Possible 10 New US Chip Factories; Apple WWDC in 2 Weeks; Peloton Factory Coming to US, Musk Backtracks-Tesla Deal for Lidar

After the pandemic has made a hash of worldwide supply chains for over a year, more firms are looking at bringing manufacturing back to the US. Now, Reuters reports that US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in Senate testimony that a boost of $52 billion in government funding for semiconductor production and research could sprout 10 new US factories. Of course, Senator Bernie Sanders whined about giving money to the rich tech sector….but 10 new US factories would employ a decent number of US employees in good paying jobs, and that is nothing to sneeze at. Considering the global chip shortage that has hampered the auto industry’s comeback, in addition to the computer and electronic devices that have had to throttle back production, it seems like a worthwhile expenditure. In 1990, the US made 37% of semiconductors and microelectronics. Today that number is around 12%.

Apple WWDC is less than 2 weeks away, kicking off with a keynote on June 7th at 10AM Pacific. According to zdnet.com, Cupertino should preview iOS 15, iPad OS 15, WatchOS 8, MacOS 12, and TVOS 15. Other than that, the biggest rumor to seep out so far is a major redesign to the PAD OS home screen, which will let users put widgets anywhere, like iOS users can do. The invite features several Memoji faces, and the tag line….’And away we go.’ If not a purposeful one, that’s at least an inadvertent hat tip to the Great One, the late Jackie Gleason…who used to start every show with that line. 

Despite the fallout from a death and some 70 injuries involving its treadmills lately, Peloton is moving to build its first dedicated factory in the US. Cnet.com says the Peloton Output Park will make the Bike, Bile Plus, and Tread products. the plant will be in Wood County, Ohio. It should employ around 2,000 workers when finished, and will operate using renewable energy sources. Peloton said that the pandemic has “demonstrated the need to on-shore manufacturing and rebuild supply chains.” The factory will be up and running by 2023. 

After bad-mouthing lidar earlier as a ‘crutch’ a while back, Elon Musk has backtracked. Theverge.com reports that Tesla has partnered up with Luminar to use lidar for ‘testing and developing.’ It seems logical to add lidar to the mix…cameras alone won’t really get us to full self-driving. In fact, it may take a cocktail of cameras, lidar, and radar…plus the computers in car interacting with other nearby vehicles…to really make that dream come true. Lidar units have been spotted lately on a Model Y, a Cybertruck prototype, and another Tesla model…all with Tesla manufacturer license tags. 


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