TECH WEEKLY

June 18, 2021

GM to boost EV and AV investments

General Motors announced that it would increase its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025. The new figure represents a 30% increase over the amount the automaker said it would spend last November, and a 75% increase from its initial investment prior to the pandemic.

The additional money will be used to expand its rollout of EVs and accelerate production of its battery and fuel cell technologies, including two new U.S. battery plants in addition to two under construction.

America’s largest automaker is racing to catch up to EV leader Tesla and compete for a leadership position against other well-established automakers, such as Volkswagen. GM plans to sell more than 1 million EVs annually by 2025.

Beyond building out a large portfolio of new electric models, the automaker has taken a multipronged approach in its quest to lead the EV revolution; it’s investing in two new battery cell plants under its joint venture with LG Chem, dubbed Ultium Cells LLC, and it’s poured funding into Cruise, its autonomous driving arm of which it acquired majority ownership in 2016.

GM also manufactures hydrogen fuel cells under its HYDROTEC joint initiative with Honda. It confirmed Wednesday that it will launch the third-generation HYDROTEC cells by mid-decade. The automaker has partnership agreements with heavy truck developer Navistar and Liebherr-Aerospace, which is developing hydrogen fuel cell power systems for aircraft.
Source: GM

Waymo announces another $2.5 billion in funding

Waymo, Google’s former self-driving project that is now a business unit under Alphabet, said Wednesday it raised $2.5 billion in its second outside funding round. The company said in a blog post it will use the funds to continue growing Waymo Driver, its autonomous driving platform, and growing its team.

The same groups that participated in Waymo’s first external investment are back for this second round, including Waymo’s parent company Alphabet, Andreessen Horowitz, AutoNation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mubadala Investment Company, Perry Creek Capital, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Magna International, Silver Lake, Temasek, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates. The one new participant was Tiger Global.

Waymo announced in March 2020 it raised $2.25 billion in its first external funding round. By July 2020, it said it raised a total of $3.2 billion after an extension of that round. Prior to that, Alphabet supported the business itself, as it does the rest of its “Other Bets,” but the funding move showed Waymo sought even more capital.

Most recently, Waymo has been gearing up for paid rides in San Francisco, pending permit approval from both the California DMV, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In its application, Waymo stated it has logged over 83,000 autonomous miles in the San Francisco area, although its total autonomous miles logged are much higher.
Source: Waymo

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ will return to the PlayStation Store on June 21st

Six months after Sony Interactive Entertainment pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 owners will soon be able to buy the digital version of the game once again. As reported by Eurogamer, CD Projekt Red revealed in a regulatory announcement that Cyberpunk 2077 will be available on the PlayStation Store as of June 21st.

Cyberpunk 2077 was released in December to strong sales but severe technical problems. The game struggled to run on last-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, and players faced numerous bugs on every platform. Microsoft and Sony both offered refunds for the game, and Microsoft added a warning label for Xbox One owners on its Xbox store. Sony took the more drastic step of pulling Cyberpunk 2077 from its PlayStation Store entirely. Console owners could still buy physical discs, but CD Projekt has said that the digital version’s absence may have slowed down sales on Xbox and PC as well as PlayStation.

Sony’s action at the time followed an apology from CD Projekt Red parent company executives, in which CD Projekt management admitted to “not showing the game on base last-gen consoles before it premiered and, in consequence, not allowing you to make a more informed decision about your purchase.”

“We should have paid more attention to making it play better on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One,” read a note signed by Marcin Iwiński, founder of parent company CD Projekt, and its board of directors.
Source: Eurogamer