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CRUISE CONTROLLED

The EV market heats up as new entrants enter the fold

The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is hot, and it’s becoming crowded, especially as both startups and blue-chip companies alike join the fray. Check out Cassandra’s latest roundup of EV news, as all of these firms compete to fully commercialize autonomous vehicles in the very near future.

MICROSOFT TEAMS UP WITH GM’S CRUISE

Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors, is bringing autonomous vehicles to the masses with the help of a $2 billion investment from Microsoft and access to Azure, the tech giant’s cloud computing platform. While Microsoft gets to further entrench itself in the transportation sector (following the company’s existing deal with Wayve), Cruise plans to use Azure to commercialize its vehicles and increase profits. Cruise already had plans to put its Cruise Origin, the company’s driverless, ride-sharing vehicle prototype, into production, but even near-future demand for ride sharing remains uncertain in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

XPENG CHALLENGES TESLA

Chinese electric carmaker Xpeng Motors is preparing to debut Navigation Guided Pilot, an autonomous driving feature designed to work on highways. With NGP, Xpeng’s flagship P7 sedan can automatically adjust speed, change lanes, pass other cars, and enter and exit highways. Drivers need only watch a safety video, enter their destination into the GPS, and keep their hands on the wheel, for NGP will do the rest (with the help of 14 cameras and other sensors placed around the vehicle). Drivers will be warned and can regain full control in the event of emergency or inclement weather. Xpeng expects this new navigation tech to be available in China within the first quarter of 2021, as it strives to take the lead in the Chinese autonomous vehicle market and surpass its top American competitor, Tesla.

MOBILEYE

With a stack of autonomous driving technology and the company’s crowdsourced Road Experience Management (or REM) mapping system, Intel subsidiary Mobileye plans to bring robotaxi services to the masses and deploy its tech to consumer passenger vehicles by 2025. The company announced its plans to launch test fleets in four cities, including Detroit, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo, at this year’s all-virtual CES 2021, and even teased a potential test fleet in NYC pending regulatory approval.