Apr 12, 2021

GM-backed Cruise robotaxis to operate in Dubai from 2023

electricvehicles
Microsoft
Cloud
Dubai
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Cruise robotaxis to be launched in Dubai from 2023 and ramped up to 4,000 cars by 2030
Cruise robotaxis to be launched in Dubai from 2023 and ramped up to 4,000 cars by 2030...

Futuristic-loving Dubai is teaming up with General Motors to introduce Cruise self-driving taxis in the city from 2023 and become the first to operate the vehicles outside the US.

It plans to ramp up the vehicles, which have been operating in San Francisco, to 4,000 cars by 2030.

In a statement, it said the move supports Dubai’s 2030 vision for self-driving technology, as the emirate seeks to reduce transportation costs by AED900 million a year and save AED1.5 billion a year by reducing environmental pollution by 12 per cent.

It added that it would generate AED18 billion annually by increasing the efficiency of the city's transport sector.

Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, saidt he selection of Cruise was not taken lightly and it engage in a comprehensive, multi-year process to choose the best possible partner. 

"Cruise’s technology, resources, purpose-built vehicle, automaker partnerships, approach to safe testing and deployment and strategy give them the ability to launch safely and faster than any other company," he said. 

Vehicles collect petabyte-scale data daily from sensors, complementing ML, AI and robotic technology. 

In January, Cruise and General Motors entered into a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles, leveraging Azure, its cloud and edge computing platform (click here). 

Microsoft will join General Motors, Honda and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of Cruise to $30 billion.

"Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. "As Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream."  

Share article

Apr 23, 2021

Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition

Drax
Biomass
Sustainability
BECCS
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Drax is advancing biomass following Pinnacle acquisition it reported in a trading update

Drax' recently completed acquisition of Pinnacle more than doubles its sustainable biomass production capacity and significantly reduces its cost of production, it reported in a trading update.

The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.

The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).

Drax CEO Will Gardiner said its Q1 performance had been "robust", supported by the sale of Drax Generation Enterprise, which holds four CCGT power stations, to VPI Generation.

This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.

In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.

The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.

Share article