Automobiles & Trucks


The Latest Battleground for Chipmakers: Self-Driving Cars

WIRED

It may be a long time before you can own a truly self-driving car. But chipmakers are placing bets that you will. On Tuesday, the Japanese chipmaker Renesas, the second-largest provider of semiconductors for the automotive industry, said it will acquire San Jose based chipmaker Integrated Device Technology (IDT) for $6.7 billion, in part to prepare for autonomous vehicles. IDT has not historically provided chips for cars, but it does have sensor and wireless technologies that could help Renesas compete in the market for chips for autonomous vehicles. "Renesas and IDT have complementary technologies," says Objective Analysis analyst Jim Handy.


Renesas acquires IDT in $6.7bn deal to boost self-driving car chip business

ZDNet

Renesas has announced the acquisition of Integrated Device Technology (IDT) in a deal worth $6.7 billion. On Tuesday, the Tokyo, Japan-based semiconductor manufacturer said the deal will add a number of "complementary product lines" to the Renesas lineup, which will support the firm's growth strategy. The acquisition has been agreed for $49 per IDT share, representing a premium of roughly 29.5 percent over IDT common stock price as of August 30. The all-cash transaction is worth approximately $6.7 billion (733 billion yen). Equity finance will not be raised for the transaction' instead, cash reserves and bank loans will provide the funding required.


How do you get people to trust autonomous vehicles? This company is giving them 'virtual eyes.'

Washington Post

One of the biggest challenges facing car companies developing driverless vehicles has little do with sophisticated robotics or laser technology. Instead, they must figure out how to engineer something far more amorphous but no less important: human trust, the kind that is communicated when human drivers and pedestrians make eye contact at a crosswalk. Surveys indicate that large portions of the public harbor deep reservations about the safety of self-driving technology, so Jaguar Land Rover enlisted the help of cognitive psychologists to unpack "how vehicle behaviour affects human confidence in new technology," the British automaker said in a news release. Its solution for answering that question: virtual eyes, a large cartoonish pair that bring to mind the plastic googly eyes you probably glued onto projects in elementary school. The eyes have been fitted to autonomous vehicles known as "intelligent pods."


"We are Still Working With Tesla," Says Nvidia A.I. Expert

#artificialintelligence

Tesla is working on its own autonomous driving chip, but its relationship with Nvidia is not over yet, says, Alison Lowdnes, who works on artificial intelligence developer relations for Nvidia. Lowdnes confirmed to Inverse that the chip maker is still working with the automaker, despite Tesla CEO Elon Musk's announcement earlier this month. "We're still working with Tesla," Lowndes told Inverse Friday during an interview at the Human-Level Artificial Intelligence conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Tesla declined to comment on the relationship to Inverse. The confirmation follows comments from Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang in this month's second-quarter earnings call, where he said that "if it doesn't turn out, for whatever reason it doesn't turn out for them [Tesla], you can give me a call and I'd be more than happy to help."


Elon Musk's Apology, Tesla's Quarter, Waymo's Transit Partner, and More Car News This Week

WIRED

When it comes to relationships, even the business kind, sometimes you just have to make nice. That's what Tesla's Elon Musk did this week, when he expressed regret about sounding a bit overtaxed during an ultimately upbeat quarterly earnings call for the tumultuous electric carmaker. He's still in the depths of production hell, you see. Meanwhile, the autonomous developers at Waymo decided to make friends with public transit officials in Phoenix, agreeing to work with them to ensure their driverless vehicles work for seniors and writers with disabilities. And in Sacramento, officials are opening their doors, er, streets to all the Bay Area self-driving developers who are sick of the fog and high housing costs.


Elon Musk Says Tesla Has A Blazingly Fast Onboard Computer To Aid Autopilot

Forbes Technology

Tesla's second-quarter earnings call included a discussion of the computational hardware system that Tesla uses for its Autopilot driver assistance functionality. Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that Tesla is building its own computational hardware, as opposed to the traditional automotive approach of sourcing computational units from semiconductor suppliers. Furthermore, Musk revealed that Tesla's computer is, "an order of magnitude improvement in the frames per second." Musk included the top three leaders of Autopilot on the call: Stuart Bowers (VP of Engineering), Peter Bannon (Director of Silicon Engineering), and Andrej Karpathy (Director of AI). But it's an incredible job by Pete and his team to create this, the world's most advanced computer designed specifically for autonomous operation.


Tesla is making AI chips in-house for its self-driving cars

#artificialintelligence

On the back of its biggest loss ever which saw it lose $717mn in one quarter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that the company is building its own AI chips for its self-driving cars. Up until now, Tesla had been relying on Nvidia's Drive technology to power self-driving capabilities in its cars.


Tesla just reported the biggest loss in its history

Daily Mail

As a result, electric car company reported a net loss of £548 million ($717.5 million) for its latest financial quarter, despite cranking out more vehicles than ever before. However, investors were buoyed by the news that Tesla still holds £1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) in cash reserves -- enough to keep building cars without borrowing more. CEO Elon Musk also pledged to post a profit later this year, as he set the firm the ambitious new goal of producing 10,000 Model 3s each week by next year. Tesla has cut back on capital spending by changing its strategy to produce the sedan on existing assembly lines – one of which is protected from the elements using a giant tent outside the factory – rather than adding all-new lines. Shares jumped 9.3 per cent to £328.85 ($328.85) in after-hours trading.


Tesla goes big in China with Shanghai plant

#artificialintelligence

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Tuesday landed a deal with Chinese authorities to build a new auto plant in Shanghai, its first factory outside the United States, that would double the size of the electric car maker's global manufacturing. The deal was announced as Tesla raised prices on U.S.-made vehicles it sells in China to offset the cost of new tariffs imposed by the Chinese government in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump's heavier duties on Chinese goods. Musk was in Shanghai Tuesday, and the Shanghai government in a statement said it welcomed Tesla's move to invest not only in a new factory in the city, a center of the Chinese auto industry, but in research and development, as well. China has long pushed to capture more of the talent and capital invested by global automakers in advanced electric vehicle technology. Tesla plans to produce the first cars about two years after construction begins on its Shanghai factory, ramping up to as many as 500,000 vehicles a year about two to three years later, the company said.


Groupe PSA and Inria create an OpenLab dedicated to artificial intelligence - Automotive World

#artificialintelligence

Groupe PSA and Inria today announced the creation of an OpenLab dedicated to artificial intelligence. The studied areas will include autonomous and intelligent vehicles, mobility services, manufacturing, design development tools, the design itslelf and digital marketing as well as quality and finance. "Artificial intelligence will quickly become an efficiency factor for the group. The OpenLab will work on artificial intelligence algorithms enabling autonomous vehicles to drive in complex environments for example. It will also work on predictive maintenance, powertrain design optimisation and the modelling of complex systems such as cities, to offer mobility services adapted to people's needs" said Carla Gohin, Groupe PSA's Vice President for Research and Advanced Engineering.