Germany's interior minister is suggesting that his country can't build a 5G mobile network without Chinese tech giant Huawei, at least for now, intervening in an issue that has caused tensions between the U.S. and its allies.
Washington has been pressuring its allies to ban Huawei, the world's biggest supplier of telecom gear, from new 5G networks. It alleges that the company poses an espionage threat.
Germany, however, has decided not to ban Huawei from competing for contracts to build the country's 5G networks, instead agreeing that companies must meet strict standards, which still could end up excluding the Chinese firm.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Germany's top security official, was quoted Saturday as saying he is "against taking a product off the market just because there is a possibility that something might happen."
Seehofer said Germany must be protected against espionage and sabotage, but estimated that shutting out Chinese providers could delay building the new network by five to 10 years, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.
"I don't see that we can set up a 5G network in Germany in the short term without participation by Huawei," Seehofer told the newspaper.
Rough seas prompted SpaceX on Saturday to delay the emergency escape test of its new crew capsule by a day.
Liftoff is now set for Sunday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
The Falcon rocket was supposed to blast off Saturday on a 10-minute flight to demonstrate the capsule's emergency escape system before astronauts climb aboard in a few months. But the wind and waves were too high in the recovery area out in the Atlantic.
Once launched, the capsule will catapult off the rocket and, if all goes well, parachute into the ocean with a pair of mannequins. The rocket - being recycled after three previous flights - will end up being destroyed.
The test is the last major hurdle for SpaceX before launching two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA officials said that could happen as soon as March.
Boeing, meanwhile, is still investigating why its Starliner crew capsule ended up in the wrong orbit last month following liftoff. It was the Starliner's first test flight, with no one on board, and the mishap prevented the capsule from flying to the International Space Station.
NASA is looking for SpaceX and Boeing to start flying astronauts to the space station this year. The last time NASA astronauts launched from the U.S. was in 2011; they've been riding Russian rockets in the interim for hefty prices.
China's ZTE and MTN Uganda on Friday started 5G technology trial here to be the first who brings the Standalone 5G network into reality in east Africa as the region awaits it commercial roll out.
Uganda's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who was the chief guest at the launch, said government supports the development of new technology provided it will solve people's challenges and make life easier and affordable.
He was optimistic that technologies like 5G will have an impact on the economic development of the country.
Godfrey Mutabazi, executive director of the Uganda Communication Commission, said that as a regulator of the communications sector, they are working to ensure that there is appropriate infrastructure that supports 5G.
"If we accept this technology, this country will be the best in Africa," Mutabazi said, noting that Uganda is the first country in East Africa to have 5G technology and the third in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria.
Wim Vanhelleputte, chief executive officer MTN Uganda, said 5G technology will have increased speeds and capacity with exact wireless connections but similar to fiber optic cable experience.
Vanhelleputte said this will enable easier wireless connections compared to running fiber optic cables to every facility or home.
"In the next 2-3 years, we will embark on massive commercial rollout of the technology," he said, noting that advancements like telemedicine will be easier when there is real-time connection.
Yi Yahua, ZTE corporation vice president for the Southern Africa, said ZTE is fully supportive to MTN Uganda's strategy to tap into the potential of modern mobile technologies to serve this country better and move forward with 5G industrialization.
The U.S. government's auto safety agency is looking into allegations that all three of Tesla's electric vehicle models can suddenly accelerate on their own.
An unidentified person petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking for an investigation into the problem. An agency document shows 127 owner complaints to the government that include 110 crashes and 52 injuries.
The agency said it will look into allegations that cover about 500,000 Tesla vehicles including Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicles from the 2013 through 2019 model years. The agency's investigations office will evaluate the petition and decide if it should open a formal probe.
Messages were left Friday seeking comment from Tesla.
NHTSA is already investigating three December crashes involving Tesla vehicles in which three people were killed. The agency's special crash investigations unit sent teams to Gardena, California, and near Terre Haute, Indiana, to probe two fatal crashes. Another crash in Connecticut also is under investigation.
Frank Boris, a former head of safety defect investigations for NHTSA, said the number of complaints cited in the petition is unusual and warrants further investigation.
"The sheer number of complaints would certainly catch my eye," said Boris, who now runs an auto safety consulting business.
Tesla owners communicate with other owners on Internet forums and social media, and that could influence the number of complaints, he said.
He said the timing of the petition is good, because the agency needs to do a "deeper dive" into Tesla safety.
Some of the unintended acceleration complaints, which have yet to be verified by NHTSA, allege that the cars' electronics malfunctioned.
For instance, one owner in San Clemente, California, told NHTSA that in November of 2018, a Model X SUV accelerated on its own to full power during a U-Turn on a city street. The driver had a foot on the brake, but the SUV accelerated in a fraction of a second, according to the complaint. The driver alleged that something in Tesla's system "triggered the sudden spontaneously full acceleration, resulting in this collision."
The SUV hit a parked vehicle, the air bags inflated and the owner had a large abdominal bruise and several small chest bruises, according to the complaint. People who file complaints with NHTSA are not identified in the agency's database.
The driver asked NHTSA to find out whether the Tesla complaints had common elements, including parking or making turns at low speeds.
In another crash, in May of 2013, the owner of a Model S sedan in Thousand Oaks, California, complained that while pulling into a parking spot, the car suddenly accelerated on its own.
The Model S went over a parking block and a curb and struck a cement light post. The air bags inflated, but no one was hurt, the complaint said.
Three weeks after the crash, the owner got a letter from Tesla saying that the accelerator was depressed to 48% just before the crash and 98% at the time of impact. The owner still believes the car accelerated by itself, the complaint stated.
Anyone can petition NHTSA to investigate an auto safety problem, and the agency said in a statement Friday that it encourages people to report concerns.
In the other Tesla crashes that NHTSA is investigating, authorities are trying to determine whether the cars were operating on Autopilot, a system designed to keep a car in its lane and a safe distance from other vehicles. Autopilot also can change lanes on its own.
Separately, the National Transportation Safety Board will hold a hearing Feb. 25 on a fatal crash in Mountain View, California, involving a Tesla that was operating on the company's Autopilot driver assist system.
Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times. The company contends that Teslas with Autopilot are safer than vehicles without it, but cautions that the system does not prevent all crashes.
NHTSA's crash program has inspected 23 crashes involving vehicles that the agency believed were operating on some form of partially automated advanced driver assist system. Fourteen of these cases involved Tesla models. The team investigates more than 100 crashes per year.
Volkswagen is partnering with the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to create the company's first innovation hub for developing new technology in North America, officials said Friday in a statement.
Initial work at the hub in Knoxville will include research opportunities for UT doctoral students and will focus on electric vehicles and developing lighter components from composite materials, according to a joint statement from the three partners.
"Working with the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a great opportunity to continue growing Volkswagen's engineering footprint in the North American region," said Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, VW's executive vice president and chief engineering officer for the region. "This hub, along with other research institutions here, is an integral part of Volkswagen's global research and development efforts and can also directly contribute to vehicles in North America."
Volkswagen has partnered with the University of Tennessee since opening its Chattanooga Assembly plant in 2011. The plant assembles the Volkswagen Passat sedan and Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs. The company broke ground in the fall on a new electric vehicle production facility in Tennessee.
Oak Ridge National Lab Director Thomas Zacharia said the collaboration benefits science and industry.
"By identifying difficult challenges and pursuing creative solutions with immediate industrial application, we can accelerate fields such as materials science, energy storage and advanced manufacturing while making vehicles better, safer and more fuel efficient," Zacharia said.
VW also has innovation hubs in Barcelona, Spain; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Tokyo, Japan.