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Microsoft Bets on Driverless-Car Space With Investment inGM's Cruise

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Microsoft Corp. is investing in General Motors Co. 's driverless-car startup Cruise as part of a strategic tie-up, another sign of renewed interest in the autonomous-technology space after a relatively quiet period. Microsoft is among a group of companies that will invest more than $2 billion in San Francisco-based Cruise, which has been majority-owned by GM since early 2016. The financing brings Cruise's valuation to $30 billion, Cruise said Tuesday, up from an estimated $19 billion in spring 2019. GM is adding to its Cruise investment as part of the funding round and will retain a majority stake, a Cruise spokesman said. The investment also includes current stakeholder Honda Motor Co. and other institutional investors that Cruise declined to name.


GM shows off flying car idea, the Cadillac Halo

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

General Motors has inched slightly closer to fulfilling its quest to put the world in flying cars. As part of the 2021 virtual Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday, GM showed renderings and animation of what it dubbed its Cadillac Halo concepts: the Cadillac Personal Autonomous Vehicle, which is like a fancy self-driving taxi, and Cadillac Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) vehicle, a sleek and futuristic drone-like flying car. "The VTOL is GM's first foray into air travel," said Michael Simcoe, GM's vice president of global design. Advances in electric vehicles and other technology are now "making personal air travel possible," he said. Simcoe's presentation came in the middle of GM CEO Mary Barra's keynote address to CES, the annual exhibition normally held in Las Vegas that features the latest technology.


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.


GM's Cruise Driverless-Car Unit Picks Up Former Delta Operations Chief

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

General Motors Co. 's driverless-car division, Cruise, has hired a former Delta Air Lines Inc. Gil West, who retired in September after 12 years at Delta, has joined Cruise as chief operating officer, Cruise said Friday. Mr. West was highly regarded at Delta, where he oversaw the company's rise from a reliability laggard to the top ranks. The hire signals that Cruise, which has been refining and testing its autonomous technology on the streets of San Francisco for years, is readying its operations to roll out a commercial service. Mr. West's position is a new role at Cruise, which has spent its seven years as a research-and-development company.


Waymo won't talk about 'self-driving' cars anymore, in apparent dig at Tesla

ZDNet

Alphabet-owned Waymo has stopped referring to "self-driving" to describe its technology and form now on will only use the term "fully autonomous driving technology" instead. The Google sister company is taking a pretty clear swipe at Tesla's $10,000 Full Self-Driving feature that's rolling out in beta to drivers in the US, prompting drivers to test out how well it can handle short and long trips without human intervention. Waymo – which used to refer to itself as "formerly the Google self-driving car project" – is now dropping the term. "You'll see us using more deliberate language, referring to our fully autonomous driving technology, and no longer referencing'self-driving'," the company said. Waymo draws a distinction between fully autonomous technology it's developing, and'driver-assist' or'self-driving', which demand oversight from a human with a driver's license.


The Autonomous-Car Chaos of the 2004 Darpa Grand Challenge

WIRED

When the inquisition required him to drop his study of what the Roman Catholic Church insisted was not a heliocentric solar system, Galileo Galilei turned his energy to the less controversial question of how to stick a telescope onto a helmet. The king of Spain had offered a hefty reward to anyone who could solve the stubborn mystery of how to determine a ship's longitude while at sea: 6,000 ducats up front and another 2,000 per year for life. Galileo thought his headgear, with the telescope fixed over one eye and making its wearer look like a misaligned unicorn, would net him the reward. Determining latitude is easy for any sailor who can pick out the North Star, but finding longitude escaped the citizens of the 17th century, because it required a precise knowledge of time. That's based on a simple principle: Say you set your clock before sailing west from Greenwich.


2021: The Year of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

While the pandemic has been painful, it has caused things to accelerate in several areas impressively rapidly. Two of those areas are robotics and artificial intelligence, which we'll see adapted broadly this decade with a considerable bump in 2021. Let's talk about all of that this week, and we'll close with the first product of the week in 2021, the Somnofy AI Sleep Monitor.


'Peak hype': why the driverless car revolution has stalled

The Guardian

By 2021, according to various Silicon Valley luminaries, bandwagoning politicians and leading cab firms in recent years, self-driving cars would have long been crossing the US, started filing along Britain's motorways and be all set to provide robotaxis in London. Indeed in the last weeks of 2020 Uber, one of the biggest players and supposed beneficiaries, decided to park its plans for self-driving taxis, selling off its autonomous division to Aurora in a deal worth about $4bn (£3bn) – roughly half what it was valued at in 2019. The decision did not, Uber's chief executive protested, mean the company no longer believed in self-driving vehicles. "Few technologies hold as much promise to improve people's lives with safe, accessible, and environmentally friendly transportation," Dara Khosrowshahi said. But more people might now take that promise with a pinch of salt.


Top 100 Artificial Intelligence Companies in the World

#artificialintelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just a buzzword, but a crucial part of the technology landscape. AI is changing every industry and business function, which results in increased interest in its applications, subdomains and related fields. This makes AI companies the top leaders driving the technology swift. AI helps us to optimise and automate crucial business processes, gather essential data and transform the world, one step at a time. From Google and Amazon to Apple and Microsoft, every major tech company is dedicating resources to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. As big enterprises are busy acquiring or merging with other emerging inventions, small AI companies are also working hard to develop their own intelligent technology and services. By leveraging artificial intelligence, organizations get an innovative edge in the digital age. AI consults are also working to provide companies with expertise that can help them grow. In this digital era, AI is also a significant place for investment. AI companies are constantly developing the latest products to provide the simplest solutions. Henceforth, Analytics Insight brings you the list of top 100 AI companies that are leading the technology drive towards a better tomorrow. AEye develops advanced vision hardware, software, and algorithms that act as the eyes and visual cortex of autonomous vehicles. AEye is an artificial perception pioneer and creator of iDAR, a new form of intelligent data collection that acts as the eyes and visual cortex of autonomous vehicles. Since its demonstration of its solid state LiDAR scanner in 2013, AEye has pioneered breakthroughs in intelligent sensing. Their mission was to acquire the most information with the fewest ones and zeros. This would allow AEye to drive the automotive industry into the next realm of autonomy. Algorithmia invented the AI Layer.


Nuro gets green light to become first autonomous-vehicle delivery service in California

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A driverless-vehicle startup has become the first company approved to make deliveries in in California using an autonomous vehicle. Mountain View, California-based Nuro says it plans to begin commercial service as early as next year. Nuro started testing its fleet on California roads in 2017 and, during the pandemic, has shuttled medical goods to a Sacramento field hospital. The permit, however, will allow the company to charge for its service. Founded by two former Google engineers, Nuro will first launch a fleet of autonomous Toyota Priuses, then introduce its own low-speed R2 vehicle.