Paccar shares rise on deal with Amazon-backed Aurora for autonomous driving tech

Aurora Innovation truck

  • Paccar and autonomous driving startup Aurora have entered into a strategic partnership to develop self-driving trucks.
  • Paccar’s revenue fell significantly in 2020, although the stock managed to gain over 9% on the year.
  • The competition in the trucking industry is heating up with new entrants and industry veterans making waves.
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Paccar shares jumped around 3% Wednesday after the semi-truck manufacturer announced a strategic partnership with the Amazon-backed autonomous driving start-up Aurora.

The two companies are looking to combine their respective expertise to develop, test, and sell semi-trucks powered by Aurora’s autonomous-driving technology.

“Paccar looks forward to partnering with Aurora because of their industry-leading autonomous driving technology and impressive team,” Preston Feight, Paccar’s chief executive officer, said in a press release on Tuesday. “This strategic partnership complements Paccar’s best-in-class commercial vehicle quality, technology, and innovation.”

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The Bellevue, Washington-based Paccar is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks. The company also provides its clientele with advanced powertrains, financial services, information technology, and distributes truck parts.

Aurora, meanwhile, has been in the self-driving technology game since 2017 when former Google autonomous-driving engineer Chris Urmson, former Tesla self-driving director Sterling Anderson, and Carnegie Mellon’s Drew Bagnell came together to create the company.

Since 2017 Aurora has been making moves in an attempt to create the first fleet of self-driving semis.

In December, Aurora acquired Uber’s self-driving unit giving up 26% equity to do so. The company then expanded testing on public roads in California, Pennsylvania, and Texas, focusing on long-haul, commercial trips.

Now, Aurora’s technology will be paired with the Peterbilt 579 and the Kenworth T680 semi-trucks at Paccar.

Despite the bullish news, PACCAR and Aurora will face stiff competition going forward, and not just from the big names like Tesla.

Alphabet’s Waymo announced plans last year to develop semi-trucks with Daimler, and self-driving startup TuSimple announced it is joining forces with US truck manufacturer Navistar to create driverless big rigs by 2024.

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The news of a strategic partnership with Aurora should be cheered by Paccar shareholders. The company’s revenue has taken a hit recently, falling some 24% year-over-year in the third quarter, according to its latest SEC filings.

Additionally, Paccar earned just $2.57 per share for the nine months that ended September 30, 2020, versus $5.34 per share during the same period in 2019.

Paccar currently trades around $92 per share and holds a $30 billion market cap.

The company boasts 10 “buy” ratings, 14 “neutral” ratings, and six “sell” ratings from analysts.

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Wisconsin pharmacist who health care center said ‘intentionally’ removed 57 coronavirus vaccine vials was a conspiracy theorist, according to new court documents

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped.

  • Prosecutors identified the Advocate Aurora Health Care pharmacist who is accused of purposely removing Moderna vaccines as Steven Brandenburg, 46, in a hearing on Monday.
  • According to court documents, Brandenburg admitted to following conspiracy theories about the vaccine, so he intentionally left doses out of refrigeration for long periods of time.
  • “He’d formed this belief they were unsafe,” Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said Brandenburg’s virtual hearing Monday, according to the AP.
  • There is no proof that the Moderna vaccine can alter DNA.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

New information has emerged about the Wisconsin pharmacist whose employer said spoiled hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine.

According to court documents, the man believed conspiracy theories about the vaccine and believed that the world was “crashing down.”

The pharmacist, identified by prosecutors as Steven Brandenburg, 46, was arrested last week by the Grafton Police Department after an internal investigation by his employer Advocate Aurora Health concluded that he had “intentionally” removed the 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine from a clinic refrigerator. Charges are pending.

Advocate Aurora Health initially claimed the pharmacist’s actions were “human error” but moved to fire the employee and alert authorities, saying the act was intentional.

“He’d formed this belief they were unsafe,” Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said Brandenburg’s virtual hearing Monday, according to the AP.

Gerol added that Brandenburg was disgruntled because he was in the process of divorce proceedings. An Aurora employee added that Brandenburg had brought a firearm to work on two occasions.

In a probable cause statement obtained by the AP, a detective wrote that Brandenburg was an admitted conspiracy theorist and added that the pharmacist told investigators he tried to ruin the vaccine because he believed it could harm people and change their DNA.

The claims that the Moderna vaccine could alter DNA are false according to experts and are part of a wave of COVID-19 misinformation circulating around the pandemic and vaccine. 

Last week at a news conference, Advocate Aurora Health Care Chief Medical Group Officer Jeff Bahr said that during an internal investigation, Brandenburg admitted to purposely removing the vials from refrigeration at the Grafton medical center overnight on Dec. 24, and again on the night of Dec. 25. 

On each occasion, the vials remained outside of refrigeration for over 12 hours, and Bahr said those doses were “all but useless.”

Police last week said the discarded vaccines ranged in value between $8,000 and $11,000.

During the virtual hearing in Port Washington, Wisconsin, Gerol said that the vials were retained and Moderna will have to certify that the doses are ineffective and whether they were destroyed, before he can file charges against Bradenburg. 

On Monday afternoon, Bradenburg posted the $10,000 signature bond by Judge Paul Malloy. The bond was set on the conditions that he surrenders his guns, no longer works in healthcare, and does not maintain any contact with Aurora employees.

Brandenburg’s ongoing divorce was also thrust into the hearing Monday. According to an affidavit filed by his wife on December 30, Brandenburg stopped by her house on December 6, dropping off a water purifier, two months’ worth of food, and told her that the world was “crashing down.” She added that he told her that the government was engaging in cyberattacks and would soon shut down the power grid.

She also wrote that Bradenburg stockpiled guns and food in rental units and that she felt unsafe in his presence. The court also temporarily prohibited Brandenburg’s children from staying with him on Monday.

Brandenburg’s next hearing is set for January 19. 

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More than 80 employees sickened by COVID-19 outbreak at In-N-Out’s new Colorado locations

In-N-Out Burger
  • At least 80 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at In-N-Out Burger locations in Colorado.
  • The locations, in Aurora and Colorado Springs, just opened last month.
  • “Our thoughts and prayers are with our associates and we are hopeful for quick recoveries for each of these affected,” Denny Warnick, vice president of operations at In-N-Out, said in a statement provided to Insider.
  • Employees who miss work will be paid for missed shifts, the company said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In-N-Out Burger, the iconic fast-food chain with a cult following, opened its first two locations in Colorado last month. Both quickly became the scenes of COVID-19 outbreaks, with 80 employees now sickened and another 25 suspected of having the disease.

The new location in Colorado Springs was the first to be hit, according to the Department of Public Health & Environment, with an outbreak confirmed as of December 6 – just over two weeks after it began serving burgers and fries on November 20. Sixty employees are confirmed to have COVID-19, with another nine considered “probable” cases.

In-N-Out’s other Colorado location, in Aurora, had a confirmed outbreak as of December 17; at least 20 employees have COVID-19 and 16 others are presumed to be infected.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our associates and we are hopeful for quick recoveries for each of these affected,” Denny Warnick, vice president of operations at In-N-Out, said in a statement provided to Insider. He noted that employees who test positive for the coronavirus, as well as those who have been in close contact with them, “have been excluded from the workplace.”

All employees have their temperatures checked before each shift.

Kathleen Luppi, a spokesperson for the company, told Insider that it will continue paying those who are unable to work.

 “Whether an associate in Colorado is excluded from work because they have tested positive themselves, or because they have been in contact with someone who has, they are being paid for their missed shifts,” she said.

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