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Founder And CEO Of GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit Resigns In Wake Of Safety Problems

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Kyle Vogt, the CEO of GM self-driving car division Cruise, resigned late Sunday. His retirement came the day after he apologized to the unit’s employees for issues that prompted state and federal regulators to take action following a string of mishaps.

It’s a quick turnaround for the business, which only three months ago received a license to run its driverless taxis 24/7 in San Francisco and announced ambitions to expand to other US cities. A month ago, it announced a collaboration with Honda to bring robotaxis to Japan.

However, pedestrian crashes and injuries caused the business to effectively cease its robotaxi service nationally at the end of October after California regulators revoked its license to operate driverless cars.

Despite the numerous issues and high-level turnover, GM said on Sunday that it stayed with Cruise and its efforts to produce self-driving cars. Aside from the safety issues at Cruise, the unit has cost the corporation $5.9 billion in pre-tax profit since the beginning of 2020. Ford and Volkswagen halted their cooperative attempts to build self-driving cars a little more than a year ago, as executives at those competing automakers questioned if robotaxis would be commercially feasible anytime soon.

The most catastrophic Cruise accident occurred on October 2 in San Francisco, when a pedestrian was critically injured after being hit by both a typical human-driven car and a Cruise driverless car. According to accident paperwork, the pedestrian was pinned under the Cruise car and dragged for 20 feet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced two weeks later that the collision and reports of additional accidents using Cruise vehicles and pedestrians motivated it to initiate a safety investigation into Cruise vehicles.

GM

Founder And CEO Of GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit Resigns In Wake Of Safety Problems

Following the NHTSA announcement, as well as the action by California authorities to revoke its license to operate driverless cars in the state, Cruise announced that it would suspend its driverless taxi service, though it would continue to operate with drivers in the car ready to take over for the self-driving feature.

Cruise recalled the vehicles earlier this month.

“I am sorry that we have veered off course under my leadership and that this has affected many Cruisers in a deeply personal way,” Vogt wrote in an email to staff on Saturday, according to Reuters.

“As CEO, I take responsibility for the situation Cruise is in today,” he said. “There are no excuses and no sugarcoating what has occurred.” We must increase our focus on safety, openness, and community engagement.”

Vogt launched the company in San Francisco in 2013 and 2016 sold an 80% share to GM for $581 million, half of which was paid in cash and the balance in GM stock.

Employees of the unit held the majority of the remaining 20% ownership in Cruise, and they had the option to sell their shares back to GM. Reuters reported last week that it had temporarily halted employee share sales owing to financial and safety issues, only to resume sales in response to staff complaints.

The corporation acknowledged Vogt’s departure on Sunday night. GM had previously taken steps to gain greater control of the unit, naming GM General Counsel Craig Glidden as co-president and chief administrative officer of Cruise last week. Mo Elshenawy, a six-year Cruise employee, was named the other co-president in addition to his duties as chief technology officer. As part of Vogt’s resignation announcement on Sunday, no new CEO was identified.

GM

Founder And CEO Of GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit Resigns In Wake Of Safety Problems

“GM has made a bold commitment to autonomous vehicle technology because we believe in the profound, positive impact it will have on societies, including saving countless lives,” the automaker said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are firmly committed to Cruise’s mission and the transformative technology it is developing.” “We fully support the actions that Cruise leadership is taking to ensure that safety comes first and that trust and credibility are built with government partners, regulators, and the broader community,” the statement stated. “Our commitment to Cruise with the goal of commercialization remains steadfast.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Walmart To Acquire Smart TV Maker Vizio For $2.3 Billion In Bid To Boost Its Advertising Business

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Walmart is paying $2.3 billion for smart TV maker Vizio to boost its quickly growing advertising business and compete with Amazon.

If the purchase is completed, Walmart will gain access to Vizio’s SmartCast operating system, allowing the retail juggernaut to offer its suppliers the opportunity to display adverts on streaming devices.

Walmart Connect, which provides marketers with access to Walmart’s large consumer base, has helped the company grow its media and advertising business. Walmart reported on Tuesday that its global advertising business increased by nearly 28% to $3.4 billion last year.

The developments follow Amazon’s announcement last month that it will begin charging Prime members $2.99 per month to keep their films and TV series ad-free, in addition to the $14.99 per month or $139 per year Prime price.

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What does Walmart stand to gain from a television manufacturer?

Vizio’s SmartCast technology has 18 million active accounts and has increased 400% since 2018. The firms claim that Vizio’s platform has over 500 direct advertisers and that ads now account for most of the company’s gross profit.

In recent years, makers of streaming gear, such as Roku and Vizio, have moved their focus to advertising revenue. Vizio established its Vizio Ads business unit in 2019, claiming to be “one of the few connected TV companies with the device penetration, consumer opt-in, and infrastructure to deliver meaningful scale.”

Walmart saw Vizio’s growing consumer base and grabbed the opportunity to develop its Walmart Connect business.

“We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment,” said Seth Dallaire, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Walmart U.S.

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Who else is ramping up screen advertising?

Other large streamers, such as Netflix and Disney, have embraced the dual model, allowing them to generate revenue from commercials while simultaneously allowing customers to opt-out for a higher charge.

However, in the ever-changing streaming industry, whether consumers are prepared to pay more to see fewer commercials when they already pay subscription fees, frequently for numerous providers, remains to be seen. Many consumers “cut the cord” and ditched cable TV because they were frustrated with their ever-increasing fees.

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How did the companies’ shares fare?

Vizio stock rose about 15% in the afternoon, reaching $10.96 per share.

Walmart’s stock jumped 3.1% to $175.66 per share after exceeding Wall Street’s expectations with its sales and profit on Tuesday.

Roku, one of Vizio’s primary competitors, saw its stock drop 6.4% by midday.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

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X, then known as Twitter, has finally paid out the employees it fired from its African offices more than a year ago, according to the agency that represents them.

Most had just been with the social media network in Ghana’s capital, Accra, for a few months before they were let go in November 2022.

They had threatened to sue X for failing to pay the redundancy money they said they were promised.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

The corporation has yet to respond.

X previously stated that it had paid ex-employees in full.

Elon Musk, who took over the corporation in 2022, launched a large global workforce layoff, dismissing almost 6,000 individuals. He said he was losing more than $4 million (£3.5 million) daily.

The African contingent, which numbered fewer than 20, had only recently relocated to X’s new office in

Accra after eight months of working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

Agency Seven, the organisation providing legal representation to the workforce, stated that it had successfully obtained a redundancy settlement and repatriation fees for foreign employees but did not indicate the payout size.

“They are very pleased to finally be able to get their due, put this behind them, and look forward to the future,” Agency Seven Seven spokesperson Carla Olympio told the BBC.

Last year, terminated employees told the BBC that their treatment at X had impacted their mental health and money.

“It’s difficult when it’s the world’s richest man owing you money and closure,” one of them stated.

They claimed they were initially assured that they would be paid to work for one more month while their contracts were being terminated. However, they were instantly shut out of their emails, and no more wage payments were issued.

Since then, the crew has reported a difficult battle for compensation.

Some had migrated from adjacent nations, such as Nigeria. Their contract was terminated, leaving them and their families stuck in Ghana.

In a rare interview with the BBC last April, Mr Musk revealed that the social media powerhouse had 1,500 staff, down from just under 8,000 when he bought the company.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

When the news of Mr Musk’s extreme workforce reduction broke, he tweeted that laid-off employees received three months’ severance compensation.

However, staff members in the Africa office claim they still need this.

According to Agency Seven Seven, X only started negotiating with the terminated African staff after the BBC publicised the news.

Last year, ex-employees filed a complaint in a California court accusing X of failing to pay at least $500 million in promised severance benefits.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

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Why Buying TikTok Views is the Best Way to Maximize Followers

LONDON — The European Union announced Monday that it is investigating whether TikTok violated the bloc’s harsh new digital standards for cleaning up social media and keeping internet users secure.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive department, said it has “opened formal proceedings to assess” whether TikTok violated the Digital Services Act, which went into effect last year.

The DSA is a comprehensive collection of regulations to keep internet users safe online, including measures to make it easy to flag dangerous or unlawful content such as hate speech, provide users with alternatives to algorithmic suggestions, and prohibit adverts targeting children.

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TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

The commission is looking at whether TikTok is doing enough to address “systemic risks” posed by its design, such as “algorithmic systems” that may promote “behavioural addictions.” It added measures such as age verification software to prevent children from accessing “inappropriate content” may not be “reasonable, proportionate, and effective.”

tiktok

TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

“Minor protection is the DSA’s primary enforcement priority. TikTok, as a platform that reaches millions of children and teens, must completely comply with the DSA and plays an important role in the protection of minors online,” said Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, in a news statement. “We are launching this formal infringement proceeding today to ensure that proportionate action is taken to protect the physical and emotional well-being of young Europeans.”

TikTok has “pioneered features and settings to protect teens and keep under 13s off the platform, issues the whole industry is grappling with,” the business stated in a statement. “We’ll continue to work with experts and industry to keep young people on TikTok safe, and look forward to now having the opportunity to explain this work in detail to the Commission.”

The commission also looks into TikTok’s minor privacy policies, ad transparency, and whether researchers can access data.

tiktok

TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

The EU has designated nearly two dozen of the largest internet and social media companies, including TikTok, deserving the most intense scrutiny under the DSA and heavy fines if they fail to comply. The bloc is already probing Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, for breaches such as failure to control the dissemination of illicit content.

SOURCE – (AP)

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