Saturday, October 24, 2020

Amazon eyes Zoox, Aurora goes back to school and Cabana hits the road – theinformationsuperhighway

The station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all forms of transportation. Sign up here – just click The Station – to get it in your inbox every Saturday.

Hello and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter that deals with all current and future opportunities for people and packages to get from point A to point B. I am your host, Kirsten Korosec, chief transport reporter at theinformationsuperhighway.

The mobility world was busy this week. Really. employed. This will be long, buckle up.

Take a look at the most recent survey we conducted with a number of venture capitalists about mobility and which areas are of most interest to them. We spoke to Ernestine Fu with Alsop Louie Partners, Stonly Baptiste and Shaun Abrahamson with Urban Us, Shahin Farshchi with Lux Capital, Kate Schox with Trucks VC and Jeff Peters from Autotech Ventures.

Contact me and send me an email at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to exchange thoughts, criticism, opinions or tips. You can also send me a direct message on Twitter – @kirstenkorosec.

Okay, time to dig in. Vamos.

Micromobbin ’

Uber threw more than 20,000 JUMP bicycles into a recycling yard after moving the JUMP brand to Lime. A photo below, courtesy of Cris Moffitt, shows part of the thousands of bicycles in the North Carolina yard.

"The extent of the waste is unexplainable," said the Bike Share Museum in a tweet.

Since then, Tier Mobility CEO and co-founder Lawrence Leuschner said he wanted to take some of these motorcycles, "repair them, and give them a second life – as we do for all of our vehicles," he wrote on LinkedIn.

Jump bikes recycled

Credit: Cris Moffitt

Keaks (Kirsten Korosec) has been working on a great (ish) story about JUMP last week. Stay tuned and / or yell at them if you have any tips.

In the meantime, we've found that Superpedestrian, the startup that manufactures self-diagnosing electric scooters, has partnered with Zagster. Superpedestrian quietly launched LINK in late December, its joint electric scooter service in collaboration with Zagster in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Until at least February 2020, Zagster had entered into an agreement with Superpedestrian’s LINK to manage the fleet of shared scooters in Kansas, according to the City Commission’s records. In March, the Manhattan, Kansas City Council authorized the city to negotiate an approval agreement with Zagster to operate a six-month electric scooter pilot in collaboration with Superpedestrians LINK.

In Europe, the BlaBlaCar startup company for long-distance ridesharing has announced that it will expand to include scooter sharing. The company does not plan to operate its own scooter fleet. Instead, BlaBlaCar works with Voi, a European e-scooter service that has raised $ 136 million over several rounds. Voi-Roller will have three different brands – Voi, BlaBlaCar and BlaBla Ride.

– Megan Rose Dickey

offer of the week

Money the station

It's not a deal yet – as far as we know, but I don't want to highlight it here. Of course, I'm talking about the WSJ report that Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire the self-driving vehicle startup Zoox.

Zoox is different from any other autonomous vehicle startup I've encountered in the past five years. The company has taken on several capital-intensive and ambitious tasks – designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, autonomous full-stack vehicle developer and robot taxi operator. Jesse Levinson, co-founder of Zoox, will not agree with me here – we've had this discussion before – but the company essentially does it alone. Yes, it has relationships and support from suppliers; It has investors. However, there is no significant OEM partner and supporter like the competitors Argo AI and Cruise . And there's not much near the piggy bank that Waymo holds.

It is a brave and risky strategy. It is also expensive.

It's a badly kept secret that Zoox has had to make some seat belt tensions in the past 12 months. The company cut costs last year and tried to renegotiate some supplier contracts, sources told me at the time. In October, $ 200 million in new convertible bonds were raised, which should be combined and closed in a Series C round by the end of 2019 or early 2020. As far as we know, this never happened. Sources have told me that Zoox was in discussions with OEMs about entering into a contract with a manufacturing partner, which could include financial support. Daimler and FCA were mentioned by name in various conversations at the time, but I could never verify that the deal was done.

Then COVID-19 met. Zoox continued to tighten the belt and cut off almost all contract drivers.

There is no doubt that Zoox needs money to survive. But an Amazon Zoox deal is bittersweet when it happens.

Zoox is the brave startup – the pioneer on the edge of the cliff with whom you want to be successful. Walking alone poses an existential risk, but has also given him the freedom to hold on to his vision.

When Zoox is purchased, it is sucked into the Amazon ether and one wonders what will become of it.

Other offers that caught our attention::

boltThe Estonian-based company, which offers on-demand carpooling, scooters and other transportation services in around 150 cities in Europe and Africa, was founded € 100 million (USD 109 million) in a convertible bond. Bolt also confirmed that the value is now 1.7 billion euros (or almost $ 1.9 billion today). The money comes from a single investor, Naya Capital Management, who was also a key lender to the company in its latest round, a $ 67 million Series C announced in July 2019.

Ola ElectricThe EV business, which emerged from the hail giant Ola in 2019, was acquired by the electric scooter startup Etergo. The Dutch startup built a scooter that uses a replaceable high-energy battery that offers a range of up to 240 km. Ola Electric intends to produce and launch its own two-wheeler line this year.

Teslas According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, the board has confirmed a financial milestone that will unlock the first tranche of an unprecedented $ 700 million salary package for CEO Elon Musk. The milestone enables Musk to acquire the first grouping or tranche of nearly 1.69 million shares at a high discount. As far as we know (based on SEC filings) Musk has not yet exercised these options.

AV headlights: Aurora

the station autonomous vehicles1

If you haven't heard anything, there is a battle for talent in the autonomous automotive industry. An AV founder once described it to me as "knife fight".

However, it's not just about hiring talent. It's about building the right culture to get the job done. In this case, the not too small goal is to develop and use autonomous vehicle technology on a commercial scale.

The self-driving vehicle startup Aurora recently hit the 500-employee mark, an internal milestone reached by several new key employees, including Sagar Behere, director of systems and security technology, and Tara Green, who is responsible for human resources, recruitment, and IT .

It was not the number of 500 employees that I found interesting. It is a new internal program, which the company calls Aurora Academy and Raul Rojas, a former professor of computer science and mathematics at the Free University of Berlin, who has been commissioned with the management. The idea is to create a program in which employees can use their own experts to develop specific technical skills in the field of self-driving technology. Rojas has in-depth knowledge of robotics and autonomous vehicle technology. While participating in the DARPA Urban Challenge 2007, he met two of Aurora's co-founders, Chris Urmson and Drew Bagnell. Rojas was a co-founder of Autonomous GmbH in 2011, an autonomy startup that was taken over by TomTom in 2017.

Aurora has hired computer scientists, engineers, physicists and mathematicians to help with the complex task of integrating various hardware and software modules into an AV system. Nevertheless, Rojas noted that it is still necessary to "build bridges between the various disciplines so that we can disseminate expertise at all levels of the company". He said that's where the Aurora Academy comes in.

The program started in mid-March with a six-week course entitled “Basic Skills for Poses, Transformations and Lies Groups”. (Light stuff, right?) These are the mathematical tools that provide robotics with a unified and powerful framework for localization and motion planning.

Other courses include software engineering, sensor development, mathematical basics, visualization, planning, control and machine learning. The academy is also open to non-technical staff who want to learn more diverse skills, including programming in Python.

“The world of self-driving is still a small community, so initially there is only a limited pool of candidates, and not many universities offer special programs for autonomous driving. Therefore, you are unlikely to find someone who has all the skills required, "said Rojas.

For example, Aurora acquired Blackmore last year, one of the few companies to develop the FMCW-Lidar (Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave), which emits an energy-saving and continuous wave.

“It is unlikely that anyone could have learned it at school. That is why we are starting a course in June to teach the physics of the Doppler lidar, how to process the data at the fastest possible speed and how to benefit from measurements in perceptual tasks. Rojas noticed.

Is your AV company doing something interesting – you know that it doesn't just bring autonomous vehicles into the mainstream? Hit me and tell me about it.

Programs from Africa

the-station-africa1

On-demand mobility with electricity and solar is coming to Africa.

Vaya Africa, a hail mobility company founded by Zimbabwean Mogul Strive Masiyiwa, has set up an electric taxi service and charging system in Zimbabwe this week that is set to expand across the continent.

The South Africa-based company uses Nissan Leaf EVs and has developed its own solar-powered charging stations. Vaya is partnering to bring its electric taxi services to countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, Dorothy Zimuto, CEO of Vaya Mobility, told theinformationsuperhighway.

The initiative comes from the fact that the on-demand mobility market in Africa has been in full swing for several years. Startups, investors and the larger hail writers want to bring the movement of people and goods to digital platforms.

Uber and Bolt have been active in the most important African economies since 2015, where there are also a number of local taxi startups based on apps. In the past year there have been some movements on the continent towards the development of electric vehicles for hail trips and deliveries, mainly in the motorcycle area.

In addition to the environmental benefits, Vaya demonstrates the economic benefits for passengers and drivers in switching to electricity in African taxi markets, where fuel costs are generally high compared to drivers' personal income.

The use of solar panels to power the charging station network also helps Vaya's new EV program tackle some of the challenges in the African power grid.

Vaya is exploring EV options for other on-demand transit applications – from minibuses to tuk-tuk taxis.

– Jake Bright

Layoffs, breakdowns and people

Let's start this section this week by highlighting a new company hoping to disrupt delivery van life.

Cabana is a new startup launched by a former lime manager that brings fancy transporters with all the amenities of a Holiday Inn hotel room to cities on the west coast, starting in Seattle. theinformationsuperhighway reporter Jonathan Shieber found companies like Tentrr, HipCamp, and even Airbnb got into the Vanlife movement, and Cabana's founder definitely believes he can ride the wave.

Cabana has already raised $ 3.5 million from investors, led by Craft Ventures – the investment firm founded by David Sacks. Other investors include Goldcrest Capital, Travis VanderZanden (CEO and founder of Bird) and Sunny Madra, Vice President of Ford X at Ford Motor Company.

Post messages

Rivian Seems to be planning to offer customers their own insurance based on a new job advertisement for a data manager from an insurance agency that was first discovered by RivianForums and which passed the tip on.

The task is to manage Rivian's property and casualty insurance agency (P&C). This position includes hiring, training, coaching and managing licensed salespeople and a customer care team for insurance companies. This is evident from the publication on the Rivian website. The employee will also sell insurance products and provide partners with feedback on opportunities, the publication said. It is an unusual step, but not unprecedented. Last August, Tesla launched an insurance product.

cruise has a new board member who has extensive engineering and hardware experience. Regina Dugan has a long curriculum vitae that includes the former director of the Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects and the current CEO of Wellcome Leap, a nonprofit organization founded by Wellcome Trust to accelerate innovations that benefit global health. Between DARPA and Wellcome Leap, Dugan was head of Google's ATAP (Advanced Technology And Products) group and headed Building 8, Facebook's hardware skunkworks.

“In healthcare and transportation, I believe in the power of science and technology to change our world. With this power comes the responsibility to make life-saving advances on a large scale – Cruise has the technology, the team, and the tenacity to do it. I'm thrilled to be part of it, ”Dugan said in a statement to theinformationsuperhighway.

Head office in Sweden Voi technology recruited Richard Corbett to head up operations in the UK, Ireland and Benelux. Corbett comes from rival Bird, where he spent two years as head of the US company in Great Britain and Ireland and helped found e-scooters in the Netherlands.

Layoffs and other departures

AirMap, a platform for airspace services for unmanned aircraft, has cut staff. Layoffs.fyi reported that around 30% of the team were fired.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer announced that he would leave his post. His successor is Tobias Moers, the current head of the AMG division at Mercedes-Benz, reported Car and Driver.

Puppy … Audi Daniel Abt released from his Formula E racing team after learning that he had a professional sim driver race for himself during a virtual competition called "Race at Home Challenge" last weekend. It seemed that Abbot was just being suspended. Abt said in a video message posted on YouTube on Tuesday that Audi had excluded him from the team.

German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen According to a company report that Automotive News reported, up to 15,000 jobs or around 10% of the workforce will be lost by 2025, which is due to a decline in demand. In an email to the employees, ZF announced that half of the job cuts from 12,000 to 15,000 would take place in Germany.

Over cuts 600 jobs in India or 25% of the country's workforce. The job cuts affecting teams in the areas of customer and driver support, business development, law, politics, marketing and finance are part of the global restructuring of the company, which reduced 6,700 jobs this month.

Notable readings and other delicacies

Here are a few other things that I noticed…

Deloitte Insights dealt with a topic that many of us may also be thinking about. They investigated what mobility could look like after COVID-19. The report specifically examines four possible futures over the next three to five years. The full report can be found here, which contains a general description of society, the economy and geopolitics and is then restricted to transport.

In a rosier scenario called the "temporary storm," the COVID-19 pandemic shakes society, but Deloitte says that after a slow start, an increasingly effective health care system and an increasingly political response are encountered. The pandemic has long-term economic effects: e-commerce and last-mile delivery networks are multiplying and are increasingly being supported by autonomous vehicles and the digitalization of the logistics value chain. Vehicle hygiene is becoming a priority, leading to new self-cleaning materials, certification programs and form factors such as passenger partitions. The in-transit experience benefits from the advances in digital entertainment and productivity triggered by the pandemic, including possibly AR and VR applications.

AV stuff…

I recommend reserving an hour or two to play around with this Global Autonomous Vehicles Index, which was created by the group of autonomous vehicles in a law firm Dentons. It's free and allows users to compare the nuances of AV testing and deployment regulations in 18 countries and all 50 states. For example, regulations in Canada require that no human driver be in a vehicle when testing AVs. In China, the rule stipulates that every organization must take out compulsory liability insurance for traffic accidents for every vehicle. In Germany, however, there are no special requirements for AVs that go beyond motor vehicle liability insurance.

Baidu Completion of Apollo Park, an autonomous driving and vehicle infrastructure test base that houses more than 200 autonomous vehicles and is located in the economic and technological development area of ​​Beijing. The system is used for vehicle storage, cloud control of big data with remote sensing, the operating command, maintenance and calibration as well as for research and development.

Baidu-Apollo Park 2

Baidu has completed Apollo Park, an autonomous test and development center for vehicles. Photo: Baidu

Waymo will bring its autonomous vehicles back onto public roads in the Bay Area from June 8, The Verge reported. According to an email from The Verge, the self-driving vehicles will ship packages to two nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area: #DrawTogether by illustrator Wendy McNaughton, who provides art kits to children in the Bay Area; and lighthouse for the blind and visually impaired.

Autonomous robotics start Nuro will test delivery of prescriptions in Houston through a partnership with CVS Pharmacy. The pilot, who will deploy a fleet of start-up's autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles and switch to using its custom-made R2 delivery bids, is slated to begin in June.

It's electric …

Mercedes Benz is now selling its all-electric premium van EQV 300 in Europe, the second EV to emerge from the automaker's initiative to produce a range of battery-powered models under its new EQ brand.

Rivian has resumed operations in its Normal, Illinois factory after a temporary shutdown due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Investor and customer Amazon released an update this week saying Rivian is still on the right track to supply it with electric vans. Vans will be delivered to customers as planned from 2021. Around 10,000 electric vehicles will be on the road by 2022, and by 2030 all 100,000 vehicles will be on the road.

Audi has founded a new business unit called Artemis to bring electric vehicles with highly automated driving systems and other technologies to market faster.

Tesla Prices for the entire electric vehicle portfolio were lowered as the automaker plans to increase sales in an economy hit by the COVID 19 pandemic. Base prices for the S and X models were reduced by $ 5,000, while the standard 3 and $ 2,000 series were down.

Hailstorm and various things …

Over starts an hourly function in the USA from Monday. This feature allows users to book trips for $ 50 an hour and make multiple stops. The hourly booking function, which is already available in some international cities in Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, will initially be introduced in a dozen cities in the United States.

Core Investments, a Boston-based real estate development company, has proposed a last-mile delivery station for AmazonBoston Business Journal reported.

Evaluation: Lotus Evora GT

I postponed my first review on the road to make room for Matt Burns' appearance on his last weekend with the $ 100,000 Lotus Evora GT for 2020.

As Burns explains:

The Lotus Evora GT is an oversized go-kart with no advanced technical functions. And i love it. While most cars are equipped with supercomputers, the lack of technical skills makes the 2020 Evora GT interesting, and that's why it's on theinformationsuperhighway.

Accompany Burns on his journey.

Lotas Evora GT-2

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MAI: US-Präsident Donald Trump spricht mit der Presse auf dem South Lawn des Weißen Hauses, bevor er am 21. Mai 2020 in Washington, DC zu Marine One aufbricht. Präsident Trump wird voraussichtlich eine Ford-Produktionsstätte besuchen, in der derzeit Ventilatoren in Michigan hergestellt werden. 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After applying a fact-checking labelu00a0Tuesday to a misleading vote-by-mail tweet made by U.S. President Donald Trump, Twitter is on a roll and has labeled another of the president’s tweets — this time screening his words from casual view with what it calls a “public interest notice” that states the tweet violated its rules about glorifying violence.u00a0n

Here’s how the tweet appears without further interaction (second tweet in the below screengrab):n

n

The public interest notice replaces the substance of what Trump wrote, meaning a user has to actively click through to view the offending tweet.n

Engagement options are also limited as a result by this label, meaning users can only retweet the offending tweet with a comment; they cannot like it, reply to it or vanilla retweet it.n

Twitter’s notice goes on to explain why it has not removed the offending tweet entirely — and this is where the public interest element of the policy kicks in — with the company writing: “Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”u00a0n

Twitter appears to be shrugging off the president’s decision yesterday to sign an executive order targeting the legal shield that internet companies rely on to protect them from liability for user-created content — doubling down on displeasing Trump, who has accused social media platforms generally of deliberately suppressing conservative views despite plenty of evidence that ad-targeting platform algorithms actually boost outrage-fuelled content and views — which tends, conversely, to amplify conservative viewpoints.n

In the latest clash, Trump had tweeted in reference to violent demonstrations taking place in Minneapolis sparked by the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer — with the president claiming that “THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd” before threatening to send in the “Military.”n

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Vielen Dank!" Trump added — making a bald threat to use military force against civilians.n

n

Twitter has wrestled with the issue of how to handle world leaders who break its content rules for years. Most often as a result of Trump, who routinely uses its platform to bully all manner of targets — from rival politicians to hated journalists, disobedient business leaders and even actors who displease him — as well as to dispense direct and sometimes violent threats.n

Since being elected, Trump has also used Twitter’s global platform as a foreign policy weapon, firing military threats at the likes of North Korea and Iran in tweet form.n

Back in 2018, for example, he teased North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with button-pushing nuclear destruction (see below tweet) — before going on to “fall in love” with the dictator when he met him in person.nnn

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the u201cNuclear Button is on his desk at all times.u201d Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!n

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018n

n

Twitter’s go-to defence for not taking offending Trump tweets down in the past has been that, as U.S. president, the substance of what the man tweets — however mad, bad and dangerous — is inherently newsworthy.n

However, more recently, the company has created a policy tool that allows it to intervene — defining terms last summer around “public interest” content on Twitter.n

It warned then (almost a full year ago, in June 2019) that it might place a public interest notice on tweets that would otherwise violate its rules (and therefore merit a takedown) — in order to “to provide additional context and clarity,” rather than removing the offensive tweet.n

Fast forward a year and the tech giant has started applying labels to Trump’s tweets — beginning with a fact-check label earlier this week, related to the forthcoming U.S. election, and following up now with a public interest notice related to Trump glorifying violence.n

So, finally, the tech giant seems to be inching toward drawing a limit-line around Trump in near real time.n

Explaining its decision to badge the U.S. president’s threat to order the military to shoot looters in Minneapolis, the company writes: “This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”nnn

We have placed a public interest notice on this Tweet from @realdonaldtrump. https://t.co/6RHX56G2ztn

— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) May 29, 2020n

n

“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” Twitter goes on.n

It also links to its policy against tweets that glorify violence — which states unequivocally (in bold): “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people.”n

Back in June, when Twitter announced the “abusive behavior” label, it also warned that tweets that get screened with a public interest notice will not benefit from any algorithmic acceleration, writing: “Weu2019ll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service, to strike the right balance between enabling free expression, fostering accountability and reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets.”n

However the newsworthiness of Twitter’s decision to finally apply its own rules vis-a-vis Trump will ensure there’s plenty of non-algorithmic amplification (and no little irony).n

We reached out to the company with questions about its decision to apply a public interest screen on Trump’s latest tweet but at the time of writing it had not responded.n

On Wednesday night, Twitter CEO and co-founder, Jack Dorsey, put out a series of tweets defending its decision to apply a fact-check label to Trump’s earlier misleading tweets about vote-by-mail.n

“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,'” wrote Dorsey. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”nnn

Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and thatu2019s me. Please let our employees down. Weu2019ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.n

— jack (@jack) May 28, 2020n

n

Dorsey’s remarks followed pointed comments made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Fox News, seeking to contrast Facebook’s claimed “neutrality” when policing its platform with Twitteru2019s policy of taking a stance on issues such as political advertising (which Twitter does not allow).n

u201cI just believe strongly that Facebook shouldnu2019t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,u201d Zuckerberg told the conservative news station. u201cPrivate companies u2026 especially these platform companies, shouldnu2019t be in the position of doing that.u201dn

It’s notable that Dorsey used Zuckerberg’s exact turn of phrase — u201carbiter of truthu201d — to reject Facebook’s attack on Twitter’s policy as a straw man argument.n

Update I, Trump reacts: In early reaction to Twitter’s move the Trump administration has now quote-retweeted the offending tweet from the official White House Twitter account — reamplifying the president’s violent threat.nnn

u201cThese THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I wonu2019t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we'll take control, but when the looting begins, the shooting starts. Thank you!u201d https://t.co/GDwAydcAOwn

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020n

n

Trump has also reiterated his threat to regulate social media by revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in a new series of tweets this morning — accusing Twitter of ignoring “lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party.”nnn

Twitter does nothing against all the lies and propaganda spread by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives and the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by the Congress. Until then, it will be regulated!n

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020n

n

Update II, Whack-a-mole: Twitter has now screened the quote-tweeted copy of Trump’s tweet that the administration sent from the White House Twitter account.n

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WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the beginning of a meeting with small business people in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. During the meeting, Trump said he will announce his ‘unbelievably highly respected’ pick to replace the late Supreme Court Antonin Scalia on Tuesday evening. 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terrible week"},"content":{"rendered":"

When news brokeu00a0Friday morning that Britain is looking to propose an alliance of democracies to build a 5G alternative to Huawei, you might think that that was the worst thing to happen to the controversial Chinese telecoms giant this week. In fact, it just caps off a series of fast-moving events that surely makes this one of the most decisive weeks yet in the global fight over next-generation 5G networks.n

So letu2019s go back a step. After all, readers who have been following the Huawei debate might recall that not long ago the UK had controversially agreed to allow Huawei to attain up to 35% market share in u201cnon-core areasu201d of its 5G network. So what was behind Londonu2019s sudden about-face?n

The answer is politics. There was always a loud group of China-skeptic dissenters in Parliament, but anger over Chinau2019s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic pushed more MPs from Prime Minister Boris Johnsonu2019s own Conservative Party into the anti-Huawei camp and made the governmentu2019s position untenable. Rather than face a large parliamentary rebellion and possible legislative defeat later this year, Johnson instead gave in and announced plans earlier this week to phase out Huawei’s participation in Britainu2019s 5G network by 2023.nn

UK government reverses course on Huawei’s involvement in 5G networksn