While Google and Tesla duke it out for autonomous driving supremacy -- and Apple waits in the wings -- Nvidia might actually offer the best solution. Unlike the traditional approach to autonomous driving, Nividia is teaching its card to drive the same way driving instructors taught each of us. Rather than relying on programming alone, Nvidia's AI is fully capable of learning just by watching human drivers -- for better or worse. Dubbed'BB-8' (Disney is not going to be happy about that naming choice), the program doesn't share the challenges faced by current self-driving technology. Blind corners, hard turns, construction zones and traveling on uncharted roads offers a fair bit of difficulty for Google's autonomous driver.
Startups focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning will be top acquisition targets in 2017 as chip manufacturers, software firms, and the automobile industry increasingly seek to add those features to their products. After decades of research, the push to make smarter computing devices with AI and programs that can learn on their own via machine learning techniques has reached the point of market readiness, analysts at 451 Research wrote in a report this week about possible acquisition activity in these fields. "The artificial intelligence winter spanning 30 years or more is finally over," they wrote. AI and machine learning have been deployed for a wide array of uses, covering everything from analyzing image files and other big data to piloting drones, cars, and robots. And there has already been plenty of related M&A dealing this year, such as Intel's intc $400 million purchase of Nervana and ARM Holdings' $350 million deal for Apical.
Let's be real: Smartphones are pricey and as far as gifts go, they're hard to keep a surprise. But there's also a good chance someone in your life is due for an upgrade, and as the holiday season approaches, you're likely to spot some good deals. For Engadget's 2017 holiday gift guide, we recommend four phones: the iPhone 8/8 Plus, the Google Pixel 2 and 2XL, the older-but-still-good Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and the Moto G5 Plus, for the budget conscious. We also threw in some tablets for good measure: the basic iPad for Apple fans and the Galaxy Tab S3 for Android users. Certain folks requiring more power might be better served by the 10.5-inch iPad Pro or Microsoft's Surface Pro, but unless your giftee also needs a laptop replacement, you can easily get by with something less expensive.