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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'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.


'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.


Apple Car speculation is back. Here's what we know so far

CNN Top Stories

New York (CNN Business)Longstanding speculation that Apple will release its own electric, self-driving car was reignited last week when Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported that Apple plans to produce a passenger vehicle by 2024. Talk of the iPhone maker's ambitions to break into the auto industry has been swirling for about five years. Expectations for the effort, named Project Titan, range from the company developing its own Apple-branded car to providing operating system software to existing car manufacturers. In April 2017, Apple received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test self-driving vehicles there. An Apple car has the potential to be "a transformative event" for the automobile and mobility industry in the coming decades, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note to investors last week -- much as the iPhone changed the game for mobile phones.


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.


California clears Nuro's driverless cars to start making commercial deliveries

Engadget

It was only earlier this year that delivery service Nuro became the second company to get permission to test fully driverless vehicles in California, and now it can claim another milestone. California's DMV has granted the state's first Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Permit to the company. With the regulatory approval in hand, Nuro can begin operating a commercial autonomous vehicle service in California. Nuro says it will start making deliveries "soon" in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, with an announcement on a partnership with an "established" retail partner to follow. If you hope to see one of its adorable R2 delivery vehicles (pictured above) in action, you'll have to wait; the startup will first begin shuttling goods with its fleet of autonomous Toyota Prius cars before pressing the R2 into action.


Who are the Visionary companies in robotics? See the 2020 SVR Industry Award winners

Robohub

These Visionary companies have a big idea and are well on their way to achieving it, although it isn't always an easy road for any really innovative technology. In the case of Cruise, that meant testing self driving vehicles on the streets of San Francisco, one of the hardest driving environments in the world. Some of our Visionary Awards go to companies who are opening up new market applications for robotics, such as Built Robotics in construction, Dishcraft in food services, Embark in self-driving trucks, Iron Ox in urban agriculture and Zipline in drone delivery. Some are building tools or platforms that the entire robotics industry can benefit from, such as Agility Robotics, Covariant, Formant, RobustAI and Zoox. The companies in our Good Robot Awards also show that'technologies built for us, have to be built by us'.


What does Innovation look like in robotics? See the SVR 2020 Industry Award winners

Robohub

Self-driving vehicles would not be possible without sensors and so it's not surprising to see two small new sensors in the 2020 Silicon Valley Robotics'Good Robot' Innovation Awards, the Velabit from Velodyne and the nanoScan3 from SICK. Our other Innovation Awards go to companies with groundbreakingly new robots; from the tensegrity structure of Squishy Robotics, which will help in both space exploration and disaster response on earth, to the Dusty Robotics full scale FieldPrinter for the construction industry, and Titan from FarmWise for agriculture, which was also named one of Time's Best Inventions for 2020. Finally, we're delighted to see innovation in robotics that is affordable and collaborative enough for home robot applications, with Stretch from Hello Robot and Eve from Halodi Robotics. The Velabit, a game-changing lidar sensor, leverages Velodyne's innovative lidar technology and manufacturing partnerships for cost optimization and high-volume production, to make high-quality 3D lidar sensors readily accessible to everyone. The Velabit is smaller than a deck of playing cards, and it shatters the price barrier, costing $100.00 per sensor.


Robot Cars are Coming to Get You

#artificialintelligence

In addition to hoverboards, unicycles, mopeds, and dog-pulled skateboards – as well as an occasional car or bike – San Franciscans will soon be sharing the roads with driverless robocars, zipping through traffic without the added weight of human passengers. Last October Cruise LLC received a permit to test up to five vehicles at a time within City limits without a human in the driver's seat. Cruise is the fifth company allowed to conduct such field work in California. San Franciscans have seen plenty of self-driving cars, but always with human passengers. Usually identifiable by prominent logos and strangely protruding sensors, autonomous vehicles (AV) have been approved for testing on California's roadways since 2014.