Tesla, Volkswagen, Google Just Made These Moves In The Future Of Autos
Tesla (TSLA) has snapped up an automation specialist to speed up manufacturing, Volkswagen (VLKAY) unveiled a pact that may help it in the race toward electrified, self-driving cars, and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Waymo crossed a key threshold in autonomy.
XAutoplay: On | OffTesla has agreed to buy privately held Perbix Machine, a Minnesota-based supplier of highly automated and high-volume manufacturing equipment. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The electric car maker said the Perbix acquisition “further advances its efforts to turn the factory itself into a product — to build the machine that makes the machine.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week pushed back production goals for the mass-market Model 3, which is key to the company’s ambition to move beyond a niche market for luxury electric cars. Musk now expects to hit a target of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week in the first quarter of 2018. Tesla had earlier intended to hit that goal in the current quarter.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen announced Tuesday that it will team up with Alphabet to explore the use of quantum computers in three emerging mobility areas: traffic optimization; material simulations, especially for high-performance batteries for electric vehicles; and machine learning, which is key to the development of advanced AI systems that underpin autonomous driving.
“Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics,” said Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group.
Shares of Tesla closed up 1.1% at 306.05 on the stock market today and sits more than 20% below a September high. Volkswagen lost 1.45%, while Alphabet advanced 0.9% as shares regain momentum from an October flat-base breakout past 1,008.71. General Motors (GM) shed 1% as it continues to test its 50-day moving average. Ford Motor (F) fell 1.4% and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) gave up 1.4%, with both stocks struggling to enter buy zones.
Also on Tuesday, Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving unit said it will soon test a robo-taxi service without any safety personnel behind the wheel.
The move would it make it the first self-driving pilot program to give up a human driver who can take over in emergencies, a radical step forward in efforts to take autonomous cars mainstream.