#1 |Apple buys autonomous vehicle company Drive.ai

The rehiring of Tesla engineer Doug Field last year suggests that Apple has acquired self-driving firm Drive.ai, just a few days before the planned closure of the Mountain View-based startup. The US phone maker is renewing its autonomous vehicles research by adding new engineering talent to its 5,000 employees-strong self-driving car program, called Project Titan. Apple didn’t disclose a purchase price, but Drive.ai was valued at around $200 million two years ago. Also, it’s not clear whether Cupertino-based giant intends to build an entire vehicle or sensors, computer systems, and other components. But Apple wants to develop a whole autonomous vehicle.
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#2 | Airbus-owned Voom will compete with Uber Copter in the US market

The competition in the on-demand helicopter shuttle service market is growing. Following the Uber’s announcement of launching the air-taxi business in New York, Airbus-owned Voom is entering the US market. It will offer helicopter service in the San Francisco Bay Area flying to five regional airports. The company already operates in Sao Paulo and Mexico City with plans to fly two million passengers per year in 25 cities by 2025. Airbus has also invested in Blade, a five-year-old firm that operates helicopters and planes in several US cities. A European aerospace corporation clearly believes that the future of urban mobility is in the air and spares no expense in turning its vision into reality.
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#3 | Tesla wants to make its own battery cells

Tesla is developing means to build its own battery cells following an earlier acknowledgment by its CEO Elon Musk that the company has been “battery-constrained” in the past. That issue was reportedly one of the reasons why the car maker struggled to improve its vehicle production output. Tesla’s research and development teams are now prototyping advanced lithium ion battery cells in a lab located at the company’s Kato Road facility, close to its plant in Fremont, California. They’re also developing tools and processes critical to manufacture cells in high volumes. The relations between Tesla and its partner Panasonic that supplies most battery cells have took a turn for the worst this year. The Japanese industrial conglomerate has signed a deal with Toyota to produce car batteries and Musk also blamed Panasonic for slowing down the pace of Model 3 production.
Read more here:https://cnb.cx/2Nsu7Sy

 


#4 |San Francisco bans the sale of e-cigarettes

San Francisco has banned sales of e-cigarettes and made it illegal for retailers to deliver these products to addresses in the city. City major London Breed has ten days to sign off the legislation. Activist groups claim that the health impact of vaping is still unclear and that this practice encourages young people to switch to cigarettes. E-cigarette producers such as Juul Labs argue that the decision of local authorities will create a thriving black market and drive smokers to cigarettes. The San Francisco-based company, 35%-owned by Marlboro maker Altria Group, has already closed its social media channels on Instagram and Facebook. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration gave companies until 2021 to have their vapor products evaluated.
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#5 | America’s complicated relationship with the metric system

When in 1975 the US passed the Metric Conversion Act, many believed that the country would slowly transition to meters and kilograms, instead of feet and pounds. But the metric system was never really adopted as compliance with the new law was completely voluntary. That’s not the only reason why the country never went metric though. For one, US customary units such as the foot and inch come naturally to us as they are based on the measurement of parts of our bodies. The second reason is that there isn’t a popular movement that would support the switch to the metric system. And third, the US is in many ways already metric as meters and kilograms are used by scientists and have to be displayed on various consumer products. Also, imperial units are now technically based on metric definitions.
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