Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘autonomous vehicles

Making Copies

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Happy Monday.

Only 10 days to Turkey Day. Get ready to gobble gobble.

I’ll tell you who’s not making copies. That would be HP, the board of which rejected Xerox’s acquisition bid over the weekend claiming the $22/share bid undervalued HP and was not in the best interest of shareholders.

Operators of Yahoo sites in Japan and the Line chat app have reached agreement on a merger, one where SoftBank Group and SK internet firm Naver will form a joint holding company. The new entity is expected to become the largest internet player in Japan.

On the funding front: AI-driven news app SmartNews has raised a $92M round at a valuation of $1.2B. The app is said to use machine learning (rather than human curation) to generate personalized news experiences.

The company is focused initially on Japan and the U.S. as key markets.

Self-driving startup Wayve has raised $20M in a Series A to help teach cars to drive autonomously using reinforcement learning, simulation, and computer vision.

Wayve is looking to improve AI through simulation and knowledge transfer to the real world, rather than “hand-coded” rules. It plans to launch a pilot fleet of autonomous Jaguar I-Pace cars in Central London which will include, for now, safety drivers. 

Written by turbotodd

November 18, 2019 at 10:53 am

A New Mobile Office

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Happy Monday.

Apple has started the week communicating a $2.5B plan to help California’s housing crisis. This on on the heels of similar $1B infusions from Facebook and Google in recent months.

The Apple fund will include a $1B affordable housing investment fund, and a $1B first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund.

Up in Redmond, Microsoft has unveiled a new office app for iOS and Android, one which sees Word, Excel, and PowerPoint combined into a single download. The new version features a prominent actions section that makes key features more easily accessible (like transferring files from your smartphone to your desktop).

Monday Fund-day: South Korea’s CODE42 has raised $25M in a pre-Series A funding round led by Kia Motors. CODE42 is an autonomous transportation startup and will use the funding to build its Urban Mobility Operating System. 

And Casstime, a China-based automotive aftermarket search engine and procurement platform, raised an $80M Series C1. Casstime’s search platform allows users to find unique part numbers by enteringn the VIN and part name, then uses an algo to assign multiple suppliers that have fit the user’s past purchasing behavior.

Written by turbotodd

November 4, 2019 at 9:49 am

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

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