Volkswagen rolls out new digital platform at Chattanooga plant, other US facilities and more business news

The Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant, located in the Enterprise South industrial park, is shown on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. / Staff file photo

VW pushes digital platform at Chattanooga plant

Volkswagen's North American production plants, including in Chattanooga, are spearheading a global roll out of the group's information technology platform, called the Industrial Cloud, with an open call for regional suppliers to participate.

It's part of Volkswagen's estimated $1 billion investment in electric mobility and digitalization in North America to 2025, the company said. VW is working to bring technologies such as cloud-based industrial software, intelligent robotics and artificial intelligence into factory operations.

The company said it aims to drive a 30% increase in manufacturing performance for electric vehicle assembly and large-scale car assembly in Chattanooga and Puebla, Mexico, by 2025.

"We're pushing our ambitious digital transformation to make Volkswagen's factories in the North American region more productive, connected and more sustainable than ever before,"said Johan de Nysschen, chief operating officer at Volkswagen Group of America.

Chattanooga Airport shows artists' work

A new exhibit has landed at the Chattanooga Airport - Into the Blue: Abstraction in the Airport. Curated by CHA ART SPACE, this inaugural exhibit showcases 10 different artists' works which were created explicitly for the airport.

CHA ART SPACE is an exhibition collaboration with the airport and local artist and curator Carrie Pendergrass. It is made possible through an ArtsBuild Artist Work Grant in partnership with Public Art Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee Development District.

"Our airport has a lot of beautiful, light-filled space. It only makes sense to allow the work of artists to better activate that space," said Pendergrass.

The artists represented in the exhibition are Mark Bradley-Shoup, Jan Burleson, Amber Droste, Sue Fox, Ellen Franklin, Myles Freeman, Linda Kerlin, Rylan Thompson, Heath Montgomery and Pendergrass.

This exhibit will be available to view on the first floor of the airport now through December. People can view the art and meet the artists Saturday, Aug. 28 from 4–6 p.m.

July gasoline prices are highest in 7 years

The U.S. Energy Information Aadministration said gas prices in the United States averaged $3.14 a gallon in July - the highest monthly average since October 2014.

EIA projects gas prices will ease a bit to an average $3.12 this month and fall to an average of $2.82 a gallon in the fourth quarter of 2021 .

"U.S. and global oil production will grow to meet increases in demand, helping bring down prices for gasoline and other petroleum products," said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley Tuesday. "More employment and increased mobility are pushing up gasoline consumption, but many workers continuing to work from home will keep U.S. gasoline consumption below 2019 levels through 2022."

EIA predicts that U.S. consumption of gasoline will average 9 million barrels per day in the second half of 2021, which remains below the 2019 average of 9.3 million barrels per day.

Casino betting at record high

Gamblers anxious to hit the slot machines and table games in person after a year of coronavirus restrictions are lifting the U.S. casino industry to its best year ever.

Data released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association, the casino industry's national trade group, show that America's casinos had their best second quarter in history, taking in $13.6 billion.

The report also shows the industry has nearly equaled all the revenue U.S. casinos took in during 2020, amid widespread casino shutdowns and restrictions that lingered even after they reopened.

It is clear that 2021 could be the best year in history for U.S. casinos. The gambling halls are on track to surpass 2019 ($43.6 billion) as the highest-grossing year ever. Nearly $25 billion has been won during the first six months of this year.

"These first half results are truly remarkable," said Bill Miller, the association's president and CEO. "COVID-19 is not yet in the rearview mirror, but I'm confident the record first half of 2021 has laid a strong foundation for the industry's full recovery."

Robinhood to buy Say Technologies

Robinhood, the trading app that's brought millions of new investors to the stock market, is buying a company that helps people communicate with the businesses whose shares they buy.

Robinhood Markets said Tuesday that it agreed to buy Say Technologies for about $140 million in cash. Say helps publicly traded companies hear what questions their investors want answered, and it helps investors vote at companies' annual meetings.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner