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Hitting the Books: What autonomous vehicles mean for tomorrow's workforce

Engadget

In the face of daily pandemic-induced upheavals, the notion of "business as usual" can often seem a quaint and distant notion to today's workforce. But even before we all got stuck in never-ending Zoom meetings, the logistics and transportation sectors (like much of America's economy) were already subtly shifting in the face of continuing advances in robotics, machine learning and autonomous navigation technologies. In their new book, The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines, an interdisciplinary team of MIT researchers (leveraging insights gleaned from MIT's multi-year Task Force on the Work of the Future) exam the disconnect between improvements in technology and the benefits derived by workers from those advancements. It's not that America is rife with "low-skill workers" as New York's new mayor seems to believe, but rather that the nation is saturated with low-wage, low-quality positions -- positions which are excluded from the ever-increasing perks and paychecks enjoyed by knowledge workers. The excerpt below examines the impact vehicular automation will have on rank and file employees, rather than the Musks of the world.


Supercharged: Tesla shares rally to a record high

Al Jazeera

Tesla Inc. shares rallied to a record high on Friday, taking the electric-vehicle maker another step closer to joining an elite group of companies with market valuations of at least $1 trillion. The stock jumped as much as 1.8% to touch a high of $910, before closing at $909.68 in New York. That drove the Elon Musk-led automaker to briefly overtake the valuation of Facebook Inc. The trailblazing electric-vehicle maker is up 29% this year, ahead of S&P 500 Index's 21% advance. Meanwhile, Facebook took a heavy hit on Friday after a cautious outlook from Snapchat parent Snap Inc. weighed on the shares of ad-dependent technology companies.


When self-driving cars are coming, for real

#artificialintelligence

Self-driving features have been creeping into automobiles for years, and Tesla (TSLA) even calls its autonomous system "full self-driving." That's hype, not reality: There's still no car on the market that can drive itself under all conditions with no human input. But researchers are getting close, and automotive supplier Mobileye just announced it's deploying a fleet of self-driving prototypes in New York City, to test its technology against hostile drivers, unrepentant jaywalkers, double parkers, omnipresent construction and horse-drawn carriages. The company, a division of Intel (INTC), describes NYC as "one of the world's most challenging driving environments" and says the data from the trial will push full self-driving capability closer to prime time. In an interview, Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua said fully autonomous cars could be in showrooms by the end of President Biden's first term.


3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Leading the New Wave

#artificialintelligence

Sometimes, a new technology will change the world forever. 5,000 years ago, a nameless Sumerian started marking clay tablets with a stylus, and invented writing; a little over three centuries ago, the steam engine took its place in our lives; early in the last century, Henry Ford came up with the assembly line. There’s no telling what innovation will prove to be game-changing; but it is possible to narrow the field down. And that brings us to AI. Artificial Intelligence, AI, may just be the next big idea. It’s not quite new – computer scientists and programmers have been working on ‘intelligent machines’ since the 1950s, at least – but the tech is finally maturing, and autonomous computers, capable of collating data and making decisions in real time, are no longer a pipe dream. The implications are staggering. Practical AI makes it possible for machines to learn, and to apply that learning. AI programs underly advanced voice and facial recognition systems and fraud detection programs, applications that depend on pattern recognition. More advanced AI is being applied to the automotive industry, where it is used to monitor automobile systems in real time – and to permit driverless vehicles. And this has not been ignored by Wall Street. Analysts say that plenty of compelling investments can be found within this space. With this in mind, We’ve opened up TipRanks’ database, and pulled three AI stocks that are on the leading edge of the technology. Importantly, all three earn Moderate or Strong Buy consensus ratings from the analyst community, and boast considerable upside potential. TuSimple Holdings (TSP) The first AI stock we’re looking at here, TuSimple Holdings, is deeply involved in the autonomous vehicle industry. The company is working on AI systems that will power self-driving trucks, allowing for greater efficiency and safety in the long-haul trucking industry. TuSimple has developed an advanced autonomous driving system specifically for the needs of the trucking industry; the company’s AI backs a long-range perception system that can spot, recognize, and identify objects as far away as 1,000 meters. In another achievement, TuSimple last summer launched an Autonomous Freight Network, through which the company will address the trucking industry’s challenges. TuSimple’s AI tech will allow the company’s trucks to conduct long-haul freight runs. The AI will monitor sensor systems to keep the truck on the road, and navigate to the destination – in all weather, and even in traffic conditions. To raise capital, TuSimple held its IPO last month, offering 33.75 million shares to the public at $40 per share. Of those shares, 27 million were offered by the company, with an existing shareholder putting 6.75 million shares on the market. TuSimple received the proceeds from the shares it sold directly, totaling over $1.08 billion before expenses. Writing from Canadian investment bank RBC, analyst Joseph Spak notes that TuSimple is highly speculative – but that if it succeeds, the rewards will be enormous. “We understand concerns about vetting the technology, adoption and the path towards revenue and profitability. But if TuSimple succeeds, the equity value is significantly higher. As such, we view TuSimple very much like a venture investment in the public markets or perhaps, a biotech stock. The upside opportunity is massive. Proof points (milestones, orders) along the way should increase the market’s confidence in TuSimple’s mid-term targets and long-term opportunity, thereby increasing its stock price,” Spak explained. In line with his comments, Spak rates TSP an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and sets a $52 price target that suggests an upside of 44% in the next 12 months. (To watch Spak’s track record, click here) Overall, TuSimple personifies everything that risk-loving investors want in the stock market. It uses cutting edge tech; it has staked out a position in a field that is not quite here, but is coming; and it’s an early adopter. While still in early stages of building out its products and AI systems, the stock has attracted 7 analyst reviews – 6 to Buy, and 1 to Hold – giving it a Strong Buy consensus rating. The shares are selling for $36.08, and their $54.70 average price target imply a one-year upside of ~52%. (See TSP stock analysis on TipRanks) Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) Next up, Nvidia, is one of the giants of the silicon microprocessor industry. These are the computer chips that make all of the high tech systems possible. Nvidia was the eighth largest chip maker last year, with more than $16 billion in total sales, up 53% from the year before. Nvidia’s chief connection to AI is through the automotive industry. The company has long sold chips to car makers – automotive business makes up between 5% and 10% of Nvidia’s sales – but the car makers over the past year have been ordering more AI capable systems. Nvidia delivers chips and associated packages that allow an autonomous vehicle’s AI system to build perception, mapping, planning, and monitoring capabilities. Nvidia is working on transferring its automotive AI systems into the data center segment; the monitoring needs of large server stacks are comparable to those of autonomous vehicles, and will benefit from the application of machine learning. Covering NVDA for Baird, 5-star analyst Tristan Gerra rates the stock an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with an $800 price target, which implies ~45% upside. The bull thesis is based on "Nvidia’s strong near-term positioning in AI data center markets and longer-term opportunities across many accelerated computing applications." (To watch Gerra’s track record, click here) "As Nvidia increasingly moves to platform solutions targeting and enabling all AI markets, while diversifying its architecture offering, the company is poised to over time dominate data center. Omniverse gives us an early glimpse of a virtual 3D world which Nvidia is at the forefront and ultimately yielding to a matrix computing world. More near term, GTC-announced foray into CPUs will expand Nvidia's computing TAM," Gerra opined. Overall, no fewer than 27 analysts have put reviews on NVDA on record, and of those, 24 are to Buy against just 3 to Hold. NVDA shares are selling for $550.34; the average price target of $682.20 implies an upside of 24% from that level. (See Nvidia stock analysis on TipRanks) Upstart Holdings (UPST) We’ll finish in financial tech, where Upstart Holdings has applied AI technology to power a lending platform. Using AI, the company aims to evaluate borrowers to determine actual risk levels and creditworthiness. A clearer understanding of the natural risks of lending money will allow lenders to approve more transactions, give otherwise marginal borrowers greater access to capital, and provide cost savings on both ends. Upstart boasts that its AI analysis platform has helped more than 698,000 customers to acquire loans, and that its model provides for 27% more loan approvals than traditional credit-scoring methods. Upstart’s AI evaluates 1,600 data points, and results in borrowers accessing funds at 16% lower rates than would otherwise be possible. The company has been in business since 2012, and went public on the NASDAQ in December of 2020. The IPO saw the company make 9 million shares made available to the public at $20 each, raising $180 million. In March of this year, Upstart released its first quarterly report as a publicly traded entity. The company reported $86.7 million in total revenues, up 39% from one year earlier. Of that total, $84.4 million was derived from usage fees. For the full year 2020, Upstart saw a 42% yoy increase in revenue, to $233.4 million. Among the bulls is Piper Sandler analyst Arvind Ramnani, who is impressed by both the company’s model, and its forward prospects. "We expect Upstart to expand its market share well beyond its primary product focus of unsecured personal loans, and its recently announced auto loans... Key to Upstart’s AI offering is its a) inherent training data advantage backed by the >1,620 variables aggregated to inform their models; b) AI algorithms that have been extensively tested and refined; c) Over 10.5M discrete repayment events that further validate the data and algorithms. Upstart’s SaaS-based revenue model (only ~1% balance sheet loan exposure) has the ability to deliver upside to our 58% CAGR (2020-2023E), in a massive market ($700B NT; $3.4T LT opportunity),” Ramnani opined. To this end, the analyst rates UPST shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $143 price target implies an upside of 65%. (To watch Ramnani’s track record, click here) Let’s take a look at how the rest of the Street sees 2021 panning out for UPST. Based on 4 Buys and 2 Holds, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is $123.50 suggesting a 34.5% upside potential from the trading price of $91.82. (See UPST stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for AI stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.


Autonomous Driving, AI System on a Chip, Drug Discovery Firms Among Top Funded - AI Trends

#artificialintelligence

The top-funded companies on the recently-released list of top 100 most-promising AI companies to watch from CBInsights, a market intelligence company based in New York, include companies offering autonomous driving software, an AI System on a chip, endpoint security with AI, and a drug discovery company. The list, selected from a base of 6,000 companies, is based on business relations, investor profile, news sentiment analysis, R&D activity, a proprietary scoring system, market potential, competitive landscape, team strength and tech novelty, according to an account in TechRepublic. "This year's cohort spans 18 industries, and is working on everything from climate risk to accelerating drug R&D," stated CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal. Companies on last year's list went on to raise $5.2 billion in additional financing, including 16 of over $100 million each. Some companies exited via merger or acquisition, IPOs or SPACS.


AutoPreview: A Framework for Autopilot Behavior Understanding

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The behavior of self driving cars may differ from people expectations, (e.g. an autopilot may unexpectedly relinquish control). This expectation mismatch can cause potential and existing users to distrust self driving technology and can increase the likelihood of accidents. We propose a simple but effective framework, AutoPreview, to enable consumers to preview a target autopilot potential actions in the real world driving context before deployment. For a given target autopilot, we design a delegate policy that replicates the target autopilot behavior with explainable action representations, which can then be queried online for comparison and to build an accurate mental model. To demonstrate its practicality, we present a prototype of AutoPreview integrated with the CARLA simulator along with two potential use cases of the framework. We conduct a pilot study to investigate whether or not AutoPreview provides deeper understanding about autopilot behavior when experiencing a new autopilot policy for the first time. Our results suggest that the AutoPreview method helps users understand autopilot behavior in terms of driving style comprehension, deployment preference, and exact action timing prediction.


How an Automated Data Labeling Platform Fuels Self-driving Industry?

#artificialintelligence

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / August 26, 2020 / "I'm extremely confident that self-driving cars or essentially complete autonomy will happen, and I think it will happen very quickly," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a virtual speech to the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in July, 2020. Musk mentioned Tesla will have basic functionality for level-five complete autonomy this year. The self-driving vehicles is not just hot in Silicon Valley. In China, the largest automobile market worldwide, companies are also getting on board to develop autonomous driving technology, including China's internet search tycoon Baidu, also referred to as the "Google of China." Baidu has been developing the autonomous driving technology through its "Apollo" project (also known as open-source Apollo platform) launched in April 2017.


The Smart Car Failed In The US, Now It's Betting On China

#artificialintelligence

The tiny Smart car was meant to be a revolutionary new idea in urban mobility. But more than 20 years after its creation, the Smart car pulled out of the U.S. after years of increasingly dismal sales. Now, its parent company, Daimler, is looking in a new direction. About CNBC: From'Wall Street' to'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more.


These Small Cars Can Help Drive the Autonomous Future

#artificialintelligence

Over the next three years, Houssam Abbas will carefully send 80 modified Traxxas RC rally cars--the Ford Fiesta model--to research facilities around the country. Some will go to Arizona State University, others to Clemson University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, or the University of Iowa. In each place, researchers will open their packages, take out the 21-inch, modified, 1/10th-scale car, and begin to run tests. Abbas, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Oregon State University, hopes the toys are the key to cracking the self-driving car. He and colleagues believe their miniature, cheap, open source, self-driving "platform" will give 33 scientists of all stripes chances to experiment with cutting-edge technology at a critical moment: before autonomous vehicles hit the streets en masse.


Driverless cars off to a slow start at Brooklyn Navy Yard

#artificialintelligence

New York's first-ever commercial driverless cars got off to a slow start in the Big Apple. Boston-based tech company Optimus Ride's fleet of six autonomous vehicles officially opened to the public Wednesday, transporting passengers along a one-mile loop around the Brooklyn Navy Yard. But the demand for the free robo-shuttle service between the NYC Ferry stop at Dock 72 and Cumberland Gate at Flushing Avenue proved sparse during Wednesday's morning rush. Wednesday, The Post observed roughly 15 people hitch a ride in the driverless vehicles, which can hold six passengers, over the hour. One user, 46-year-old Carey Booth who commutes by ferry from her home in Astoria to her job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard every day, took a ride in the shuttle while on her way to work.