There's a new Lexus NX around the corner that's sporting a mild redesign, but the big news revolves around the all-new infotainment system inside. This new system is called Lexus Interface, for better or worse, and it's a shot across the bow in the battle for your in-car infotainment needs. That means the interface was produced in North America, which Toyota says is the first time this has happened. But it makes sense, given that this interface is going up against the tech giants from Silicon Valley, namely Apple and Google. The Japanese carmaker doesn't want to mirror your smartphone; it plans to replace it.
William Li is being mobbed. At a gala dinner in Shanghai, the founder of Chinese electric carmaker Nio Inc. can barely move forward in the buffet queue before being stopped for another selfie, handshake or hug. Swapping his usual attire of jeans and a T-shirt for a tailored grey suit and blue dress shirt, the tall 46-year-old happily obliges with a smile. Li manages to spoon a small amount of fried rice and vegetables onto his plate, but he's not here for the food. Over the next three hours, Li poses for hundreds more photos, chatting with customers of the automaker he started just over six years ago and has built into a way of life -- at least for the people who buy his cars -- with clubhouses, a round-the-clock battery recharging service and even clothing, food and exercise equipment, all decked out in Nio's geometric logo. As Li works the room, a video backdrop shows six performers, each wearing a different-colored Nio hoodie, singing a self-composed song dedicated to the company.
The self-driving vehicle industry may be young, just a bit over a decade old, but already a meaningful trend is taking shape: it's proving to be more open to women CEOs and founders–including women of color–than the broader tech industry and for U.S. companies generally. With this week's news that Waabi founder and CEO Raquel Urtasun raised $83.5 million in a Series A round for her Toronto-based startup, three out of 12 leading autonomous technology companies in North America are now led by women. What's more, in a time when companies across all industries are working to improve diversity, two of the women leading self-driving tech companies, Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana, are Black. "I've been really excited to see the number of women interested in autonomous technology. There's an appreciation for what it can do for people, what it's going to unlock," says Alisyn Malek, who left General Motors to cofound autonomous shuttle startup May Mobility in 2017 (and is currently executive director of the Washington-based Commission on the Future of Mobility).
Cambridge-based AI startup Fetch.ai has announced a partnership with IOTA, an open-source distributed ledger focused on the Internet of Things. Fetch.ai has caught the attention of investors for its potentially groundbreaking machine learning network of autonomous "agents" that can perform real-world tasks. It's also caught our attention, making our list of innovative companies to watch in 2021. IOTA was among the most hyped projects during the 2017 cryptocurrency/blockchain frenzy (or bubble, dependent on your perspective.) While most projects have since collapsed, IOTA continues to go from strength-to-strength and has announced a series of partnerships with giants like Dell and Jaguar Land Rover.
The all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning, announced recently by the Ford Motor Co., will feature hands-free driving by virtue of Blue Cruise advanced driving assistance system (ADAS). The hands-free driving features will also be available on the 2021 internal combustion pickup truck and certain Mustang models through a software update later this year, according to an account in TechCrunch. The hands-free capability uses cameras, radar sensors and software to provide a combination of adaptive cruise control, lane centering and speed-sign recognition. It has undergone some 500,000 miles of development testing, Ford emphasized in an announcement in April. The system also has an in-cabin camera that monitors eye gaze and head position to help ensure the driver's eyes remain on the road.
Japan can't build a cutting-edge chip development and manufacturing base on its own, and must seek to cooperate with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), according to Akira Amari, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Amari, a former economy minister who heads an LDP working group on semiconductor strategy, added that the government must be prepared to spend trillions of yen to keep up with the U.S. and Europe. Both have plans to pour money into the industry amid a global shortage of semiconductors, including advanced logic chips that are essential for everything from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving. "Unlike the purely domestic, independent way it was done in the past, I think we need to cooperate with overseas counterparts," Amari said in an interview in Tokyo on Monday. "The world's top logic chipmaker is TSMC, so we must think about how to cooperate with them."
Argo AI is in the business of building self-driving technology you can trust. With experienced leaders in the field and collaborative partnerships with some of the world's largest automakers, we're building self-driving technology that is engineered to scale globally and transform mobility for millions. Talented individuals join our team because they share our purpose to make it safe, easy, and enjoyable for everyone to get around cities. We aspire to impact key industries that move people and goods, from ride hailing to deliveries. The Machine Learning Infrastructure & Analytics (MLIA) team at Argo is responsible for delivering the platforms, tools, and services that power the ML workflows and Data Analysis needs of the organization. The Data Engineering sub-team of MLIA builds and maintains the data pipelines and software tooling that drive Ground Truth Labeling, ML Training, Data Science, and Data Analytics at Argo.
Santa Clara, California AI vision silicon company, Ambarella, Inc., is supplying its CV25AQ CVflow AI vision processor to Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd. for the WEY Mocha crossover SUV. The System on Chip (SoC) provides a variety of simultaneous, multi-camera channel combinations for recording and/or in-cabin sensing, with the entire system meeting Euro NCAP 2025 safety standards. The automotive-qualified AEC-Q100 Grade 2 Ambarella CV25AQ will serve as part of Great Wall's "Coffee Intelligence" AI driving platform, which comprises Intelligent Cockpit Systems, Intelligent Drive, and Intelligent Automotive Electronic and Electrical Architecture Technology. WEY is Great Wall Motors' premium brand, named after company founder Wei Jianjun. "Ambarella and GWM have a strong history of successful collaboration, with several generations of vision systems already in production for a variety of car models," said Fermi Wang, CEO of Ambarella.
Yesterday Nokia announced a new blockchain powered offering to enable data to be sold and used for AI and machine learning. Called Nokia Data Marketplace, the objective is to motivate enterprises and telecoms firms to share their data by offering them a monetary incentive. The solution uses the Hyperledger Fabric enterprise blockchain and its permissioning to ensure the security and integrity of the data that's exchanged. Ultimately the objective is to aggregate data from distributed sources for machine learning. It also enables federated learning in which data stays local, runs a machine learning model, and feeds back updates to improve the model without sharing the underlying data.
When BMW set out to make the iX, it promised to stuff all the latest tech available into its all-electric SUV. While there was plenty to drool over at the unveiling of its technology flagship on Tuesday in Los Angeles, several of the forward-thinking tech features BMW had showcased in a concept car that preceded the iX didn't make it into the production vehicle. And a lot of the coolest driving assistance options, like having the car change lanes for you or follow the car in front of you, don't come standard -- something other all-electric SUV manufacturers already offer. The all-wheel drive BMW iX, which is set to go on sale sometime between January and March 2022, will start at $83,200, go about 300 miles on a single charge, has a top speed of 144 mph, and bursts from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds. Its dual motors provide 516 horsepower.