] about POLITICO London Playbook, presented by BP: Parliament’s back — May to face MPs after Syria strikes — Commonwealth summit starts today