Autonomous Cars with Marc Hoag podcast

#191-7/11 charging stations; Cruise passenger rides; Volvo XC90 with Level 4 Lidar

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Today: 7/11 installs EV charging stations; Cruise starts driverless passenger rides; Volvo announces a Lidar-equipped Level 4 XC90 for 2022. All this... right now.

7/11 chargers

They're not quite Super Gulp Slurpies -- or whatever 7/11 calls its diabetes-inducing ambrosia these days -- but 7/11 is indeed moving forward with a plan to install some 500 chargers at their various stores across the US. This is a pretty great idea if only to entice folks to stop and buy up more junk food from their stores, except for one problem: the chargers are likely supplied by ChargePoint, which means fairly meager speeds; and considering the average stop at a 7/11 is perhaps five minutes or so, the actual value to an EV owner is next to none, so I'm not sure how this is going to play out for 7/11 down the road.

Cruise starts driverless passenger rides

Cruise has finally received the appropriate permits to start passenger rides with its driverless test vehicles, but crucially, the rides cannot yet be for revenue service until their receive yet additional permits. In contrast, for instance, Nuro is able to do for-revenue deliveries with its little delivery bots, but this is because they're transporting packages and food, not human passengers. Still, this is a great and exciting next step for Cruise.

Volvo's L4 Lidar-equipped 2022 XC90

I've been a fan of Volvo and its impressive Vision2020 mission to eliminate human death or serious injury in all Volvo vehicles, not to mention Volvo's push towards an electric, autonomous future; the next-gen XC90 aims to be their first big step in this direction. The 2022 XC90 SUV will come with Lidar as standard -- a first in the industry, and a really big deal -- and be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving on highways (regulation permitting, and with a software update to activate).

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