Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘autonomous vehicles

Out of AC/DC

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Happy Friday. Well, save for the cop in Fremont, CA last Friday night who had to halt a high-speed pursuit ‘cause his Tesla Model S patrol car ran out of battery. Doh!

Some security/privacy exploits on a Friday PM worthy of note.

First, the new Checkm8 jailbreak that apparently impacts all iOS devices running on A5 to A11 chipsets (Spoiler: That’s a lot of chips, ranging from the iPhone models ranging from the 4S to the 8 to the X…so, 100s of millions of devices).

The jailbreak exploits vulnerabilities in Apple’s Bootrom that grants phone owners full control over their device, according to a report from ZDNet. Be careful out there, boys and girls.

They’re also reporting some new malware called “Nodersok” that installs Node.js to turn systems into proxies so they can perform click fraud. That’s one way to drive up CPMs!

And, DoorDash has confirmed a data breach on May 4 that affected 4.9M customers, workers, and merchants…included last four digits of payment cards, driver’s license info, etc etc ad nauseum ad infinitum.

Yes, ladies and germs, you can’t even get a meal delivered anymore without getting hacked. Lost your appetite yet?

Bon Appétit!

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Amazon Eyes

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“Hey Alexa, squinch my eyes!”

That’s what I’d probably be saying to my new Amazon Echo Frames eyeglasses, which doesn’t include a display or camera, but does include directional microphones you can use to talk back to, as well as receive notifications, create reminders, play music, and the like.

In other words, Alexa in your glasses or, dare I write it down, “smart glasses.”

There’s so many directions I could go with this, but I think I’ll just turn off my Echo Frame microphone and go to the optometrist, just to be safe.

Maybe I’ll call myself an Uber to get a ride there. 

The Verge is reporting that Uber has overhauled its app to become “the OS for everyday life.” The changes include merging its ride-hailing and food delivery apps, adding a bunch new safety features, and getting involved in virtual restaurants.

Let’s just hope I don’t leave my glasses in my Uber on the ride over to the virtual restaurant!

Written by turbotodd

September 26, 2019 at 3:49 pm

Autonomous Theft

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Big IP theft news coming out of the Valley this PM.

The New York Times and others are reporting that Anthony Levandowski, a self-driving technology guru, was charged by federal prosecutors on Tuesday with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google.

This could present a new front in the all-out IP war between the major autonomous driving players: Uber, Google’s self-driving outfit, Waymo, potentially others.

The cause of action? Mr. Levandowski is alleged to have downloaded more than 14k files containing “critical information about Googles autonomous-vehicle research before leaving the company in 2016.” And then transferred those files to his personal laptop…which was a no-no.

The files he’s alleged to have stolen contained drawings and schematics pertaining to circuitry and LIDAR laser-sensors used in Google’s self-driving cars.

Here’s what the U.S. attorney, David L. Anderson, had to say in a statement issued by the DOJ: “All of us have the right to change jobs; none of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door. Theft is not innovation.”

If convicted of the charges against him, Levandowski faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000. Leave those USB sticks at home, kids!

Written by turbotodd

August 27, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Apple Drive

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It’s already Wednesday?

I’ve got a jet plane to catch, but before I did, I wanted to convey a couple of stories that caught my eye.

First, back to the “Chimerica” trade wars.

The New York Times is reporting that U.S. tech companies that include Intel and Micron have found ways to sell millions of dollars of products to Huawei despite the Trump administration’s ban.

How?

Industry leaders including Intel and Micron have found ways to avoid labeling goods as American-made, said the people, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to disclose the sales.

Goods produced by American companies overseas are not always considered American-made. The components began to flow to Huawei about three weeks ago, the people said.

The sales will help Huawei continue to sell products such as smartphones and servers, and underscore how difficult it is for the Trump administration to clamp down on companies that it considers a national security threat, like Huawei. They also hint at the possible unintended consequences from altering the web of trade relationships that ties together the world’s electronics industry and global commerce.

And…Apple says it has acquired autonomous driving startup, Drive.ai, as well as hiring dozens of the company’s engineers and taking over its autonomous cars. 

The company was once valued at $200M, and Axios reports this deal and the hires “confirm that Apple hasn’t given up its autonomous driving project.”

No purchase price was disclosed.

Let’s hope this isn’t the road to nowhere for Apple and its autonomous driving strategy.

Written by turbotodd

June 26, 2019 at 9:37 am

Lidar on the Radar

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Happy Humpday.

The lidar business is growing, suggests a recent Bloomberg story.

That’s because Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, is getting into the sensor business and will start selling laser-mapping sensors on its driverless vehicles to other companies (as long as they don’t compete with its robotaxi business). 

What is lidar? Basically, a device that shoots lasers off of object to determine what’s near by.

So, as Bloomberg explain, the tech could be utilized in next gen warehouse robots, security systems, autonomous tractors (and other farming implications)…This is not your daddy’s Future Farmers of America.

This move puts Waymo in competition with the world’s larger lidar producer, Veloydyne Lidar Inc., but Bloomberg suggests the lead here is that this will give Waymor scale, meaning more production and volume, the lower the cost of its sensor suite, the more customers that can be lured to using the technology.

FYI, lidar is expected to be a $1B+ market this this year. 

Still, I advise looking both ways before crossing the road.

Written by turbotodd

March 6, 2019 at 11:19 am

Rage Against the Machines

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Happy Thursday.  

CES 2019 is heading into its last couple of days, and I suspect the big bang announcements are already over.

The one story that struck me most coming out of Vegas also apparently struck a robot.

I’m talking, of course, about the autonomous robot that was struck and “killed” by a self-driving Tesla Model S.

Apparently the poor robot, a Promobot, is manufactured by a Russian tech company and was just standing on the side of the road when the Tesla cruised by and edged Promobot off his feet…err, wheels!

Whether this was a real story or a great publicity stunt is really beside the point.

It could be a harbinger of things to come. Some would argue the Luddite blowback against AI and robots has already begun.

In Phoenix, where Waymo has been testing its self-driving cars for going on two years now, armed citizens have started taking to the streets.

A report from the Arizona Republic described “a multitude of incidents where citizens, apparently enraged by the sight of the Waymo vans, decided to threaten and attack their autonomous invaders.”

Specifically, they cited a man emerging from his home to “point a .22-calibre revolved at the van and its human safety driver.” 

The man, Roy Leonard Haselton, apparently had become obsessed with the vans after the March collision in Tempe, Arizona between an Uber Technologies Volvo and the pedestrian it killed, Elaine Herzberg.

But the threatening .22 was just one of 20-something incidents that have occurred in the past couple of years.

There have been incidences of rock throwing at Waymo vans, and games of chicken, one where a black Jeep engaged six Waymo vans, pulling into the oncoming lane in an attempt to cause the Waymo to swerve out of the way.

In short, the anti-AI/autonomous/bot Luddites are emerging from the shadows and they are p—ssed!

And the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, sits in his cell at the US Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, twenty-some-odd years into this sentence and just shakes his head exclaiming “I told you so!”

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

Didi Chuxing Cha-Ching

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Greetings from the Big Apple.

I arrived here over the weekend to visit some friends and prepare for some meetings in NYC. 

The weather has been beyond spectacular — if I’d have planned ahead, I would have brought my golf clubs and teed up in the middle of 5th Avenue to attempt my first mile long drive.

But instead, I’m following the attempts of China’s Didi Chuxing Technology Co. to drive for a humongous IPO that The Wall Street Journal is claiming could happen as soon as this year.

Didi operates China’s largest ride-sharing platform and is expanding in Latin America and other parts of Asia, and according to the Journal report, is hoping to garner a valuation of at least $70 to $80 billion if it goes public.

The report also suggests that Didi is looking to “amass a large war chest to fend off rivals in China and other countries.”

But the company is also apparently looking to develop a smart car customized for ride-sharing and looking for auto makers that could manufacture such a car. 

The car is anticipated to be an electric vehicle and would be connected to the internet, allowing Didi to monitor data from the car for safety by applying artificial intelligence technology.

The Journal article suggests this worries some automakers, as it would put companies like Didi (and potentially others who move in this direction) in direct competition, one which could put the Didis of the world in the driver’s seat when it comes to the “operating system” for cars (i.e., the software).

Written by turbotodd

April 24, 2018 at 8:12 am

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