Daimler Self Driving Trucks Hit US Road; Tesla-New Battery Could Last a Million Miles; Amazon Career Day in 6 Cities; Google Maps Learns New Waze

Daimler, the Mercedes-Benz parent, has started testing autonomous big rigs on Virginia highways. According to venturebeat.com, the semis are outfitted in conjunction with Torc Robotics, a startup in which Mercedes recently acquired majority stake. The Freightliner Cascadias are retrofitted with arrays of lira sensors, cameras, and radar…not to mention Torc’s self-driving software. As has been true in other over the road tests, there are trained drivers and engineers aboard just in case. Right now, Daimler says the rigs are classified as level 4, which is defined by the SAE as capable of operating with limited human oversight under select conditions. Daimler Trucks of North America has owned the Freightliner brand since the 1980’s. There are at least 4 other companies working on self-driving for semi trucks, so expect to see more of them fanning out across the country.

A researcher named Jeff Dahn and his team have been doing battery research for Tesla. Now, electrek.co reports they have released test results for an impressive new battery cell that they claim will go a million miles. That’s two to three times the life of the present Tesla battery cells. The new battery tested is a Li-Ion battery cell with a next-generation “single crystal” NMC cathode and a new advanced electrolyte. Tesla sees these as being ideal for ‘robo-taxis,’ which they believe will be a big market in the future. Tesla is also moving to manufacture its own cells, instead of relying on Panasonic, which could also be a big boost for the company.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em (or maybe both), it’s hard to argue with the success of Amazon. Now. geekwire.com says the company will hold Career Days on September 17th to try to fill more than 30,000 available jobs in the company…including warehouse workers, retail jobs and high-tech positions. For reference, 30,000 is about the number of jobs at the Kroger Company! The job fair will also include help for people looking to start their own businesses using Amazon platforms. Amazon presently has a headcount of some 653,000 people!

Google has ported over a couple handy new features from its Waze platform to Google Maps. Bgr.com notes that they are Street View support on Android and weather info on iOS. Now, they are going to add more, as Google Maps becomes more Waze-like. Incident reports and more public transit info are coming, and even the ability to save a user’s preferred public transit options for quick access. Google is cleaning up the interface, too. There will be just 6 notification groups instead of nine. Each is customizable by the user.

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