Uber Sells Self-Driving Unit; Apple Announces AirPods Max Over Ear Headphones; Dish-$210 Million Telemarketing Fine; Mercedes May Bring eSprinter to US

Uber is exiting the self-driving biz. The company has sold Uber ATG to startup Aurora (backed by Sequoia Capital and Amazon) for $10 billion. Techcrunch.com reports that the deal isn a complicated one which includes NO cash. It will give the combined company a valuation of the $10 billion. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will take a board seat in the newly expanded Aurora. Aurora intends to bring autonomous trucks to market before other vehicles, but they are still planning to enter the robotaxi market with their full self-driving stack later on. 

No big dog-and-pony show at the spaceship campus in Cupertino streamed over the net, but Apple today announced the AirPods Max Over Ear headphones with noise cancellation. According to macrumors.com, they will sell for…are you sitting down? $549…yes, that’s just for the cans! They are available for order today, and feature high-fidelity audio (one would hope for THAT price!), Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio. The pricey cans will ship December 15th. You can choose from 5 colors: space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. 

Dish Network just got whacked by the DOJ to the tune of $210 million for telemarketing violations. The Department of Justice posted that it will include $126 million in civil penalties, and $84 million to four states for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The case was filed clear back in 2009 and went to trial in 2016….but was just settled. The states are California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio. The suit had claimed that Dish made millions of unlawful telemarketing calls..some 66 million in fact. They were also charged with getting retailers to make even more telemarketing calls. 

Mercedes announced an eSprinter for the Euro market earlier this year, but with no plans for a US model. The reason for no US model was supposedly limited range. Now, cnet.com reports that Stuttgart is considering rolling out a US model in 2023. It appears the US model would be beefed up with a 120 kWh battery to increase range, The Euro one on sale now only has a 55 kWh battery pack. Ford’s planned electric cargo van only has a 55 kWh pack right now. Amazon has ordered 100,000 e-vans from startup Rivian, and Mercedes is no doubt looking at the expanding delivery market here a lot more positively now. 


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