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Nvidia Is Off to the Autonomous Car Races
May 20, 2017
Nvidia recently announced that Toyota will use its Drive PX AI car computer platform for advanced autonomous vehicles slated for introduction over the next few years. Nvidia is combining breakthroughs in AI and high-performance computing to build Nvidia Drive PX, the brain of the autonomous car, said CEO Jensen Huang at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference earlier this month.
Android at the Wheel: Google Aims for One Vehicle Ecosystem
May 20, 2017
Google showcased the next phase of its automotive strategy at its I/O conference earlier this week, and announced partnerships with Volvo and Audi, which unveiled concept vehicles running its new automotive system. Embedded Android for Automotive is an entirely new OS rather than an update to Android Auto. It will allow drivers to utilize Google services without an Android mobile device.
Nvidia Embraces Deep Neural Nets With Volta
May 12, 2017
At this year's GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia's premier conference for technical computing with graphic processors, the company reserved the top keynote for its CEO Jensen Huang. Over the years, the GTC conference went from a segment in a larger, mostly gaming-oriented and somewhat scattershot conference called "nVision" to become one of the key conferences that mixes academic and commercial high-performance computing.
The Massive Unintended Consequences of Self-Driving Cars
May 8, 2017
Car residual prices are collapsing, based on an alert that crossed my desk last week, and it struck me that we haven't considered much the secondary impacts of having self-driving cars, and the changes that will result from turning automobiles into four-wheeled elevators. Many industry players are treating self-driving cars much like cruise control: a nice-to-have option.
Congress Probes United Airlines' Customer Mishandling
May 3, 2017
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday apologized to the United States Congress for his company causing a passenger to be dragged off a UA flight last month. United failed its customers and failed as a company in that incident, and this has to be a turning point for the airline, Munoz told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee at a hearing into airline industry practices.
What People Don't Get About Tesla
May 1, 2017
Tesla is like Apple in that it represents a revolution in thinking. Although everyone seems to focus on the electric power plant, that is really a small part of the Tesla revolution. If Musk were to launch an almost-identical company but with gas engines, it would cut through the market like a hot knife through butter. The electric part isn't as much a sales accelerant as it is an impediment.
Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying
April 25, 2017
The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today's technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don't have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car is just down the road?
Uber Boss Practices Brinksmanship With Apple
April 24, 2017
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has a reputation of playing fast and loose with rules, but it appears that a maneuver his company performed on iPhones took his ride-hailing outfit to the brink of ruin a couple of years ago. When Apple discovered Uber was planting code on iPhones that persisted on the devices even after the ride-hailing app was removed, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave Kalanick a warning.
Why Is It OK to Abuse Customers?
April 17, 2017
I don't know about you but I can't seem to get out of my head the image of that poor Asian doctor who, seemingly unconscious, was dragged off that United flight. The fact that the airline did that to a 69-year-old doctor just so it could save money moving employees around is nearly as unbelievable as the initial tone-deaf response from United's CEO, who blamed the passenger.
United Airlines Gives Appalling New Meaning to Customer Service
April 11, 2017
United Airlines' self-made firestorm spread on Tuesday, as a video showing a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane continued to make the rounds on social media. The passenger had refused to comply after being told he'd been bumped off the Sunday flight. The incident sparked international outrage, including calls for a boycott of the airline and for CEO Oscar Munoz to step down.
Zunum's Hybrid-Electric Planes Could Disrupt Commercial Flight Industry
April 5, 2017
Zunum Aero, a startup backed by Boeing and JetBlue, on Wednesday announced that it was developing regional hybrid-electric aircraft with backing from Boeing's HorizonX innovation cell and JetBlue Technology Ventures. The planes, which will have 10 to 50 seats, are scheduled for launch in the early 2020s. Zunum aims to democratize access to fast, affordable travel.
Intel Bets $15.3B on Mobileye's Self-Driving Car Tech
March 14, 2017
Intel has agreed to acquire Mobileye, a developer of autonomous vehicle technology, for $15.3 billion. Intel will integrate Mobileye's computer vision and mapping technology for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles into its Automated Driving Group, to be led by MobileEye CTO Amnon Shashua. Intel SVP Doug Davis will oversee engagement across various Intel groups, and report directly to Shashua.
Despite Intense Scrutiny, Uber Lays Another Egg
March 10, 2017
Already under the microscope for claims of sexual harassment and questionable labor practices, Uber this week said it would ban the use of a controversial technology to block regulatory authorities from monitoring its operations. The company's "greyballing" technology is designed to hide the standard city app view in specific cases -- for example, from former riders blocked for being abusive.
Autonomous Delivery Robots to Hit Virginia's Streets
March 10, 2017
Autonomous delivery robots will be able to travel on sidewalks, crosswalks and shared-use paths throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia this summer. Gov. Terry McAullife recently signed a law permitting the use of Starship Technologies' Personal Delivery Devices. The six-wheeled robots, which resemble coolers, are designed to deliver parcels, groceries and food within a two-mile radius.
GE Digital VP Beena Ammanath: For Most Women, STEM Is an Uphill Battle
February 23, 2017
Beena Ammanath is VP for data and analytics at GE Digital. She has worked in the data analytics field for more than 20 years and serves as board director at ChickTech, a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting girls and women into the tech workforce and retaining them once they're there. Ammanath also serves on the Cal Poly Computer Engineering Program Industrial Advisory Board.
Uber Wants Fleeing Customers to Know It's Hurting
February 23, 2017
Uber has been responding to recent requests to delete customer accounts with a statement that claims "everyone at Uber is deeply hurting" and "it's everyone's number one priority to create change in the coming months and years." The pop-up statement, which Twitter users began circulating on Wednesday, appears to be Uber's latest effort to stem the flow of customers from the company.
Microsoft Makes VR Drone Fight Simulator Available on GitHub
February 21, 2017
Microsoft has introduced an open source virtual reality toolkit for the training of autonomous drones. The beta software became available on GitHub last week. The toolkit is designed to allow developers to "teach" drones how to navigate the real world by recreating conditions such as shadows, reflections and even objects that might confuse a device's on-board sensors.
Tesla Goes Underground and Uber Takes to the Skies: The Birth of Magic
February 13, 2017
As in crazy short, in a very short period of time we have two very different companies looking at two very different ways to eliminate traffic. Tesla wants to tunnel under the ground to avoid traffic, while Uber wants to fly overhead. Transportation has been a tad static for the last 40 years or so, and that apparently is about to change big time. This is just the start.
Gadget Ogling: Gaming's New Virtual Reality Frontier and Personal Cargo Robots
February 10, 2017
Regular readers will know that I've played games my entire life. I hold deep reverence for the care and attention that go into creating these experiences, and I've rarely met a game I didn't want to conquer. Yet I am nervous about virtual reality. I've tried it and found those disorientating worlds difficult to handle, though I suspect that over time I could grow more accustomed to it.
Amazon to Build $1.5B Prime Air Cargo Hub in Kentucky
February 4, 2017
mazon, which has moved forward aggressively in recent years to take control of its retail distribution chain, this week announced plans for a $1.5 billion Prime Air cargo hub in Kentucky. Amazon already employs more than 10,000 people at 11 fulfillment centers in the state. The company received about $40 million in government incentives to base its new air cargo hub in Hebron.
Tech Industry Reacts to Trump's Immigration Order
February 3, 2017
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday resigned from President Trump's business advisory council amid fierce blowback against the president's recent executive order on immigration, and in the wake of reports that several major Silicon Valley firms, including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google, have been circulating a draft letter opposing Trump's action.
3 Teams Qualify for Tube Test in Hyperloop Pod Competition
February 1, 2017
Elon Musk's hyperloop dream began to take shape in reality last weekend as 27 teams, including six from outside the U.S., participated in a competition to create the mass transit vehicle of the future. The competition in Hawthorne, California, sponsored by SpaceX, which Musk founded, attracted teams made up mostly of students who created pods designed to run on hyperloop transportation systems.
BlackBerry, Microsoft and the Ever-Smarter Connected Car
January 30, 2017
BlackBerry last week announced that its turnaround was finished, and Microsoft finally provided some information on its new connected car deliverables. One strange thing was that after CEO John Chen excitedly pointed out that BlackBerry had displaced Microsoft in Ford, he then announced a strategic initiative to work more closely with Microsoft on BlackBerry's own market-leading QNX car OS.
CES 2017's Magic
January 9, 2017
CES was a fascinating show this year. One of the things that made it so fascinating was that everyone and their brother had cars demonstrating one form of technology or another. It kind of makes me wonder what we'll see at the next car show -- PCs, drones, tablets and smartphones? That wasn't the only surprise at the show, though. Nvidia, long thought of as living in Intel's shadow, broke out.
Nvidia Lays Out Bold Strategy at CES
January 6, 2017
Nvidia offered a bold new strategy at this week's International CES in Las Vegas. The company, which has been a leader in hardware graphics technology for decades, recently has expanded into the realms of artificial intelligence, deep learning and automotive tech. Graphical support and video delivery will however remain a key component of the company's strategy, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.
Google, FCA Test-Drive New Open Source Infotainment System
January 5, 2017
Google and FCA this week showcased a new in-auto infotainment platform at CES in Las Vegas. The open source system combines Uconnect with Android Auto. The companies demonstrated their concept design inside a Chrysler 300 sedan at the show. The integration of Android and Uconnect enables a system built for connectivity and compatibility with the universe of popular Android applications.
Looking Ahead to CES: This Will Be a Big One
January 2, 2017
CES week is here, and it's the one week of the year I look forward to looking back on. CES is a killer show -- not because you are up to your armpits in interesting new products, but because it is so spread out that it'll kill your legs as you hike all over the damn place. One year, I walked so much I actually ripped the soles off both shoes. This show is weird, in that it really comes too early.
Waymo Offers Glimpse of Autonomous Chrysler Minivans
December 20, 2016
Waymo, the standalone venture that emerged from Google's self-driving car project, on Monday unveiled a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans with the latest high-tech sensors, telematics, and other gear designed for fully autonomous operation. Modifications were made to several parts of the Pacifica to optimize it for fully autonomous driving.
Uber Staff Still Stalking Customers, Claims Suit
December 17, 2016
The controversy over Uber staff using the company's tech to track people's movements was reignited this week when information in a pending lawsuit began circulating in the tech press. Uber employees can pull customer data at will, alleged Ward Spangenberg, the company's former forensic investigator, in a court declaration filed earlier this fall.
Nvidia Takes Self-Driving Journey to California Roads
December 15, 2016
Nvidia last week began test-driving autonomous cars on California roads, after the state's Department of Motor Vehicles gave it the green light. The company is testing its Drive PX2 autonomous driving platform, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Nvidia recently has made several well publicized moves in the autonomous car arena.
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