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Amazon launches new service that lets auto, device makers build customized voice assistants

ZDNet

Amazon is rolling out a new service that gives companies access to Alexa's AI smarts to build their own voice assistants. Amazon said the Alexa Custom Assistant lets automakers and device manufacturers create voice assistants that are built on Alexa technology and work in cooperation with Alexa. The company said this is the first time it's offering this type of access to its voice AI technology. Automaker Fiat Chrysler is the first to integrate Alexa Custom Assistant into its vehicles. Among the key features of the service, Amazon is highlighting what it calls an industry-first capability of simultaneous multi-assistant cooperation.


Amazon built a customized Alexa assistant that's coming to cars

Engadget

Amazon is opening up its AI tech to automakers and other third-companies with a new product called Alexa Custom Assistant. It will allow brands to build their own custom intelligent assistants that "co-exist" with Alexa, according to Amazon. That will allow them to create unique wake words, voices and capabilities "to each company's unique personality and customer needs," the company wrote in a press release. Alexa Custom Assistant will let customers use both Alexa and their own branded assistant to do something called "simultaneous multi-assistant cooperation. "This allows the brand's assistant to act as the product specialist, while Alexa is still available to help with everyday needs," Amazon wrote.


Car screens didn't just go big at CES. They went 3D, with game-worthy graphics.

Mashable

The upcoming Cadillac Lyriq SUV is the first electric car for the Cadillac car brand, but it's the reimagined dashboard display spanning 33 inches across that attracts the most attention. Mercedes-Benz also has a massive 56-inch Hyperscreen that will be available soon in its first EV. These car screens and others introduced at the annual tech show CES feature a new user interface that looks more like a well-rendered video game than an infotainment display to turn up the heat or play a podcast. Past CES shows used to wow with announcements about bigger and bigger dashboard screens, but now it's about what's on them. The Lyriq's 33-inch LED display stands out on its own, but its graphics feel almost too sharp for a screen stuck in a car.


These Adorable Fish Robots Form Schools Like the Real Thing

WIRED

Seven little Bluebots gently swim around a darkened tank in a Harvard University lab, spying on one another with great big eyes made of cameras. They're on the lookout for the two glowing blue LEDs fixed to the backs and bellies of their comrades, allowing the machines to lock on to one another and form schools, a complex emergent behavior arising from surprisingly simple algorithms. With very little prodding from their human engineers, the seven robots eventually arrange themselves in a swirling tornado, a common defensive maneuver among real-life fish called milling. Bluebot is the latest entry in a field known as swarm robotics, in which engineers try to get machines to, well, swarm. And not in a terrifying way, mind you: The quest is to get schools of Bluebots to swarm more and more like real fish, giving roboticists insights into how to improve everything from self-driving cars to the robots that may one day prepare Mars for human habitation.


Cadillac of the sky: GM reveals flying autonomous car that hits 56mph - and a self-driving shuttle

Daily Mail - Science & tech

General Motors (GM) is taking its business to new heights by unveiling a flying self-driving taxi under its Cadillac brand at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The American carmaker shared a concept video showcasing a single-seater electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that tops speeds of 56mph. Not only is GM's future taking to the skies, but the video also showed it is heading down the road with a new luxury autonomous shuttle that seats two passengers. The concept vehicles were revealed during the firm's morning remarks at the tech conference that is being held virtually for the first time due to the lingering coronavirus pandemic. General Motors (GM) shared a concept video of two futuristic vehicles under the Cadillac brand.


Cadillac shows off a single-seater VTOL drone concept

Engadget

At GM's CES keynote, the company showed off a number of Cadillac vehicles, both real and imagined, to explain its vision for the future of transport. On the fantastic side, the company presented two concept vehicles that it says will exemplify its "halo portfolio." First up is a single-seater drone, a VTOL craft with a 90kW battery, that can travel from rooftop-to-rooftop at up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. Second is the "Personal Autonomous Vehicle," a self-driving box on wheels. GM says the craft behaves more like a "mobile living room" with an environment that can be fine-tuned to suit your needs.


GM will reveal its new Chevy Bolt and Bolt 'EUV' next month

Engadget

General Motors is almost ready to unwrap its revamped Bolt vehicles. Today, the automaker -- which just unveiled a new EV-inspired logo -- released a frustratingly short teaser and confirmed that two models will be formally revealed next month. One is a refreshed version of the classic Chevy Bolt, while the other is an "EUV," which apparently stands for Electric Utility Vehicle. We've known about the pair for some time: both were referenced as part of a GM event in March last year. The standard Bolt EV was supposed to come out in late 2020, but was pushed back due to the "current business situation," better known as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Mobileye Puts Lidar on a Chip--and Helps Map Intel's Future

WIRED

The recent past has not been especially kind to Intel. The chip giant has been hamstrung by manufacturing delays, remonstrated by activist investors, and beset by competition from familiar rivals like AMD as well as from Apple, whose M1 processor is an unabashed powerhouse. There have been bright spots as well, though, including one announced today: Mobileye, the self-driving car company that Intel acquired for $15 billion in 2017, has put lidar on a chip. Mobileye is not alone in its pursuit of shrinking down lidar in both size and cost; companies like Aeva and Voyant Photonics have developed their own systems as well. Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua doesn't expect his lidar system-on-a-chip to be fully baked until 2025.


CES 2021: Intel's Mobileye touts new Lidar silicon chip for autonomous vehicles

ZDNet

Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua said the company has been focused on a technology trinity that includes Mobileye's automatically generated, crowdsourced high-definition maps; a driving policy based on Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS); and the company's camera-first mature sensing technology. Combined with a new Lidar SoC manufactured using Intel silicon, Mobileye posits that it will be able to scale its autonomous driving technology for mass consumer use by 2025. Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel for $15 billion in 2017, plans to kickstart its long term AV vision with the launch of a robotaxi fleet sometime in 2022. "Consumer AV will take some time, therefore if we want to start practicing, we have to start with robotaxis," Shashua said in his CES keynote. "Then we can build the radar Lidar subsystem. Our first-generation robotaxis will be based on Luminar Lidar."


Samsung unveils AI-powered robot vacuum at CES that uses sensors found in self-driving cars

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Samsung's new robotic vacuum uses the same LiDAR sensor technology as self-driving cars to detect obstacles and react accordingly. According to the company, the 3D sensors on the JetBot 90 AI are sophisticated enough to know which objects it can bump up against, like a table leg, and which to give a wide berth to, like a houseplant or pet poop. Perhaps best of all, the vacuum empties its contents into an easily portable pouch that can be lifted out and tossed every few months. Samsung rolled out the JetBot 90 AI at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where it also unveiled an AI-powered laundry system that learns user preferences and recommend optimal washing and drying cycles. Powered by Intel, the JetBot 90 AI combines a LiDAR sensor, similar to that used in autonomous vehicles, with AI-enhanced object-recognition technology to detect distance and track precise locations.