Your Aug. 18 Pre-Trip: Uber to acquire self-driving truck startup

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. Uber to acquire Otto

Last year, Uber announced it would invest in self-driving technology. Now, the company’s future plans include a self-driving truck technology startup, according to a Fortune report. Uber recently agreed to acquire Otto, which developed a kit that allows tractor-trailers to drive autonomously, according to the report. Uber hasn’t disclosed terms of the deal yet; however, Fortune reports that it looks like Anthony Levandowski, one of the original engineers of Google’s self-driving team, will take the lead on Uber’s autonomous car operations and Otto’s trucking business. Fortune has more details.

2. Truck platooning to be tested in Ohio

Tractor-trailer platooning will be tested on a track at Ohio State University before moving to a road test, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Columbus was recently awarded a Smart City grant, which is mostly focused on alternative transportation efforts. According to the report, “Smartphone apps to help direct traffic, data sharing and the testing of remote-controlled ‘truck platoons’ in urban areas are among the developments that central Ohio businesses can look to tap into.” The Dispatch has more.

3. Foreign shipments inspected after hepatitis A outbreak

New foreign food shipments are being inspected after a hepatitis A outbreak, likely linked to scallops from the Philippines, KHON 2 reports. According to the report, only about two percent of all foreign food is inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before it hits stores and restaurants. The FDA said this week it doesn’t know when the investigation will reach a conclusion confirming the hepatitis A source. KHON has more.

4. CA transportation plan calls for 17-cent gas tax hike

Democratic lawmakers in California released a transportation plan late on Wednesday that calls for a 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax as part of an effort to offset state funding problems, the Los Angeles Times reports. In addition to the gas tax increase, other changes in the plan include a diesel tax increase of 30 cents per gallon and a $165 annual fee for zero-emission vehicles.

5. Scania releases side airbags for trucks

According to Prime Mover, Scania announced that its new generation trucks will be equipped with rollover side curtain airbags. By offering rollover side airbags, Scania said it believes there could be a significant reduction in the number of drivers killed in rollover accidents. Prime Mover has more.

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