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Instead Of Ten-Figure Funding, This Robotaxi Startup Has Actual Customers

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Voyage recently announced its 2nd gen self-driving taxi, and a fleet partnership with Enterprise. Among the big auto Goliaths and their swollen check-writing wrists, there's a little startup armed with a slingshot and bragging rights. That startup is Voyage, and it has some lessons to teach the mobility sector. The team who spun out of Udacity's self-driving car nanodegree program has raised just over $20M to date, per CEO Oliver Cameron. For reference, that's two orders of magnitude smaller than the last investment round announced by GM's Cruise.


Graphene tech: What if five minutes were enough to charge your battery?

ZDNet

Video: Samsung to make batteries charge faster and last longer with new 3D graphene. People often credit their ideas to inexplicable eureka moments. Almost two years ago, Rafa Terradas was thinking about developing an innovative bicycle, unlike anything else on the market. At the time, he was also collaborating with the Spanish National Research Council, CSIC, on a project using artificial intelligence and robotics to help autistic children communicate with their environment. There, he met members of the research group from the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) dedicated to graphene, which is a super-thin material that's stronger than steel, more conductive than copper, and flexible.


Nuro's self-driving vehicle is a grocery-getter and errand-runner

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Not every self-driving car has to be able to move passengers from point A to point B. Take, for example, Nuro: The startup just revealed their unique autonomous vehicle platform, which is more of a mobile small logistics platform than a self-driving car. The company, which has been working away in stealth mode in Mountain View until now, has raised a $92 million Series A round led by Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners to help make its unique vision of autonomous transport take shape. Nuro's vehicle is a small, narrow box on wheels, which is about half the width of a regular car, and which is designed to be a lightweight way to get goods from a local business to a customer, or from one person to another within a neighborhood or city. The platform is just one example of what Nuro wants to do, however; the startup bills itself as a product company focused on bringing "the benefits of robotics" to everyday use and ordinary people. Nuro's AV also operates completely autonomously, and looks like something you'd see on a Moon base in a retro-futuristic sci-fi show.


Grabbing an Uber? Now You Can Buy Your Own Insurance for the Ride

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

The startup, Sure Inc., has developed a product for passengers to purchase accident and death coverage on an on-demand, per-day basis via a smartphone application. It covers costs of injuries sustained when traveling in a ride-sharing vehicle. One of the world's biggest property-casualty insurers, Chubb is part of an industrywide race to develop new products as the car industry goes through a monumental shift. Ride-hailing services continue to rise in popularity, while growth in autonomous vehicles will shift driving from humans to computers. Both trends threaten to cut into one of the industry's biggest product lines in the U.S.: car insurance bought by individuals.


Startup uses artificial intelligence to analyze vehicle driver behavior

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Brazilian startup Cobli has specialized in technological solutions for vehicle fleet monitoring and management. It is currently focusing on safety and refining a tool to identify driver behavioral patterns by analyzing data collected by a solar-powered tracker. The project is based on machine learning, an application of artificial intelligence, and had the support from the São Paulo Research Foundation--FAPESP through its Innovative Research in Small Business Program (PIPE). "The algorithm uses the data collected to establish a driving profile with more than 90% accuracy," says engineer Rodrigo Mourad, a partner and co-founder of Cobli. According to Mourad, in one or two weeks of use, the system can glean a sufficient amount of data--on speed, acceleration, braking and curve angles--to produce a profile of the driver's vehicle handling habits.


Toyota AI Ventures bets on Boxbot

ZDNet

Self-driving robots for urban delivery are on the way, aided by investment from some big players in the industry. Boxbot, an Oakland startup that makes self-driving delivery robots, just raised $7.5 million in a seed round that included investment from Toyota AI Ventures, the AI-focused venture subsidiary of the recently-formed Toyota Research Institute. "I've previously argued that it will be years before we share the roads with fully-autonomous, Level 5 self-driving cars," says Jim Adler, Managing Director of Toyota AI Ventures. "That said, there are specific use cases and environments where autonomous vehicles could hit the roads now. Self-driving package delivery is another example of just such a use case."


Startup uses artificial intelligence to analyze vehicle driver behavior

#artificialintelligence

Brazilian startup Cobli has specialized in technological solutions for vehicle fleet monitoring and management. It is currently focusing on safety and refining a tool to identify driver behavioral patterns by analyzing data collected by a solar-powered tracker. The project is based on machine learning, an application of artificial intelligence, and had the support) from the São Paulo Research Foundation - FAPESP through its Innovative Research in Small Business Program (PIPE http://www.bv.fapesp.br/en/3). "The algorithm uses the data collected to establish a driving profile with more than 90% accuracy," says engineer Rodrigo Mourad, a partner and co-founder of Cobli. According to Mourad, in one or two weeks of use, the system can glean a sufficient amount of data - on speed, acceleration, braking and curve angles - to produce a profile of the driver's vehicle handling habits.


When Your Robot Car Gets Stumped, This Startup Wants To Steer It Out Of Trouble

Forbes Technology

Phantom Auto will provide its remote driving system for Einride's cabless, self-driving T-pod electric trucks. Consumer surveys point to lingering public concerns about the safety of self-driving cars even as the technology launches this year with Waymo's robot-taxi service in Phoenix. Silicon Valley startup Phantom Auto thinks it can lessen that anxiety with a backup driver who can take the wheel remotely when a robot chauffeur needs help. "We're not trying to be an AV player. We want to be a safety solution," Shai Magzimof, Phantom's 27-year-old CEO, founder and inventor of its technology, told Forbes.


The race to build autonomous delivery robots rolls on

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It's been a busy year in delivery robot land. Starship Technologies sounded the starting gun to bring autonomous delivery vehicles to market with a $17.2 million round led by Daimler back in January 2017. Then in January this year the Mountain View, Calif.-based company Nuro raised the curtain on its own vision for robo-delivery with a whopping $92 million in funding. Meanwhile, upstart Robomart has its own notion for delivery vehicles that it unveiled at CES. And not to be outdone, everyone's favorite Chinese retail powerhouse, Alibaba, announced its own self-driving delivery vehicle.


Who's Winning the Self-Driving Car Race?

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In the race to start the world's first driving business without human drivers, everyone is chasing Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo. The Google sibling has cleared the way to beat its nearest rivals, General Motors Co. and a couple of other players, by at least a year to introduce driverless cars to the public. A deal reached in January to buy thousands of additional Chrysler Pacifica minivans, which get kitted out with sensors that can see hundreds of yards in any direction, puts Waymo's lead into stark relief. No other company is offering for-hire rides yet, let alone preparing to carry passengers in more than one city this year. GM plans to start a ride-hailing service with its Chevrolet Bolt--the one with no steering wheel or pedals, the ultimate goal in autonomous technology--late next year, assuming the U.S. government has protocols in place by then. SoftBank Vision Fund, the gigantic Japanese tech investor, backed that plan on May 31 by dropping $2.25 billion into GM Cruise Holdings, the automaker's autonomous drive unit. Most of the others trying solve the last remaining self-driving puzzles are more cautious, targeting 2020 or later. The road to autonomy is long and exceedingly complicated. It can also be dangerous: Two high-profile efforts, from Uber Technologies Inc. and Tesla Inc., were involved in crashes that caused the death of a pedestrian (in the first known case of a person killed by a self-driving vehicle) and a driver using an assistance program touted as a precursor to autonomy. One of Waymo's autonomous vans was involved in a collision just last week.