On Episode 529 of the Waves of Tech, we are talking tech and enjoying the industry! Walmart has invested $750 million into Cruise, GM’s self-driving vehicle company, as the retail giant looks to shed some costly delivery services. A horrific crash of a Tesla Model S leaving two persons dead has sparked the debate over the safety of autonomous vehicles on the market. Ingenuity took flight on Mars and became the first aircraft to make a powered and controlled flight on another planet. Amazon has reached an agreement with United Launch Alliance to send over 3,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit as the race from dependable, affordable, and satellite-based Internet heats up.
Walmart Invests Millions in GM
There has been plenty of chatter lately about the growing investment in self-driving cars. Specifically, GM’s Cruise, their self-driving vehicle company, has garnished funding from Walmart to the tune of $750 million. Walmart intends to use Cruise and their fleet of Chevy Bolts to cut out the middleman and middle miles from distribution to store to customer.
- Since the pandemic, delivery service requests have markedly increased in use
- Walmart tracked nearly 700 million miles last year alone which is incredible
- Autonomous transport of goods is an ideal technology to reduce overall costs
- Northwest Louisiana and Arkansas have been testing grounds for Walmart to date
Tesla Tragedy in Texas
With the development of self-driving cars and autonomous travel comes the scary and deadly side of technology. In another event involving a Tesla model, a car lost control of itself while in Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Mode that resulted in two males dying as a result. The car was completely melted to its core causing additional concerns with the progress in the industry.
- Although touted as safe, this technology still needs incredibly more testing overall
- NHTSA sent out their Special Crash Investigation Team to investigate the crash
- Tesla has struggled with addressing the concerns over unmanned vehicle control
- More software, AI, and advancement needs to occur if this is the future
First Flight on Mars
Okay, it finally happened! After a few episodes of chatting about the landing, the potential launch, and the cancelled flight, Ingenuity finally took flight on Mars. What a truly remarkable feat when considering the distance from Earth – travelling nearly 40 seconds, maintaining a stable hover, and maneuvering around the unknown planet.
- “first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet” ~NASA
- Ingenuity flew in an extremely different atmosphere than what exists on Earth
- After a quick data review, the helicopter will hopefully to take flight again on April 22
- What the helicopter captured will inform and hopefully generate plenty of intel
Amazon Partners with ULA
As Blue Origin continues with the building of their heavy-lift rocket New Glenn, Amazon has now signed a contract with United Launch Alliance for nine rocket launches. The deal sends over 3,000 Kuiper satellites into low-Earth orbit as the race for global space-based Internet continues to race forward. They are behind the curve in terms of launches and competition.
- ULA is a joint-venture between Lockheed Martin Space and Boeing Defense & Space
- The Atlas V, a build by the ULA, will initially launch as they develop Vulcan Centaur
- By July 2026, Amazon is required to launch 1,600 of the planned satellites
- The goal is “to make broadband more affordable and more accessible for customers”
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