Rivian Guardian Mode EVs; TikTok Looks to Move HQ From China; GM SteeringWheel-Less Cars; IBM Developing New Battery

Electric vehicle maker Rivian has patented a so-called ‘Guardian’ mode for its upcoming SUVs. The mode would allow for transporting, for example, kids to school in a driverless EV. According to electrek.co, the passengers couldn’t open windows or doors without permission from a parent…or unbuckle a seat belt. In addition, the mode would ‘geofence’ the vehicle, and route it through a safe route. Should a child or other try to open a door, unfasten seat belt, or the like, the parent gets an SMS message. If it’s ok, the parent can approve that from their phone, or deny it. It will also send a notice that the vehicle is not moving. 

Of late, TikTok has gotten heat for its closeness to the Chinese government. Now, Businessinsider.com reports that they are looking to build a new headquarters outside of China. Some US senators have been calling for investigation of censorship by the app, and many believe it can be used as spyware by the Chinese government. TikTok parent ByteDance is looking at Singapore, London, and Dublin as possible sites for the new HQ. The company has refused to say why it wants to move, except in a statement saying “We have been very clear that the best way to compete in markets around the globe is to empower local teams… TikTok has steadily built out its management in the countries where it operates.”

GM is talking to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to test a number of self-driving vehicles on public roads. That’s happening all the time with a number of companies. The difference here? Cnet.com says GM wants the self-driving Bolt EVs running the Cruise self-driving automation to have NO steering wheel or pedals! Are you nervous yet? The NHTSA is still reviewing the request. Waymo, the division of Google Parent Alphabet that deals with self-driving vehicles, has been running some self-driving minivans in Arizona…those, however, still have steering wheels and pedals. The Waymo minivans have been running lately without safety drivers. 

Most batteries since the old lead acid and dry cells have used some sort of heavy metals. The most widely used tech today is the lithium-ion battery formulation. Now, according to zdnet.com, IBM Research says it has come up with a battery design that doesn’t use heavy metals and which can out perform lithium-ion in several ways. The tech uses a cobalt and nickel free cathode material along with a safe liquid electrolyte which has a high flash point. This combo reduces flammability in batteries, and minimizes growth of lithium metal dendrites during charging. Big Blue claims it has more sustainability and better performance. It’s also a huge deal to avoid the sourcing problems of heavy metals, the largest easily mineable supply of which is in China. A big plus…the battery can charge to 80% in less than 5 minutes!


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