Panasonic will invest more than $256 million in a New York production facility of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors to make photovoltaic cells and modules, deepening a partnership of the two companies. SAN FRANCISCO -- Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk famously called Apple a "Tesla graveyard" where his failed employees go to toil. That was a nifty bit of Musk-esque verbal sparring in what is a growing talent war between the tech titans. But it seems he's now robbing the graveyard. In a blog post Tuesday, Tesla announced that it was hiring 11-year Apple veteran Chris Lattner, an engineer who was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language for building apps on Apple platforms.
As the end of the year looms over the horizon, it's time to take a look forward and mull over the next big thing in technology. Like any year before, 2017 will bring its own problems and solutions, shaping up both the way we use and think about technology. TNW Conference is back for its 12th year. So without further ado, take a dive into the future and check out some of the most exciting tech trends to look forward to in 2017. With forecasts predicting its growth into a $30 billion market as early as 2020, much has been said about the bright future of virtual reality.
As the end of the year looms over the horizon, it's time to take a look forward and mull over the next big thing in technology. Like any year before, 2017 will bring its own problems and solutions, shaping up both the way we use and think about technology. So without further ado, take a dive into the future and check out some of the most exciting tech trends to look forward to in 2017. With forecasts predicting its growth into a $30 billion market as early as 2020, much has been said about the bright future of virtual reality. Although the technology remained on the verge of mainstream culture throughout most of 2015, things finally started to pick up over the last 12 months – and it seems this time around VR might legitimately reach the masses next year.
Mapmaking used to be the domain of a select group of cartographers that would gather, review, and plot out data onto sheets of paper. The chances that you actually knew a cartographer in the past were probably pretty slim--but not anymore. Today and in the future, virtually everyone is or will be a contributor to the increasingly detailed maps that represent the world we live in. As our vehicles become increasingly automated, they need ever more detailed maps and not just the maps we get from Google or Apple on our smartphones. The self-driving car will need much more information.
As carmakers and tech companies race to perfect self-driving vehicles, Apple's program and its automotive intentions remain notably ambiguous. Like Washington's old rule about the National Security Agency, its very existence isn't to be mentioned – at least not by the company. Yet when Apple recently offered views on preliminary guidelines for autonomous vehicles in a letter to U.S. regulators, it let slip an interesting detail: Its "Titan" project team has a high-level Big 3 veteran with more than 30 years of industry expertise. The author of Apple's comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is Steve Kenner, identified in the letter as the company's director of product integrity. It confirms that Apple wants the option to test automated vehicles on public roads, though it doesn't mention a specific plan to do so or an intention to commercialize such technology.
Apple has said in comments to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it is "excited" about the potential use of automated systems in many areas, including transportation. The company's director of product integrity Steve Kenner wrote that Apple is "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation." Kenner did not say if the company would design or make self-driving vehicles or perhaps only license some of its machine learning software to car makers, reflecting Apple's continued reticence on its plans for the automated vehicles market. The company could not be immediately reached for more information on its plans. Apple is already doing deals with car makers in the area of iPhone integration.
Apple, better known for laptops and mobile phones, has admitted for the first time that it is working on technology to develop self-driving cars. The company, which has been rumoured to be interested in the automated car market for the past two years, confirmed its previously secret initiative in a statement to the US highways regulator. "The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation," the letter from Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, to the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated. The letter offered no details of the project, instead highlighting the "significant societal benefits of automated vehicles", which it described as a life-saving technology, potentially preventing millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year. Although fully automated cars are not expected to be in use in the UK for several years, trials have already taken place both in Britain and the US.
The Apple rumormongers simply won't let talk of an Apple Car die. Just months after reports indicated that there was, in fact, no Apple Car on the way, now a new document is sure to stoke the fires of Apple fans' hopes that the company's logo will grace an automobile in coming years. A letter Apple sent to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in November, surfaced by Venturebeat on Friday, includes passages that indicate the company is interested in being a part of the autonomous automobile movement. Addressing the NHTSA's proposed Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, wrote, "Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal. The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation."
Crucially, Apple also believes that incumbent automakers might have an unfair edge. It wants newcomers to have the "same opportunity" to test self-driving vehicles that more "established" companies do, without having to chase after regulatory exemptions like it would today. In a statement to the Financial Times, Apple confirmed the letter's core message: the firm wrote to the NHTSA because it's "investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems," and it wants to help shape the "best practices" for self-driving cars. It's not confirming what it's making, however, including reports that it scaled back its automotive plans to focus on an underlying tech platform instead of building vehicles. There's no longer any doubt that Apple is interested in driverless cars, but there's also no guarantee that its technology will reach production cars in the first place, let alone that you'll see something Apple-branded on the road.
Apple's hopes of developing self-driving car technology have been a poorly kept secret for a while, and now it's coming clean. The company has sent a letter to the US' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledging that the company is "excited" about automation in numerous fields, "including transportation." It wants to test self-driving car tech, and it's hoping to address both ethical and regulatory issues. It believes the industry should share crash (and near-crash) data to improve safety, for example, but this "should not come at the cost of privacy." Crucially, Apple also believes that incumbent automakers might have an unfair edge.