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The rollout of autonomous vehicles has been far from a smooth ride. Self-driving car company Cruise, which is owned by General Motors, on Friday agreed to take half its robotaxis off the streets of San Francisco after a passenger was injured in a crash with a fire truck. One firefighter told CBS News the car didn’t yield to the emergency vehicle in an intersection, but Cruise blamed the specific intersection.
Less than two weeks ago, California regulators gave Cruise and competitor Waymo permission to expand their driverless taxi rides to around-the-clock service.
Microsoft submitted a fresh proposal to buy Activision Blizzard on Tuesday in order to allay the concerns of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority, the only global regulator left blocking the $69 billion deal that would be the biggest in the gaming industry’s history. The tech giant said it would sell cloud gaming rights to all current and future PC and console games to French gaming rival Ubisoft, including major franchises like Call Of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft, outside of the European Economic Area.
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Pfizer’s RSV vaccine for pregnant parents to protect infants, becoming the first maternal shot to reach the market. The ubiquitous RSV infection is a minor inconvenience for most healthy adults, but it is a leading cause of hospitalization in young infants.
BUSINESS + FINANCE
British chip company Arm, which designs semiconductors and other microtechnology for computing, will reportedly go public as soon as next month. Bloomberg reported that Arm’s official documentation may come as soon as Monday to go public at an $8 billion to $10 billion IPO in what will likely be the largest initial public offering since late 2021.
Move-in costs for college freshmen, like laptops, bed sheets and dorm fridges, are rising faster than the price of tuition, fueling an estimated $94 billion in back-to-college spending this year. That translates to an average hit per family of $1,367, a 40% increase from 2019.
TECH + INNOVATION
For the past several years the Biden administration and TikTok have been negotiating a deal to resolve national security concerns posed by the Chinese-owned app. Forbes has an exclusive look inside a draft of the deal and what TikTok might have to give up to keep operating in the U.S.
Meta is preparing to launch a web version of its text-based social media app Threads sometime this week, the Wall Street Journal reported, the latest new feature as the platform attempts to gain parity with X, formerly known as Twitter. Threads launched last month and quickly became the fastest-growing app in history, but its success was short-lived, and the app’s engagement numbers plummeted within weeks.
MONEY + POLITICS
Former President Donald Trump’s most recent indictment in Georgia appears to have helped his standing among Iowa Republican voters, as a new poll shows him leading Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by 23 points in the state. The Iowa caucus, which kicks off presidential primary contests, will be held in less than five months.
Trump will surrender to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia by Friday afternoon at the latest, and likely get his first mug shot, as he faces charges stemming from his and allies’ efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election. On Monday, he agreed to post a $200,000 bond as a condition of his release in the case, unlike his other three indictments, where he was released on his own recognizance without any monetary conditions.
SCIENCE + HEALTHCARE
The latest round of Covid boosters will only target the coronavirus’ Eris strain and other XBB subvariants, which make up most cases in the U.S., but some experts say to wait for the new shots instead of getting a current bivalent booster. The vaccines are still awaiting FDA approval, and are estimated to be ready by late September but probably won’t be widely available until October.
Startup Thyme Care has raised $60 million that it plans to use to scale its model for helping patients navigate the cancer care process. For its nearly 3,000 cancer patients, Thyme Care operates as a liaison with their care teams both in and out of the hospital.
TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE
American Airlines filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged, a travel website that helps passengers find cheaper flights through a loophole where customers buy a ticket on a multi-leg journey with a layover in the city they are trying to get to, and simply leave the airport during the layover. It’s not illegal, but multiple airlines have said it violates their policies and are attempting to crack down on the practice.
Imagine if you could travel from New York to Paris in 90 minutes, instead of the seven-and-a-half hours of a commercial flight today. Startup Hermeus has an audacious goal of building a plane capable of carrying 20 passengers at hypersonic speed—five times faster than sound, or 3,850 miles per hour—and it’s backed by the Pentagon.
TRENDS + EXPLAINERS
Tropical Storm Hilary ignited flash flooding in southern California, and CDC and EPA experts suggest avoiding or limiting contact with floodwaters due to health risks. Debris, downed power lines, human, household, industrial, livestock and medical waste, vehicles and other harmful contaminants can swim around in floodwaters caused by natural disasters, per the CDC.
DAILY COVER STORY
TOPLINE When you go to the doctor in the United States, it could be weeks or months before you know how much that office visit is going to set you back.
With Amazon Clinic, which first launched in November 2022, one of the world’s biggest technology companies is looking to infuse the black box of healthcare pricing with some actual transparency.
Amazon has contracted with four different startups to provide message and video appointments for around 30 medical conditions. The result is a dynamic marketplace where customers can see pricing, wait times and the typical number of prescription refills upfront.
Earlier this month, Amazon Clinic announced it was expanding to all 50 states. As of early August, message-based visits generally seemed to range from $30 to $45, while video visits ran from $74 up to $95, depending on the condition.
Ge Bai, a professor of accounting and health policy at Johns Hopkins University, says patients are willing to pay different prices for services based on what’s important to them, and, likewise, healthcare companies are willing to offer different pricing based on what patients want. “Convenience or quality is not being priced in the current system,” she says.
Even with Amazon’s scale, displaying prices for a few dozen types of medical visits is just a drop in the bucket of the $4.3 trillion the U.S. spends on healthcare costs annually. And Amazon Clinic patients still don’t know the cost of medications or testing the doctor might prescribe during the visit.
But one of the biggest issues to scaling Amazon’s model is that patients can’t use their insurance, says Christopher Whaley, an economist at RAND Corporation and health policy professor at Brown University.
Nworah Ayogu, chief medical officer and general manager of Amazon Clinic, hints that accepting insurance could be in Amazon Clinic’s future, including the government-funded programs Medicare and Medicaid. “We absolutely want to serve those customers, because there’s a lot of need there,” says Ayogu.
WHY IT MATTERS “Because Amazon Clinic is operating outside of insurance, it means that patients will probably care more about price, and it will provide a window into decision-making and price sensitivity,” says Forbes reporter Katie Jennings. “But it will also be fascinating to see how other players in the healthcare system react and what the downstream effects will be—will insurers be watching and adjust reimbursement rates accordingly? Will other startups outside the marketplace change their pricing?”
FACTS AND COMMENTS
Climate change is set to dramatically impact the world’s seafood supply. The EPA says oceans have gotten warmer on average by one degree over the past century, and higher temperatures threaten sea life, kill coral reefs and increase the potential for severe storms:
$10 billion: The amount global fisheries could lose in annual revenue by 2050
20.96 degrees Celsius: The global average surface temperature the world’s oceans hit on July 30, breaking a March 2016 record
40%: Expected declines in potential seafood catch for areas in the tropics by 2050
STRATEGY AND SUCCESS
Your 50s are often peak earning years, and it’s an important time to firm up your retirement plans. During this decade of your life, consider making catch-up contributions to your IRA, 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan, set up a free online Social Security account and consider costs like housing and health care in determining how much retirement income you need. Because people are living longer and longer in retirement, you may also want to look into long-term care insurance—premiums are lower the younger and healthier you are when you purchase.
The man who voices which video game character announced he was stepping back from the role after more than three decades?
ACROSS THE NEWSROOM
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