Waymo to Build Self-Driving Cars in Michigan; Apple Will Ditch LCD Screens by 2020; Hulu Drops Lower Tier Price; Boeing Tests Autonomous Passenger Aircraft

Waymo has received approval for a factory in Michigan to build driverless cars. Engadget.com says the Alphabet-owned company will produce nothing but level 4 autonomous vehicles in the factory. The location hasn’t been announced any further than ’Southeastern Michigan.’ Waymo may start off by building autonomous packages for other manufacturers’ vehicles…as they have furnished to Fiat Chrysler and Jaguar. They haven’t given any timeline yet for when the first fully autonomous car will roll off the line.

Apple will drop LCD displays all together in 2020. Businessinsider.com reports that the displays, which are used on lower priced iPhones at this point, will all be replaced by OLED screens like the iPhone XS and XS Max. It’s not clear what this will mean for the pricing on the less expensive XR, which has had an LCD screen, but that phone would have probably gotten a price bump anyway next fall…it’s due to get a second rear cam. Apple has been a major customer of Japan Display for the LCD screens. Now, that company is considering selling itself to Chinese and Taiwanese investors. Japan Display has been partly owned and mostly funded by the Japanese government.

In the wake of Netflix raising prices, Hulu has dropped its base, ad-supported subscription plan to $5.99 a month. According to theverge.com, the drop form $7.99 will be effective February 26th. Hulu has done $5.99 before, but only as a temporary promotion. They say there will be no increase in ad volume. The $11.99 a month commercial free plan will stay as-is, and the $12.99 Hulu/Spotify combo will as well…that one is billed by Spotify. Hulu IS raising prices for its LIVE TV service…that will go groom $39.99 to $44.99. As for what happens when Disney takes majority ownership of Hulu…anyone’s guess, but Disney isn’t exactly famous for lowering prices!

Boeing has successfully test flown the prototype for their autonomous passenger aircraft. Geekwire.com says they could start carrying riders as soon as next year. It’s an electric powered, vertical take off and landing vehicle. The initial flight was just a take off, hover, and landing. Next, they will test winged, forward flight. Switching from VTOL to forward flight mode is considered the most tricky part for high speed VTOL aircraft. The initial craft is 30 feet long and 28 feet wide, and has 8 rotors for vertical lift and a tail rotor to help with forward flight. It is designed to fly fully automatically with a maximum range of 50 miles right now. Boeing says they are testing both two and four passenger models.


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