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Waymo and Daimler are teaming up to build fully driverless semi trucks

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Waymo and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced that they are forming a “broad, global, strategic partnership” to deploy fully driverless trucks. Daimler will integrate Waymo’s autonomous driving technology, widely considered to be among the best in the world, into its fleet of heavy-duty Freightliner Cascadia semi-trailer trucks.

Both Waymo and Daimler were independently working on self-driving trucks until coming together to form this partnership. Waymo had purchased a small fleet of Peterbilt trucks, which it has retrofitted with autonomous driving sensors and software. It currently is testing those trucks in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Meanwhile, Daimler announced it was working on its own self-driving big rig in 2015 when it showed off a working prototype called the Freightliner Inspiration Truck. The automaker went big, debuting the truck on the Hoover Dam and offering test rides at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, Daimler showed off a production version of that prototype truck.

Image: Daimler

There’s been a flurry of partnerships and other corporate deals in recent months in the nascent driverless trucking industry, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic casts doubt on the long-term viability of using autonomous vehicles for ride-sharing. In addition to established players like Daimler, newcomers like TuSimple, Ike, Embark, and Plus.ai are also working toward a fully driverless truck.

But there have been potholes along the way. Uber abandoned its self-driving truck plans after one of its autonomous test vehicles killed a pedestrian in Arizona, and self-driving truck startup Starsky Robotics recently went out of business after a failed round of funding.

A Daimler spokesperson offered more details about what the company’s partnership with Waymo will entail:

Daimler Trucks is developing a customized Freightliner Cascadia truck chassis with redundant systems for Waymo, setting the industry standard in reliability and safety. This chassis will enable the integration of the Waymo Driver with its custom, scalable combination of hardware, software, and compute.

The companies say the goal is to deploy “SAE L4 trucks,” a reference to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) taxonomy for autonomous vehicles, commonly referred to as the SAE levels, which have become the global standard for defining self-driving. Level 4, or L4, vehicles can operate without a human driver behind the wheel but only within a specific geographic location, on a certain type of roadway, or under specific conditions, like good weather. Waymo has some Level 4 vehicles in operation outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

But the deal between Waymo and Daimler won’t be exclusive. Daimler is the fifth automaker to commit to integrating Waymo’s AV technology in its vehicles. The Alphabet subsidiary also has preexisting agreements with Nissan-Renault, Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volvo. Daimler’s trucking division also has its own self-driving subsidiary, Torc Robotics, that is working to integrate its technology into the Cascadia’s line of trucks.

“Daimler Trucks’ and Torc’s integrated self-driving product will be designed for on-highway hub-to-hub applications, especially for long-distance, monotonous transport between distribution centers,” the Daimler spokesperson said.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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