Singapore talking with more electric car companies after Dyson, but Tesla apparently not among them

Japan Times >> News

LOS ANGELES - Following Dyson Ltd.'s plans late last year to manufacture its first electric car in Singapore, the city-state is now in talks with other makers of green vehicles to set up shop on the island. Singapore is pitching its connectivity to global markets through free-trade agreements, its high-skilled workforce and stringent protection of intellectual property, which is critical for the industry, according to the government agency set up to attract investments to the country. "Hopefully they won't be the only one we land," Chng Kai Fong, managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said in an interview, referring to Dyson's plans. The whole idea is to build clusters." Bringing in other electric car manufacturers will create scale for the sector in Singapore, which is also spurring the development of autonomous vehicles in the country. The use of high-tech robotics and automation, as well as supply chain management and connectivity, could help dispel concerns on the high labor costs in Singapore. "It's much more of a capital game than a labor game," Chng said in San Francisco, where his agency hosted two technology-related conferences, including the Bridge Forum. "That plays to our strength." Dyson, the closely held manufacturer of hand dryers and vacuum cleaners, said in October it plans to complete its factory by 2020 with the goal of rolling out its first model by 2021 as part of a £2 billion ($2.6 billion) effort to expand into automobiles. Earlier this year, billionaire inventor James Dyson raised the stakes by announcing plans to relocate his company's head office to Singapore from the U.K. with the growing importance of Asia to its business. Singapore doesn't have a single car-manufacturing plant and is one of the costliest places in the world to buy an automobile. And not every electric carmaker is a fan. Elon Musk tweeted in January that Singapore has been unwelcoming to Tesla Inc., adding to his previous assertions that the government doesn't support electric vehicles. The billionaire chief executive officer was responding to a tweet inquiring why Tesla wasn't in the Southeast Asian nation. Musk had said in May that Tesla tried to bring its cars to Singapore but was unsuccessful because the government was "not supportive" of electric vehicles. Singapore is also getting pushback from some companies for introducing a carbon tax. The government says it's to help meet its Paris Agreement obligations, but it would also in turn drive up costs compared with other Asian markets. "Increasingly, carbon will be a constraint," Chng said. "But we have to do it.

From '12345' to 'blink182', the most hacked passwords revealed in warning over cyber-security

The Independent

Using easily guessed passwords across multiple accounts is a major gap in the online security habits of British people, a government study has found. The survey by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that many internet users did not know the best ways to protect themselves from cybercrime, with 42 per cent expecting to lose money to online fraud. Only 15 per cent of the survey's 2,500 respondents said they knew "a great deal" about how to protect themselves from harmful activity online, while fewer than half of respondents said they do not always use a strong, separate password for their main email account. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.

AI as a job saver? Why Japan's auto industry is embracing Industry 4.0


The International Auto Show is underway in New York City today, and technology is in the spotlight. Much as the auto industry paved the way for industrial automation, carmakers have started to adopt artificial intelligence to speed up manufacturing and increase precision. That's brought increased focus on human workers. Just as the auto industry is a bellwether for manufacturing tech, it's also a real world laboratory for the effects of new technologies on the labor force. Artificial intelligence in the real world: What can it actually do?

Coming soon to China: the car of the future -- hyper-connected, autonomous and shared

The Japan Times

SHANGHAI - Global automakers are positioning themselves for a brave new world of on-demand transport that will require a car of the future -- hyper-connected, autonomous and shared -- and China may become the concept's laboratory. With ride-hailing services booming and car-sharing not far behind, the need for vehicles tailored to these and other evolving mobility solutions is one of the hottest topics among global automakers gathered for this week's Shanghai Auto Show. Nearly all agree that there is no better proving ground than China: Its gigantic cities are desperate for answers to gridlock and its population is noted for its ready embrace of new high-tech services. To take advantage of this, manufacturers are competing not only to sell conventional and electric vehicles in the world's biggest auto market, but also to develop new technologies and even specific interiors designed for the on-demand world. "We cannot just develop electric cars. They will have to be smart, interconnected and of course shared," Zhao Guoqing, vice president of Chinese auto giant Great Wall Motors, said on the auto show's sidelines.

Uber's self-driving unit gets its own CEO and a $1 billion investment


As Uber finally closes in on its IPO, its self-driving car unit is getting a big cash infusion and some independence. The company announced tonight that Toyota, Denso and Softbank are investing a total of $1 billion in its Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG), in a deal that values that part of the company at $7.25 billion. This adds onto Toyota's $500 million investment last year, which the two said would lead to the creation of an autonomous fleet based on Toyota's Sienna minivan. So far, many of the big car companies are teaming up to develop autonomous tech combined with ridesharing angles as it's expected to be a huge market in the next few years. According to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, "The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable. Today's announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain Uber's position at the forefront of that transformation."

Porn ban: Twitter, Reddit and Imgur can still show adult videos without age ID checks

The Independent

The UK government's plan to prevent children and teenagers from viewing pornographic content online has a major flaw that means not all porn will be blocked. Critics have called the so-called porn ban "disastrous" for people's privacy, as it will require people to share their personal data online in order to visit porn sites. But the new rules, which come into effect on 15 July, can be skirted by visiting sites that are not subject to the age verification checks. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.

Apple shows off robot for tearing down iPhones as it reveals new recycling programs

The Independent

Daisy, one of Apple's most valued resources, eats iPhones. She's very, very good at it, and getting better: trained with a precision that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. She is a robot, with a variety of tools built to rip the phones apart. That includes, for instance, a tool that can chill phones down so that the battery holding the glue inside becomes brittle, and it can be knocked out with two aggressive bangs; precise pins that can pick the display off the housing that surrounds it; drills that can punch into the phone and drive out the things that might make it difficult to recycle. It won't surprise anyone to hear that Apple is pretty good at making iPhones.

UK porn ban: What is it, when does it come into effect and can I get around it?

The Independent

The UK is about to introduce restrictions on watching pornography of a kind never before seen in the world. The government is planning to stop children being damaged by watching adult content by stopping anyone from doing so unless they go through a "rigorous" age verification process. Websites that aren't part of the blocks could find themselves being punished or blocked entirely within the UK. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.

Porn ban: VPN interest surges as people look for best ways to bypass ID checks

The Independent

The recently announced identity checks to stop under-18s from visiting pornographic websites in the UK have led to a surge in interest in technology that would allow people to bypass them. Critics claim the new rules are "disastrous" for people's privacy and are fundamentally flawed due to the ease of which they can be circumvented using virtual private networks (VPNs). Searches for VPNs on Google's search engine tripled in the hours following the government's announcement that the verification system would come into effect in July. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.

PS5 release date: Sony hints at when new PlayStation will come out

The Independent

The PlayStation 5 isn't coming this year but could arrive soon after that, Sony has suggested. The console is coming along quickly, with many of its specs in place and developers already working with early versions to understand the kind of games they might be able to create, its architect Mark Cerny has revealed in a wide-ranging interview with Wired. Mr Cerny explicitly said that the console won't be arriving in 2019, in line with expectations but dashing the hopes of anyone who had hoped the console could be about to arrive by surprise. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.