? Ford’s self driving cars will soon be available on Lyft!

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Lyft to Begin Offering Ford’s Self Driving Cars in Miami and Austin Soon

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There is some exciting news about Lyft users in Miami and Austin, as they will soon be able to hail robo taxis from Ford & Volkswagen-backed AV startup Argo AI.

As per an announcement made on Wednesday, Lyft will begin offering Argo AI’s robo taxis on its platform by the end of the year in Miami.

As for Lyft users in Austin, they will have to wait till next year for hailing robo taxis from Argo AI.

Ford has previously promised to roll out a full-scale autonomous vehicle business by 2021. Their grand plans included both driverless delivery and robo taxis.

It seems Ford’s plans have been delayed due to the pandemic, and now the giant automaker plans to roll out full-scale autonomous vehicle business by 2022.

Lyft’s deal with Ford is an indication that the giant automaker is still adamant about meeting its promises.

As for the number of Argo AI’s robo taxis available for ride-hailing on Lyft, the number is expected to be quite modest initially.

As per Argo’s spokesperson, the initial fleet size will be less than 100 vehicles combined across both cities by next year.

Byju’s Acquires US-based Reading Platform Epic for $500M

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Byju’s, one of India’s largest startups, double down on its mission to expand into the United States market by acquiring Epic for $500 million.

The deal with Byju’s includes both cash and stock. Interestingly, even after the acquisition by Byju’s, Epic founders Kevin Donahue and Suren Markosian will continue to lead the company’s business activities.

Epic is a California-headquartered reading platform. Its target market includes kids aged 12 or younger.

As for the footprint of Epic, the reading platform has over 2 million teachers and 50 million kids using the platform.

The Indian startup Byju’s is expected to invest aggressively in its North American business.

Byju’s founder, Byju Raveendran, told TechCrunch that the company plans to invest $1 billion in its North American business.

With the Latest $100 Million Funding Round, OpenSea Secures a Place in the Coveted Crypto Unicorn Club!

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Having secured $100 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion in its Series B funding round, OpenSea has become the latest crypto unicorn.

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With this successful funding round, OpenSea has joined the likes of Coinbase, Chainalysis, Ripple, Binance, among others, in the coveted crypto unicorn list.

The Series B funding round in OpenSea was led by Andreessen Horowitz, one of the leading venture capital firms.

Other investors who took part in the funding are Coatue, a hedge fund and private equity firm, NBA star Kevin Durant, actor Ashton Kutcher, and the former Walt Disney president Michael Ovitz.

As for the Unicorn status, it is a common terminology in the startup space. Any companies with a valuation over $1 billion are referred to as unicorns.

Alongside the announcement about its successful million funding round, OpenSea also announced expanding blockchain support to Polygon, a layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution, in its blog post.

The company will be launching a gas-free marketplace on Polygon.

With a Drop of 1.5 Years in Average Life Expectancy, the United States sees the Biggest Drop Since WWII

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With Covid causing havoc across the United States, the average life expectancy dropped by 18 months in 2020.

As per the new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drop of 18 months in average U.S. life expectancy has never been seen since World War II.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics report states that Americans now live 77.3 years on average, compared to 78.8 years in 2019.

The biggest drop in life expectancy was observed among Hispanics, whereas Black Americans saw the second-biggest drop in life expectancy.

Gender-wise, the drop in average life expectancy was higher among American men than women.

Among American males, the drop in the average life expectancy was 1.8 years, whereas, among American women, the drop was 1.2 years.

The report states:

“The decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 can primarily be attributed to deaths from the pandemic.”

Covid is the major culprit behind the drop as it contributed to 75% of the decline in average U.S. life expectancy.

As per CDC, over 609,000 Americans have died in the pandemic so far. The previous year accounts for 375,000 of these deaths.

Unintentional injuries and death from accidents accounted for an 11% decline in the average life expectancy in the United States.

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