Fed: US manufacturing output dips in Sept. | Electric bus, battery startup Proterra raises $200M | GM's Cruise to test fully autonomous vehicles in SF
October 16, 2020
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Trends & Technology
The Federal Reserve reported a 0.3% decline in US manufacturing output for September, leaving production 6.4% below its level before the coronavirus pandemic. However, August's output was revised upwards to 1.2%.
Full Story: Reuters (10/16) 
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Proterra, a startup that makes electric buses, batteries and power systems for heavy vehicles, raised $200 million from Cowen Sustainable Investment, Soros Fund Management, Generation Investment Management and the Broadscale Group. The new capital will fund research and development and efforts to enter a wider range of commercial vehicle segments.
Full Story: Forbes (10/15),  TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (10/15) 
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General Motors' Cruise unit will join Alphabet's Waymo, Amazon's Zoox, AutoX Technologies and Nuro to test autonomous vehicles without a safety driver on San Francisco public roads. Cruise will operate five vehicles by the end of the year in daytime and nighttime tests on designated public roads with maximum speed limits of 30 mph in fair weather.
Full Story: CNBC (10/15),  Bloomberg (tiered subscription model) (10/15) 
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How retailers should embrace the new normal
The pandemic has reshaped consumer behaviors and the customer experience, most likely permanently. As we look to 2021, retailers need to focus on planning for the future with strategies that meet both the immediate and long-term needs of their customers and maximize the potential of all their sales channels. Join SmartBrief and retail industry experts to explore how the retail landscape has changed this year and how retailers can succeed in 2021.
Supply Chain
US retail sales of Class 8 trucks for September were a 2020 high but remain down almost a third from a year earlier's record high. Freightliner sold more heavy-duty trucks than any other company, while Volvo Trucks North America was able to improve September sales over 2019 levels.
Full Story: Transport Topics (10/13) 
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Industrial IoT
Agility Robotics, a startup that makes robots that walk on two legs, raised $20 million in its most recent funding round. Agility's Digit model is currently being tested by Ford, and chief executive Damion Shelton said the startup has lined up sales agreements with several other major companies.
Full Story: Reuters (10/15) 
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Reducing carbon emissions is the top priority in Volvo's multipronged strategy to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, says Volvo Cars USA CEO Anders Gustafsson says. "By electrifying our cars, working with suppliers and addressing global operations, we target carbon neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement," Gustafsson said.
Full Story: Diligent Insights (10/14) 
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Workforce of Tomorrow
A Connecticut high school recently opened a new Aerospace & Manufacturing Center to support career pathways in those fields. Officials say the program will develop a pipeline of in-demand workers for the state's aerospace and manufacturing industries.
Full Story: The Middletown Press (Conn.) (10/15) 
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NAM News
The Manufacturing Institute's STEP Women's Initiative is designed to help close the gender gap within the manufacturing industry. The Institute's STEP Forward program plays a vital role by providing women in manufacturing with opportunities to hear from industry leaders, connect with their peers in the industry, and learn best practices to bring back to their companies. Join us on Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. ET for a panel session with manufacturing workforce leaders who will be taking a deep dive into the Current State of Women in Manufacturing, with breakout sessions to follow. Learn more about this virtual event and register here.
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