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EMAILED ON September 12, 2017 BY THE HUSTLE

Car talk

GM puts the pedal to the metal with autonomous car production

GM and Cruise, a self-driving startup they acquired last year, just announced they’re ready to start pumping out autonomous vehicles en masse. Pending the required software and regulatory progress, that is.

Large-scale production of self-driving cars has been a major challenge for tech companies, who are great at developing software but don’t have the massive infrastructure as old-school auto manufacturers. Luckily for Cruise, GM’s in their corner.

And the good news is, regulations are making headway: the House of Representatives just passed a bill through to the Senate, which would legalize autonomous vehicle testing on a federal level, rather than making companies battle lawmakers for approval on a state-by-state basis.

At Tesla, the battery updates you

Or something like that… On Saturday, Tesla remotely extended the battery capacity of all cars in the evacuation areas for Hurricane Irma. How’d they service every car last minute in the face of an emergency?

They didn’t have to. See, the Model S and Model X are sold with 2 tiers of battery ranges, but to upgrade your rig, all the company has to do is lift a software lock on the battery.

Traditionally, drivers have had to physically go to a licensed dealership to update software like their GPS maps, or XM radio. But Tesla ain’t about that life. Instead, they push software updates remotely (like Apple does for your laptop, phone, etc.) — pretty sweet, and only semi-creepy.

China may be outlawing the ol’ station wagon

And ban any other cars that run on fossil fuels, in an attempt to improve air quality in densely populated cities like Shanghai and Beijing, which are also some of the most polluted in the world.

However, China has at least 160m cars on its roads right now, and swapping them all for electric vehicles isn’t going to happen overnight.

The country has pledged to build 12k charging stations by 2020, and the ban isn’t likely to go into effect until at least 2040. So, only 23 more years of smog for city dwellers…