May 19, 2020

Which tech company is leading the driverless car battle?

Driverless cars
Apple driverless cars
Tesla driverless cars
Baidu driverless cars
Catherine Rowell
3 min
Which tech company is leading the driverless car battle?

Since 2016, the subject of driverless cars has been picking up speed within the technological sphere, with companies such as Uber, Apple and Google all competing to deliver sophisticated technologies which will enable the creation and development of driverless cars of the future, but also improve road safety. The US has become a hotbed, where San Francisco, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, amongst many more regions, are now enabling autonomous test cars on their streets, with Portland and Sacramento not far behind. Demand for driverless vehicles is high, adding to the increased competition and conflict between tech giants, who all aim to become the first to release this ground-breaking invention.

Uber vs Google

This year has not been good for Uber, with countless controversies and senior figures walking out of its doors. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick is struggling to claw back both his credibility and ability to lead, amongst issues of dissent and conflict between employees and management, sexism claims and hostility towards Uber drivers.

Nonetheless, the company, like many others, are continually working on driverless technology, but even this area has been subject of controversy for the company. Not only has Uber been responsible for a crash in Arizona last month, the company are also subject to an ongoing lawsuit by Waymo, part of Google’s parent company Alphabet. Waymo have stated that a former employee at the company, Anthony Levandowski stole over 10,000 confidential documents detailing Google’s technologies upon departing the company to join Uber.

However, Google is not only suing Uber, but has recently hired Holland & Knight in a new lobbying firm to oversee and revise essential policies regarding driverless vehicles in response to the Trump Administration's review surrounding current guidelines regarding the technology.

Despite their troubles, Uber is continuing with their ongoing work and is hiring an increasing number of engineers to undertake this task. Spokesmen for Uber Craig Ewer confirmed to Quartz, “We’re continuing to recruit the top minds in AI, robotics and engineering as we ramp up our investment in self-driving technology.”

Tesla vs Baidu

Not content with developing cars, or the world’s first ‘hyperloop’ transportation system, Tesla has been increasingly working to develop driverless vehicles, and undergoing testing on San Francisco and California roads, alongside tech giant Apple. The company has recently launched its v8.1 software update, signifying its progression and ambition to “test drive a fully-autonomous car from Los Angeles to New York” this year, according to Tech Republic. The company is aiming to expand into the Chinese auto market, and has recently gained a significant investor, Tencent Holdings, who has acquired a five percent stake in the company for nearly $2 billion.

However, Tesla is aiming to yet will face increasing competition from companies such as Baidu, who has circulated its driverless car technology, named Apollo, to challenge US competitors and become an essential tool within the development of driverless vehicles. The company’s acquisition of US company xPerception further cements their future ambitions to become a key player in the autonomous vehicle market.

Apple – keeping to the side-line

Named ‘Project Titan,’ it is not surprising that Apple is keeping their progress surrounding driverless vehicles under wraps, but it is rumoured that over a thousand employees are working on Apple’s technologies within this space. A letter from Steve Kenner, Apple’s Director of Product Integrity, stated to the Head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”

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Jun 10, 2021

G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve

3 min
Business Chief delves into what the G7 is and represents and what its 2021 summit hopes to achieve

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration. 


Who are the G7?

The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like. 

The merry band comprises:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.


Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda. 


When was the ‘G’ formed?

Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s. 


Why does the G7 exist?

At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted. 


The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability. 


It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations. 


Where is the 2021 G7 summit?

This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall. 

What will be discussed this year? 

After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”


The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values. 


According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.” 


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