With electric vehicles slowly gaining momentum toward becoming the dominant form of transportation in the U.S., two startups have struck up a partnership to help cities and utilities figure out where to put more car chargers. StreetLight Data, which sells transportation data to local governments, will offer Volta Charging's PredictEV tool to its customers. The tool uses AI to generate suggestions about where electric charging infrastructure would be most useful -- an urban planning consideration that is becoming more important as more electric vehicles hit the streets. Today, electric vehicles make up only around 2 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S., but that number is rising rapidly. In 2020, Pew Research found that the number of EVs sold in the country had more than tripled since 2016.
All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Blaize, a company developing AI edge computing platforms for automotive, enterprise, and computer vision markets, today announced that it raised $71 million in series D funding led by Franklin Templeton and Temasek, with participation from Denso and other new and existing backers. The company says that the funds will be used to support its go-to-market and R&D efforts. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of edge computing, or computation and data storage that's located close to where it's needed. According to the Linux Foundation's State of the Edge report, digital health care, manufacturing, and retail businesses are particularly likely to expand their use of edge computing by 2028.
Google announced today a new feature for electric vehicle owners that uses artificial intelligence to sort through thousands of public charging stations while finding the best route. The level of technology needed to make this type of route planning functional is a pretty clear indication of what an unholy mess EV charging in America is today. In a blog post published Wednesday, Google acknowledges that route planning in an EV can be like "solving a puzzle" (which is an overly polite way of saying it), with EV owners needing to find the right charging station within range that also has the specific type of plug their car needs. The new feature will only work for electric vehicles with Google's native Android Automotive system installed as their primary operating system. Right now, the only two models with Android Automotive are the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge, but Google says more are on the way.
Congrats, you just bought a Tesla. Now get ready to pay up. The electric car maker is breaking new ground yet again, this time by offering a subscription to unlock its "Full Self-Driving" feature. According to Tesla's website, for a monthly fee of $199 customers can access the not-fully autonomous capabilities of their electric automobiles. "With Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability, you will get access to a suite of more advanced driver assistance features, designed to provide more active guidance and assisted driving under your active supervision," explains the company.
Present in most LED screens, as well as the LED lights that now provide much indoor illumination, is the metal gallium. And while not as well known as silicon, it is taking over in many of the places that silicon once reigned supreme--from antennas to charging bricks and other energy-converting systems known as "power electronics." In the process, it's enabling a surprising array of new technologies, from faster-charging cellphones, to lighter electric vehicles, to more power-efficient data centers that run the services and apps we use. A byproduct of extracting aluminum from rock, gallium has such a low melting temperature that it turns into a runny, silvery-white liquid when you hold it in your hand. Combine it with nitrogen, to make gallium nitride, and it becomes a hard crystal with valuable properties.
Moving towards climate security, electric power systems are going through a major paradigm shift with wide integration of distributed energy resources, such as solar PV, wind power, energy storage and electric vehicles. However, today's grid cannot handle the voltage rise and fast voltage fluctuations from high penetration of renewables. It is widely recognized that the lack of adequate control mechanisms to regulate the voltages is a key hindrance. The goal of this project is to use AI and deep reinforcement learning to advance the current control designs by making them more data-driven and communication efficient. Depending on the candidate's qualifications and scientific interests, the project can be directed towards smart grid optimization, AI algorithm development or hardware implementations.
If you sent me a message on Twitter, email or pigeon post, please give me a few days to dig out of the pile that awaits me. You might recall that I mentioned I was off to do some backpacking and climbing in Grand Teton National Park and then eventually would make it to Yellowstone National Park. Yes, the crowds were real, especially for those who stuck to the traditional schedule of sightseeing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. I took the early morning and late evening approach and never encountered the infamous parking lot traffic jams. It's that tactic that allowed me to take a ride in an empty T.E.D.D.Y., the autonomous vehicle that is being piloted in Yellowstone this summer.
Tesla owners who want to tap into a self-driving feature when traveling local streets got a boost this weekend, when the electric car maker began releasing a much anticipated software update, reports say. The updates to the Full Self-Driving beta version 9 became available Saturday according to tech publication The Verge, and Electrek, a news site dedicated to reports about Tesla and other electric vehicles. The update expands assisted driving capabilities for a small pool of Tesla owners who get to try out features early, according to Electrek. Tesla's assisted driving programs have come under scrutiny in the wake of several accidents involving Teslas, including some that were in Autopilot mode. In the wake of those incidents, federal transportation officials have said Tesla has done an inadequate job of monitoring drivers to make sure they are engaged and also has permitted the Autopilot feature to be used on roads where it's not suitable.
To tackle climate change, scientists and advocates have called for a bevy of actions that include reducing fossil fuel use, electrifying transportation, reforming agriculture, and mopping up excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But many of these challenges will be insurmountable without behind-the-scenes breakthroughs in materials science. Today's materials lack key properties needed for scalable climate-friendly technologies. Batteries, for example, require improved materials that can yield higher energy densities and longer discharge times. Without such improvements, commercial batteries won't be able to power mass-market electric vehicles and support a renewable-powered grid.