Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hashtag Trending – First driverless taxis hit the road, Apple’s secret tax haven

Waymo’s self-driving taxis will become available to the public soon, Apple’s secret tax haven island has been revealed, and self-driving cars have their own tiny city in South Korea.

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From Google Trends – Alphabet’s Waymo is set to open its self-driving taxis to the public in Phoenix, Arizona, and it’ll be the first time there is no human in the driver’s seat. This is a first for large tech companies testing their self-driving cars in the United States, as up until now, there has always been a human in the driver’s seat when the vehicle is being tested on public roads. Waymo says that members of the public will begin riding in its fleet of Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans over the next few months via a ride-hailing app. At first, they will be accompanied in the back seat by a Waymo employee, but eventually they will be able to travel alone where they can hit a button to stop the car if needed. The service will also be free at first, but the company does expect to start charging for rides in the future.

From Facebook – In 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook told US Senators at a hearing that Apple does not depend on tax gimmicks and that the company does not stash money on some Caribbean island. While technically still true, according to new documents released on Monday as part of a collection of secret corporate records called the Paradise Papers, Apple has instead been storing most of its cash on Jersey, an island in the English Channel about 19 miles off the coast of France. Apparently the tech giant has used a Bermuda-based law firm that caters to businesses and the wealthy called Appleby to find this tax haven, and Apple isn’t the only one. The rights to Nike’s Swoosh trademark, Uber’s taxi-hailing app, Allergan’s botox patents, and Facebook’s social media technology have all resided in shell companies that list Appleby offices as their headquarters. According to these documents, Apple has at least 128 billion dollars in profits offshore that are untaxed by the United States and hardly touched by any other entity, which for now, continues to be perfectly legal.

And from Reddit – The South Korean government has been working hard at building the world’s largest test space for self-driving vehicles. The country has revealed K-City, an 80 acre bit of land dedicated entirely to testing driverless vehicles. It is designed to replicate realistic driving conditions by offering up highways, downtown areas, city outskirts, and communal environments. There are also several narrow streets, pedestrian crossings, toll gates, construction sites, train track crossings, tunnels, and to really make it super realistic, K-City even has a few potholes. The first section with a four-lane highway became the first to officially open this week, with the entire facility slated to open by late 2018. Samsung, SK Telecom, Hyundai, and Kia Motors, among others, are expected to take advantage of this test site.  

That’s what’s trending today. Hashtag Trending is produced by IT World Canada. Today’s episode is sponsored by Cogeco Peer 1, the company that enables businesses to unlock their IT potential. Learn more at CP1.com.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Radu
Alex Radu
is a Video Producer for IT World Canada. When not writing or making videos about the tech industry, you can find him reading, watching TV/movies, or watching the Lakers rebuild with one eye open.

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