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Waymo and Uber Settle Trade Secret Lawsuit

On the fifth day of trial over alleged trade secret misappropriation, Waymo and Uber announced that they had reached a settlement, and the case was dismissed with prejudice. According to reports, as part of the settlement, Waymo obtained an equity stake in Uber, valued at approximately $245 million. The settlement encompasses both hardware and software trade secrets.
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Driverless Vehicles and Real Estate

The advent of self-driving cars will certainly transform transportation and, in turn, the auto insurance market. But other industries are also likely to be affected by self-driving technology. A recent article contends that once driverless cars come into use, real estate may no longer be “all about location, location, location.” The ability to commute in autonomous vehicles may drive sprawl, as workers will be able to do other things on their way to work. Some believe that urban space may be freed by decreased need for parking lots (though presumably even driverless cars will need to be...
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Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Auto Innovation

This week, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a field hearing on “Driving Automotive Innovation and Federal Policies.” Chairman John Thune gave the opening statement, stating that automated vehicles and new business models, driven by technological advancements, are “poised to enable substantial growth.” Chairman Thune pointed to various benefits of these developments, including safety, new jobs, reduced traffic congestion, and increased mobility for disabled and elderly Americans. Chairman Thune also recognized the economic impact of...
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D.C. Department of Insurance to Hold Public Hearing on Insurance Premiums

On January 30, 2018, the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking is expected to hold a public hearing to cover a variety of issues impacting private auto insurance, including topics like price optimization and the use of credit scores in underwriting. More broadly, the hearing is intended to examine the causes of recent increases in auto insurance premium rates in D.C., and to identify ways to improve costs, provide greater transparency, and increase the availability of auto insurance. The Department also aims to hear comments regarding  price optimization and rating models....
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Your Self-Driving Pizza Is on the Way

Pizza Hut and Toyota have announced a partnership to develop fully autonomous delivery vehicles. The self-driving concept vehicle shown at the Consumer Electronics Show could support pizza delivery or even pizza making, potentially serving as a “mobile kitchen.” Pizza Hut has suggested that driverless vehicles could also open a door to job opportunities for people who do not own vehicles. In the meantime, Pizza Hut and Toyota will also test dual communication technology that allows Pizza Hut to capture data on its delivery drivers’ patterns and behaviors. Domino’s Pizza, too, has been...
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Some Predictions for Auto Insurance in 2018

The CEO of telematics company TrueMotion recently predicted that 2018 would see some changes in the auto insurance industry. He predicts that customer experience will become paramount for insurance companies, likely meaning a change in claims, among other things. Carriers will increase their use of usage-based insurance and mobile telematics. And “consumers, regulators, and insurers” will do more to try to reduce distracted driving. He also questions the timeframe in which connected and self-driving cars would hit the market, but predicts that auto insurers will begin looking to smartphone...
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NHTSA Says Canadian Cars Meeting Canadian Safety Standards Can Be Imported to the US

The NHTSA recently issued a notice of a final decision to allow Canadian-made vehicles that comply with Canadian standards—but which do not comply with US safety standards—can be imported into the US. The decision applies to a variety of Canadian vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2017, and extends through September 1, 2022. The specific manufacturers or models have not yet been identified, only the applicable safety features. The applicable safety features include transmission sequence requirements, windshield defrosting and defogging systems, tire selections, rollaway...
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Waymo Must Show “Actual Use” In Trial Against Uber

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in the Northern District of California recently issued revised jury instructions in advance of the February trial between Waymo and Uber regarding trade secret misappropriation—specifically, the use of Waymo’s self-driving car technology. The proposed jury instructions require Waymo to prove actual use of the trade secrets, as opposed to merely proving that Uber had acquired the trade secrets. Judge Alsup’s order, which goes against Waymo’s argument in November that acquisition is sufficient, suggests that the instructions should explicitly state that the...
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Aurora Innovation, Driverless Car Start-Up, Announces Transactions with Hyundai and VW

Both VW and Hyundai have announced deals with Aurora Innovation, a driverless car start-up from a former Tesla Autopilot program director.  Although there were few details released about the nature of the deals, both VW and Hyundai have expressed a desire to roll out their autonomous vehicles. Hyundai, for example, has said that it is aiming for a roll-out of autonomous vehicles by the start of 2020. Similarly, VW’s Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth stated in a release: “Working with Aurora—the original experts and world leaders in self-driving system—will give us a giant leap forward...
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Waymo Driverless Ride-Hailing Service Will Insure Passengers Through Insurance Tech Start-Up

Waymo LLC recently announced that it will use Trov Inc., a five-year old insurance start-up, to insure riders using its driverless ride-hailing service. Waymo, which is the autonomous car unit of Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent), is hoping to beat others in the auto and ride-hailing industry to introduce its fleet of driverless vehicles; Waymo CEO stated in November 2017 that they were aiming to offer rides in driverless vehicles “in the next few months.” Through Trov’s usage-based insurance, Waymo riders will be insured for lost property and for injuries. Specifically, Trov developed a...
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Autonomous Vehicles and Transit

In a recent interview, the CEO of Bridgestone Americas discussed the future of autonomous vehicles. Gordon Knapp noted that “it’s going to take a long time to reach that tipping point where we’re in this ‘autonomous mecca’”—and that the shift to driverless cars would likely “play out over decades.” He also noted that driverless vehicle technology might be adopted more quickly in the commercial context, such as mining. In addition, Mr. Knapp praised the transit plan proposed by the mayor of Nashville, TN and acknowledged that autonomous vehicles might not solve all transit issues. His...
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RAND: Don’t Make the Perfect the Enemy of the Good

Researchers with the RAND Corporation have suggested that putting autonomous vehicles on the road before they are perfect can save lives. The researchers developed a model to estimate the number of lives saved or lost under 500 scenarios. The scenarios differed based on eight factors, including when driverless cars were introduced, how quickly they were adopted by consumers, and how they improved over time. According to this analysis, introducing automated vehicles when they are slightly safer than the average human would save some 500,000 more lives than waiting to introduce such vehicles...
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Delphi buys Autonomous Vehicle Company Nutonomy for $400 million

Delphi Automotive announced it is purchasing the self-driving car company Nutonomy for $450 million. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Karl Iagnemma and Dr. Emilio Frazzoli, Nutonomy is Boston-based company that develops autonomous vehicle technology.  In discussing the purchase, Delphi Chief Technology Officer Glen De Vos noted that Delphi wants to be a leader in autonomous vehicles but sees the technology accelerating first in the commercial space and then bleeding over into consumer vehicles over time.  By buying Nutonomy, De Vos sees Delphi gaining a significant advantage in intellectual property...
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Tesla Strikes Deal with Liberty Mutual On Custom Insurance Package

Tesla recently announced a deal with Liberty Mutual to create a customized insurance package for its electric vehicles.  The new plan, called InsureMyTesla,  was designed specifically for Tesla vehicles and provide overall lower insurance costs by factoring in the vehicles’ Autopilot safety features and maintenance costs. Tesla launched the package on October 13 in the US in all 50 states, but  a variation of the package also exists in 20 other countries through partnerships with different insurance companies across the globe.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found...
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