BREAKING: Uber goes head-to-head with Google and Tesla in the driverless race
Taxi app Uber has just joined the driverless car race, rivaling the likes of Google, Tesla, Toyota and Audi. The company is opening the doors to a new research center in Pittsburgh, which will spearhead a novel auto-driving taxi program, and join the ranks of global automakers working to develop driverless vehicles.
The San Francisco based tech company, revealed that it is going to build a robotics research center to kick-start the auto-driving taxi program as part of its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.
Until now Uber has been playing its cards very close to its chest in regards to future development, however in a blog posted to the company website, it announced it was establishing the “Uber Advanced Technologies Center,” which is expected to focus on the technology of automatic cars.
While Uber did not openly state it, several Carnegie Mellon professors and students are expected to work alongside the Uber team to develop self-driving cars. This is one of the biggest steps taken by the company to promote such technology.
Uber vs. Google
The news may come as a surprise for some analysts who believed Uber and Google would collaborate on a self-driving project rather than go into competition with one another. Since its inception Uber used maps created by Google and Apple as well as its own technology.
Rumour has is that Google is also developing a similar system which will rival Uber’s taxi service. According to reports a Google engineer has made an app that allows employees to carpool to work – the new taxi service? It could be!
Uber is expected to employ approximately fifty senior researchers from Mellon University and the National Robotics Engineering Center. The University is the place where the Mars Rover was developed, as well as a handful of other successful space projects. When questioned on the matter, the scientists refrained from discussion. However, they mentioned that Uber had “cleaned out” the robotics department, which suggests some aggressive recruitment has taken place.
Uber is one of the leading taxi services in the US, and this project will surely put the company a step ahead of its competition. This initiative will help the company differentiate itself in the highly competitive market. The vice president of the company, Thilo Koslowski, said: “The company is now recognizing it needs a magic sauce on the tech side to make sure no one can quickly get to where it is.” By starting this project, Uber is going to offer something unique to its customers, which other competitors would find difficult to match.
Uber recognises that self-driving taxis are not going to be adopted by customers overnight, but this investment in future tech certainly gives the company longevity and a bright future. It is thought that initially, Mellon and Uber would just be producing devices and technologies that would make cars less dangerous to others on the road.
Watch this space.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.