The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Over Half Of U.S. Cities Are Preparing For AVs; Uber IPO Valuation rumored at $120 Billion; and More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | October 19, 2018

Cities Across America Plan For AVs

More than 50 percent of U.S. cities are currently preparing their streets for AVs, up from less than 10 percent three years ago.

A report released this week by the National League of Cities has found that more than 50 percent of U.S. cities are currently preparing their streets for AVs, up from less than 10 percent three years ago; some are also testing AVs. The report states that while AVs are coming, how cities approach it “remains in flux,” stressing the need to prepare for the onset of autonomy. To help cities prepare, the report includes a list of best-practice recommendations, as well as an overview of the approaches taken by six cities across the country: AV shuttles in Arlington, TX; pilot programs in Boston, MA; a RFI on how AVs could benefit existing public transit in Portland, OR; AV testing in Pittsburgh, PA; AV-public transport integration in San Jose, CA; and AV testing in Chandler, AZ.

Waymo-Uber Lawsuit Covered in The New Yorker

A lengthy article in The New Yorker on the Waymo-Uber trial was published online this week, and is due to appear in print in the forthcoming issue. While much of the article is focused on the trial itself and examinations of patent law, there are also details on Anthony Levandowski’s early years at Google, where he was reportedly given leeway by company founder Larry Page in order to get ahead in the AV race. The article states that such actions included Levandowski paying for drivers to map U.S. roads out of his own pocket and buying a fleet of over 100 cars – with Page having to intervene to ensure he was reimbursed.

Uber Valued at $120 Billion in Possible IPO

Reports surfaced this week that Uber has received proposals from Wall Street banks which value the company at as much as $120 billion, ahead of an IPO that could take place in early 2019. The Wall Street Journal reports that figure is nearly double Uber’s valuation in a fundraising round two months ago, and would represent a valuation greater than the market capitalization of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler combined. This timing coincides with Lyft’s IPO ambitions in 2019, which is expected to exceed the $15.1 billion at which it sold shares at privately this year. However, there is no guarantee the public offering will go ahead as planned as IPO markets tend to run hot and cold, and the WSJ reported one source as saying that banks are pitching the earlier listing because of fears the IPO market will cool once more.

Dubai Launches Self-Driving Taxi Service

At the recent GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), unveiled its autonomous taxi service. The RTA’s service will run for the next three months on designated routes in Dubai Silicon Oasis, a tech hub and free-trade zone in the city. The cars have a top speed of 20mph and can fit four passengers, with a safety driver in place who can take over if needed. According to a press release from the Dubai RTA, the autonomous taxi service forms part of the city government’s strategy to convert 25 percent of the total journeys in Dubai into autonomous transit by 2030.