The Download: disputes over green mining, and what’s next for robotaxis

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Talon is striving to distance itself from the mining industry’s dirty past, portraying its plan as a clean, friendly model of modern mineral extraction. It proclaims the site will help to power a greener future for the US by producing the nickel needed to manufacture batteries for electric cars and trucks, but with low emissions and light environmental impacts.

But as the company has quickly discovered, a lot of locals aren’t eager for major mining operations near their towns. Read the full story.

—James Temple

What’s next for robotaxis in 2024

In 2023, it almost felt as if the promise of robotaxis was soon to be fulfilled. Hailing a robotaxi had briefly become the new trendy thing to do in San Francisco. 

However, that dream crashed and burned in October, when a fatal accident in downtown San Francisco involving a vehicle belonging to Cruise, one of the leading US robotaxi companies, cast a long shadow over the technology’s future. 

Despite that, other robotaxi companies across the world are still forging ahead. Zeyi Yang, our China reporter, talked to experts about how to understand the challenges facing the robotaxi industry. Here’s how they expect it to change in 2024.

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