Transportation Weekly: Amazons secret acquisition and all the AV feels

Welcome to Transportation Weekly; I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, elderly transportation reporter at TechCrunch. I include all the ways parties and goods move from Moment A to Point B — today and in the future — whether it’s by bike, bus, scooter, gondola, civilize, truck, robotaxi or rocket. Sure, let’s include hyperloop and eVTOLs, or air taxis, too.

Yup, another transportation newsletter. But I predict this one will be different. Here’s how.

Newsletters can be great media for curated news — a target that rounds up all the important essays a book might have missed in any rendered week. We want to do a bit more.

We’re double-dealing down on the analysis and supplementing a heaping scoop of original the declaration and well, dollops. You can expect Q& As with the most interesting parties in transportation, insider tips-off and data from that white paper you didn’t have time to read. This isn’t a lone effort either. TechCrunch elderly reporter Megan Rose Dickey, who has been writing about micromobility since before the scooter spurt meters of 2017, will be weighing in each week in our” Tiny but mighty mobility” slouse below. Follow her @meganrosedickey.

Consider this a soft launch. There might be content you like or something you hate. Feel free are to achieve me at kirsten.korosec @techcrunch. com to share those judges, minds or tips.

Eventually, we’ll have a space for readers to sign up and have Transportation Weekly delivered every week via email. For now, “re coming with me” on Twitter @kirstenkorosec to ensure you see it each week.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff.


ONM …

There are OEMs in the automotive macrocosm. And now,( wait for it) there are ONMs — original report manufacturers.


This is where investigative reporting, enterprise segments and analysis on transportation will live.

We predicted dollops in Transportation Weekly and here is one. If you don’t know reporter Mark Harris, you are able to. He’s an gallant gumshoeing reporter whom TechCrunch has been lucky enough to hire as a freelance. Follow him @meharris.

Amazon softly acquired robotics company Dispatch to construct Scout

dispatch-amazon-scout
Remember way back in January when Amazon pioneered Scout, their autonomous delivery bot? There was surmise at the time that Amazon had bought the Estonian-based firm Starship Technologies. Harris did some investigating and discovered some of intellectual property rights and technology behind Scout likely came from a small San Francisco startup announced Dispatch that Amazon stealthily acquired in 2017.

It’s time to stop thinking about Amazon as really an e-commerce firm. It’s a gargantuan logistics company, likely the biggest on the planet, with a keen interest — and the money to haunt those interests — in automation. Believe beyond Scout. In point, stroll on down this post to the treat of the week.


Dig In

Each week, transportation weekly will expend a little extra epoch on an coming, programme, tech or the people behind it in our” Dig In” section. We’ll run the occasional editorial now, too.

This week features a conversation with Dmitri Dolgov, the CTO and VP of engineering at Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet.

waymo-google-10-years

Ten years ago, right around now, about a dozen architects started working on Project Chauffeur, which would turn into the Google self-driving assignment and eventually become an official company announced Waymo. Along the behavior, the project would give rise to a number of high-profile designers who would go on to create their own companies. It’s a list that will cover Aurora co-founder Chris Urmson, Argo AI co-founder Bryan Salesky and Anthony Levandowski, who helped launch Otto and most recently Pronto.ai.

What might be less known is that many of those working in the original dozen are still at Waymo, including Dolgov, Andrew Chatham, Dirk Haehnel, Nathaniel Fairfield and Mike Montemerlo.

Dolgov and I talked about the early days, challenges and what’s next. A couple of things stood out during our chat…

There is a huge difference between having a prototype that can do something once or twice or four times versus improving a make that people can start using in their daily lives. And it is, especially in this field, very easy to move forward on these kinds of one-off challenges.

Dolgov’s take on how operators considered the potential of the project 10 years ago …

I too use our autoes every day to get around, this is how I got to work today. This is how I flow errands around here in Mountain View and Palo Alto.


A little fowl …

We hear a lot. But we’re not greedy. Let’s share.
blinky-cat-birdAn early investor, or investors, in Bird appear to be selling some of their shares in the scooter company, per a tip-off backed up by data over at secondary trading scaffold EquityZen. That’s not crazy considering the company is valued at$ 2 billion-ish. Seed investors should take some fund off the counter once a company contacts that valuation.

We’ve heard that David Sacks at Craft Ventures hasn’t sold a single Bird share. We examine Tusk Ventures hasn’t sold, either. That leaves a few others, including Goldcrest Capital, which was the lone seed investor, and then Series A members Lead Edge Capital, M13, and Valor Equity Partners.

Got a tip or overheard something in the nations of the world of transportation? Email me or send a direct sense to @kirstenkorosec.

While you’re over at Twitter, check out this cheeky detail @SDElevator. We can’t guarantee how much of the content is actually “overheard” and how much is invented for the roars, but it’s a fun account to peruse from time to time.

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