Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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U.S. judge grants partial injunction against Uber in Waymo car case

A U.S. judge granted a partial injunction against Uber Technologies Inc in a high-profile trade secrets case with Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car unit, ordering Uber to promptly return any Waymo files downloaded by a former Waymo engineer. The ruling from U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, said Uber "likely knew" or should have known that the engineer, who now works at Uber, took Waymo materials while Uber was contemplating buying the engineer's company. However, the judge also said few of Waymo's alleged trade secrets have been traced to Uber's self-driving car technology, and that Waymo's patent claims against Uber have proved "meritless." 

[Reuters]

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Lyft partners with Waymo to launch self-driving car pilots

U.S. ride services company Lyft Inc and Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit Waymo have launched a self-driving vehicle partnership, bringing together two rivals to dominant ride-sharing service Uber Technologies Inc.  Lyft, the No. 2 U.S. ride service by ride volume, in a statement said a deal to launch self-driving pilots would accelerate its vision for transportation and Waymo, which is beginning tests of a self-driving car service in Phoenix, said the partnership would let its technology reach "more people, in more places". Neither offered many details of the agreement, which was reported earlier by the New York Times.

[Reuters]

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Partner Aaron Jacoby Quoted in Automotive News on "Maryland limits automakers' sales-effectiveness mandates"

Automotive practice group chair Aaron Jacoby recently spoke with Automotive News about House Bill 1120, which was signed into law on May 5. This Maryland bill fortifies dealers against uniform sales standards, setting rules on how automakers can measure retailer performance in the state.

Aaron, who was involved in advising Maryland state representatives in the drafting of the legislation, said “There's a long laundry list of components that dealers perform to. There's customer satisfaction. There's number of sales, hitting certain performance thresholds.” He went on to say, “Dealers are expected to all be above average -- which is a ridiculous standard, because it's not possible mathematically.”

[Automotive News]
 

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Nvidia says Toyota will use its AI technology for self-driving cars

Nvidia Corp announced a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp, saying the Japanese car maker would use Nvidia's artificial intelligence technology to develop self-driving vehicle systems planned for the next few years. Toyota will use Nvidia's Drive PX artificial intelligence platform for its autonomous vehicles planned for market introduction, Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang said in his opening keynote at the company's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose. Nvidia came to prominence in the gaming industry for designing graphics processing chips, but in recent years has been a key player in the automotive sector for providing the so-called "brain" of the autonomous vehicle.  

[Reuters]

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Prosecutor probes Porsche SE executives over market manipulation allegations

Prosecutors in the German city of Stuttgart are looking into whether several executives at the holding company that controls Volkswagen (VW) manipulated markets by delaying the disclosure of VW's emissions scandal in 2015. The inquiry is similar to one launched by prosecutors last year in Braunschweig, near VW's Wolfsburg headquarters, into current and former VW board members over whether they delayed the release of information about the cheating of diesel emissions tests.  The Stuttgart prosecutor's office declined to give details about its probe, but said it was in response to a complaint from markets regulator BaFin about current and former Porsche Automobil Holding SE board members Matthias Mueller, Hans Dieter Poetsch, Martin Winterkorn and Philipp von Hagen.

[Reuters]

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New York to allow self-driving vehicle testing: governor

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state will allow testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads, potentially leaving perplexed New Yorkers wondering who to flip off when they jaywalk in front of a car without a driver. "We are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways," Cuomo said in a statement. New York is accepting applications from companies interested in testing the vehicles through a year-long pilot program. 

[Reuters]

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VW investors demand faster progress in dieselgate reforms

Volkswagen needs to do more to regain the confidence of investors in the wake of its emissions scandal, despite a swift recovery in earnings, several shareholders told the German carmaker at its annual meeting. The world's largest automaker reported better-than-expected first-quarter profits and has announced a raft of plans to recover from the biggest business crisis in its history, including cost cuts and investment in cleaner cars. But some shareholders said its emissions test cheating on diesel engines would continue to haunt it for years if it did not publish the results of an investigation into the scandal, address outstanding claims and improve corporate governance.

[Reuters]

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What will Trump's Actions at the EPA Mean for other Federal Regulatory Agencies?

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.

[New York Times]

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Industry Interests, Regulatory
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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Signs Bill into Law Preserving the Rights of Auto Dealerships

On Thursday, May 4, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland signed into law a bill which will help preserve the rights of auto dealerships throughout the state when dealing with auto manufacturers. The new law provides that key performance metrics for new motor vehicle dealers must consider local demographic and geographic limitations, among other fairness requirements. This new law redefines the often-contested issue of primary market area analysis and changes the standards for measuring and comparing dealer performance. As a nationally recognized authority in this area, Arent Fox Automotive Group leader Aaron Jacoby provided technical assistance to the bill's sponsors, including State Representatives David Fraser-Hidalgo and Dana Stein, as they developed their proposed legislation.

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Waymo Calls Uber's OttoMotto Buy A Tech-Theft Conspiracy

Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo asked a California federal judge Wednesday to block Uber from developing self-driving car technology, saying it conspired with a former Waymo engineer, agreeing to buy his company OttoMotto months before it was even formed — and before he left Waymo with 14,000 allegedly stolen documents in tow.

[Law360]

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ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP

Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.