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The Morning After: LG might get out of the smartphone business

Engadget

In the US, today is Inauguration Day, and as Joe Biden prepares to take the oath as our 46th president, it's worth taking a look back at the discussions four years ago. Back then, the "most tech-savvy" president exited as all eyes turned to Donald Trump trading in his Android Twitter machine for a secure device. We know how things went after that. Donald Trump isn't tweeting anymore (at least not from his main accounts), and the country is struggling through a pandemic. The outgoing president just saw his temporary YouTube ban extended and, in one of his last official acts, pardoned Anthony Levandowski for stealing self-driving car secrets from Google's subsidiary Waymo.


Honda to collaborate with GM over self-driving service in Japan

The Japan Times

Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it will collaborate with General Motors Co. and its unit Cruise LLC on launching a service using self-driving vehicles in Japan and start feasibility tests later this year. Automakers are scrambling to develop next-generation autonomous vehicles, with IT firms also joining the race. Honda and major U.S. carmaker GM agreed in 2018 to join hands in developing self-driving vehicles. Honda said it plans to start a mobility business using the Cruise Origin, a self-driving vehicle being developed by the three companies, with an eye to offering new transportation solutions in potential collaboration with local governments in Japan. "Through active collaboration with partners who share the same interests and aspirations, Honda will continue to accelerate the realization of our autonomous vehicle MaaS business in Japan," Honda President Takahiro Hachigo said in a statement, referring to its mobility service.


Microsoft invests in General Motors' self-driving subsidiary Cruise

ZDNet

Microsoft is investing in General Motors' self-driving subsidiary Cruise. In return, Cruise and GM are touting Azure as their "preferred" (though not exclusive) cloud vendor. According to the January 19 press release about the deal, Cruise will use Azure for its autonomous vehicle solutions. GM will work with Microsoft on collaboration, storage, AI and machine learning, as well as on digital-supply chain, productivity and mobility services. And Microsoft will join GM, Honda and institutional investors in a combined, new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise.


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.


Robotics trends at #CES2021

Robohub

Even massive events like the 54th edition of Consumer Electronics Show (CES) have gone virtual due to the current pandemic. Since 1967, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which is the North American trade association for the consumer technology industry, has been organising the fair, and this year was not going to be any different--well, except they had to take the almost 300,000m${} 2$ from CES 2020 to the cloud. In this post, I mainly put the focus on current and future hardware/robotics trends presented at CES 2021 (because we all love to make predictions, even during uncertain times). "Innovation accelerates and bunches up during economic downturns only to be unleashed as the economy begins to recover, ushering in powerful waves of technological change"--Christopher Freeman, British Economist. With this quote, I start the first session on'my show' of CES 2021, 'Tech trends to watch' by CTA (see their slides here).


Flying cars, smart beds: 5 things I'd actually buy from CES 2021

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Despite the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place online for the first time in its 54-year history, the all-digital 2021 CES still served as a window to the near future, featuring more than 1,800 exhibitors showcasing their wares – virtually speaking. Granted, it can be tougher to assess how impressive these products are without seeing them with your own eyes – like the latest TV technologies or self-driving cars – but the show managed to surprise and delight with several innovative offerings. As an annual tradition during CES, the following is a few gadgets I'd actually shell out money for – even if they're not available for a long while. Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12?:How Samsung and Apple smartphones stack up Teased by Samsung earlier in the week, Bot Handy is a domestic robot that can roam around your home to perform chores – such as picking up clothes from the floor or loading the dishwasher – but my favorite feature is pouring a glass of wine and bringing it to you. After all, after the year we've just endured, who wouldn't want this kind of high-tech pampering.


These Adorable Fish Robots Form Schools Like the Real Thing

WIRED

Seven little Bluebots gently swim around a darkened tank in a Harvard University lab, spying on one another with great big eyes made of cameras. They're on the lookout for the two glowing blue LEDs fixed to the backs and bellies of their comrades, allowing the machines to lock on to one another and form schools, a complex emergent behavior arising from surprisingly simple algorithms. With very little prodding from their human engineers, the seven robots eventually arrange themselves in a swirling tornado, a common defensive maneuver among real-life fish called milling. Bluebot is the latest entry in a field known as swarm robotics, in which engineers try to get machines to, well, swarm. And not in a terrifying way, mind you: The quest is to get schools of Bluebots to swarm more and more like real fish, giving roboticists insights into how to improve everything from self-driving cars to the robots that may one day prepare Mars for human habitation.


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.


Cadillac shows off a single-seater VTOL drone concept

Engadget

At GM's CES keynote, the company showed off a number of Cadillac vehicles, both real and imagined, to explain its vision for the future of transport. On the fantastic side, the company presented two concept vehicles that it says will exemplify its "halo portfolio." First up is a single-seater drone, a VTOL craft with a 90kW battery, that can travel from rooftop-to-rooftop at up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. Second is the "Personal Autonomous Vehicle," a self-driving box on wheels. GM says the craft behaves more like a "mobile living room" with an environment that can be fine-tuned to suit your needs.


Mobileye Puts Lidar on a Chip--and Helps Map Intel's Future

WIRED

The recent past has not been especially kind to Intel. The chip giant has been hamstrung by manufacturing delays, remonstrated by activist investors, and beset by competition from familiar rivals like AMD as well as from Apple, whose M1 processor is an unabashed powerhouse. There have been bright spots as well, though, including one announced today: Mobileye, the self-driving car company that Intel acquired for $15 billion in 2017, has put lidar on a chip. Mobileye is not alone in its pursuit of shrinking down lidar in both size and cost; companies like Aeva and Voyant Photonics have developed their own systems as well. Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua doesn't expect his lidar system-on-a-chip to be fully baked until 2025.