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Inside Automotive

Inside Automotive (Jun 10th, 2019)

Transportation stocks to follow

$TSLA (1:00 PM EST): $213.48 (+4.39%) // More info

$UBER (1:00 PM EST): $43.07 (-2.47%) // More info

$LYFT (1:00 PM EST): $57.86 (-2.36%) // More info

$GM (1:00 PM EST): $36.13 (+1.80%) // More info

1. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has struck a deal with self-driving technology company Aurora Innovation. As a result, Aurora will supply FCA with its “Aurora Driver” system within commercial vehicles, like delivery vans. Neither company offered a timeframe as to when the technology would be available in those vehicles. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Despite supplying Alphabet’s Waymo unit with its vehicles, FCA has invested little in the development of self-driving technology. This comes days after a deal that would have merged Renault and FCA into one company was shelved. — NY TIMES

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2. Uber’s chief operating officer, Barney Harford, and chief marketing officer, Rebecca Messina, are exiting the ride-hailing company. In an internal email, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he wanted to be more directly involved with the day-to-day operations of the company, deciding that the heads of Uber’s core business directly report to him. As a result, Khosrowshahi said he came to an agreement with Harford that the COO role “no longer made sense” at the company. The CEO also said he wanted to merge the marketing, communications and policy teams to create a unified narrative to all stakeholders, eliminating the need for Messina. Messina was appointed to the role nine months ago. — CNBC

Your take: Do you think Uber will operate as a more efficient company, with Khosrowshahi working directly with all parts of the business? Hit "reply" and let me know what you think! Your comments may appear in tomorrow's newsletter. 

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3. Lyft filed a lawsuit against San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency over its bike-sharing contract in the city. The ride-hailing company is claiming that the agency is violating a contract it has to be the exclusive provider of bike sharing programs in the area. The agency maintains that it has the right to sign partnerships with dockless bike providers and that Lyft’s contract is only based on docked bike sharing. Lyft is looking for a temporary restraining order to prevent the agency from issuing permits to other bike sharing vendors. Lyft voiced its opposition to the plan weeks ago. — THE VERGE

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4. A report from The Information details a series of technical glitches that have affected Cruise Automation. Reporter Amir Efrati revealed a new series of previously unreported glitches, which led the vehicle’s software to suddenly turn itself off while giving a ride to Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo in a demonstration. A backup safety driver took over and despite attempts to restart the system, a second Cruise vehicle was called to complete the demo. Efrati also learned that Cruise’s prototypes take about 80 percent longer than humans to complete the same trip. — THE INFORMATION

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5. Toyota hopes that half of its global sales will come from electric vehicles by 2025, which is five years ahead of its initial schedule. As a result, the automaker will work with Chinese battery maker CATL, Chinese EV maker BYD, Toshiba and GS Yuasa to accelerate the initiative. — REUTERS

6. To protest a price drop of the Model 3, a group of Tesla owners blocked a factory entrance in Tilburg, Netherlands. There were about 12 people present, wearing red vests, calling attention to pricing changes made by the automaker. — ELECTREK

7. Ford’s director of global strategic design, David Woodhouse, is exiting the company. Woodhouse was an essential player in designing Lincoln’s current vehicle design, which has revitalized sales at Ford’s luxury unit. — AUTO NEWS

8. An autonomous vehicle startup, Gatik AI, came out of stealth mode, announcing it had raised $4.5 million in seed funding and struck a partnership with Walmart. — TECHCRUNCH

9. WATCH THIS: This video reportedly shows a demo of Russian tech company Yandex’s self-driving system. The video was said to be shot at the company’s 2019 Leadership Roundtable. — YOUTUBE

10. FEEDBACK: Here are some thoughts from our readers on some of the hot topics in automotive. 

On GM committing to manual controls, S. Evans says: “Why are the makers in such a rush to ditch the manual control? It's way too early IMHO. Automatic control is still in the nursery & there have been a few fatal incidents. Makers relax. It will come in time.” 

On autonomous vehicle development progress, Glen W. said: “I believe Tesla has the lead in autonomous vehicles for two reasons: their large database of information from all the Teslas currently collecting database information and the new hardware and software being created for autonomous driving. While our Model 3 with the older software and hardware is not perfect, it already does a great job on Autopilot. It has already saved me once from a potential accident!” 

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including Forbes and The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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