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China's BYD, Momenta enter venture for autonomous driving technology

#artificialintelligence

BEIJING, Dec 27 (Reuters) - China's BYD (002594.SZ) and autonomous driving startup Momenta have established a 100 million yuan ($15.7 million) joint venture to deploy autonomous driving capabilities across certain BYD car model lines, according to a Momenta statement and a person familiar with the matter. The new venture, called DiPi Intelligent Mobility Co and located in Shenzhen, combines BYD's capabilities as an automaker with Momenta's experience in intelligent driving, said the statement on Monday. BYD has invested 60 million yuan in the venture while Beijing-based Momenta is investing 40 million yuan, the person said. The person said the initial scope of work will include deploying "Level 2 plus" autonomous driving capability across some vehicle model lines. Level 2 semi-autonomous cars have technology that can take care of nearly all aspects of driving, from steering to acceleration and braking, but the driver needs to be ready to intervene if needed.


Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai raises $462 million in Toyota-led funding

The Japan Times

HONG KONG/BEIJING – Autonomous driving firm Pony.ai said on Wednesday it has raised $462 million in its latest funding round, led by an investment by Japan's largest automaker Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota invested around $400 million (¥44.2 billion) in the round, Pony.ai said in a statement, marking its biggest investment in an autonomous driving company with a Chinese background. The latest fund raising values the three-year-old firm, already backed by Sequoia Capital China and Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, at slightly more than $3 billion. The investment by Toyota comes at a time when global car makers, technology firms, start-ups and investors -- including Tesla, Alphabet Inc's Waymo and Uber -- are pouring capital into developing self-driving vehicles. Over the past two years, 323 deals related to autonomous cars raised a total of $14.6 billion worldwide, according to data provider PitchBook, even amid concerns about the technology given its high cost and complexity. The Silicon Valley-based startup Pony.ai -- co-founded by CEO James Peng, a former executive at China's Baidu, and chief technology officer Lou Tiancheng, a former Google and Baidu engineer -- is already testing autonomous vehicles in California, Beijing and Guangzhou.


US says Chinese ownership of Grindr is a national security risk

The Independent - Tech

The popular gay dating app Grindr represents a national security risk under its current Chinese ownership, according to the US government. Gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co is seeking to sell the app after being told the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has concerns about its ownership. It is understood to have told Kunlun it considers its involvement with Grindr a national security risk, although it has not been determined what specific issued it raised. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.


Programmer discovers trick to withdraw $1m of 'free money' from cash machine

The Independent - Tech

A bank worker in China discovered a loophole with ATM withdrawals that allowed him to take out more than $1 million in "free money" from cash machines over the course of several months. Qin Qisheng, who worked for the Huaxia Bank in Beijing, realised that cash withdrawn at around midnight did not register in the bank's system. After discovering the ATM trick, Qin reportedly added a script to the bank's software so that no alerts would be triggered by suspicious activity. He then used a test account to make withdrawals in amounts ranging from 5,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan. His illicit transactions were eventually noticed after 14 months, by which point he had withdrawn more than 7 million yuan (£800,000).


Huawei explained: The Chinese phone company hated and loved in equal measure

The Independent - Tech

In July 2018, the battle between Apple and Samsung to be the world's most popular smartphone maker was finally interrupted. After eight years, a Chinese upstart had entered the fray to challenge Samsung – but few people outside of Asia had ever heard of them. Huawei had overtaken Apple by selling more than 54 million units in the space of three months, largely helped by the success of its hugely popular flagship phones that boasted some of the most impressive specs on the market. Yet various political issues meant only a few thousand of those sales came from the highly lucrative US market. Since then, several other western governments have raised concerns about Huawei in relation to the firm's alleged ties with the Chinese government, with allegations that Huawei devices are being used as spy tools by Beijing.


Huawei phone equipment in UK to be dismantled amid fears they could be used by China to spy on people

The Independent - Tech

BT is removing Huawei technology from the phone networks amid fears that the Chinese government could be using its infrastructure to spy on citizens. The company says it will no longer use Huawei's equipment in its existing 3G and 4G networks, and that it would not use it to build the 5G ones that it is building at the moment. It is just the latest operator to announce that it would not use the Chinese companies equipment amid fears that phone messages they are relaying could be intercepted. New Zealand and Australia have stopped telecom operators using Huawei's equipment in new 5G networks because they are concerned about possible Chinese government involvement in their communications infrastructure. Huawei, the world's biggest network equipment maker ahead of Ericsson and Nokia, has said Beijing has no influence over its operations.


China rolls out surveillance system to identify people by their body shape and walk

The Independent - Tech

China has begun rolling out new surveillance software capable of recognising people simply by the way that they walk. The "gait recognition" technology, developed by Chinese artificial intelligence firm Watrix, is capable of identifying individuals from the shape and movement of their silhouette from up to 50 metres away, even if their face is hidden. The system is currently being used by police in Beijing and Shanghai and adds to the country's formidable surveillance network that includes an estimated 170 million CCTV cameras. The software can be used on footage from standard surveillance cameras, however it does not currently work in real-time. Instead, the footage is analysed once it is recorded, which takes approximately 10 minutes.


What A Didi-Volkswagen Partnership Could Mean For China's Auto Industry

Forbes - Tech

Cheng Wei, chairman and chief executive officer of Beijing Xiaoju Keji Didi Dache Co., speaks during the 4th World Internet Conference on Dec. 3, 2017 in Wuzhen, China. Hail a ride from DiDi Chuxing (China's version of Uber) and you're likely to be picked up by an ordinary person driving any one of China's dozens of mass production passenger cars. Expect the driver to be yammering away on the phone, while a good luck charm--likely a Daoist eternal knot--swings from the rearview mirror. But order a ride from DiDi's Premier service, and a dark-suited chauffer will show up in a polished luxury sedan, most likely a black Volkswagen Lamando. Complimentary bottles of own-label DiDi Premier mineral water await.


China Auto Exec on Self-Driving Cars: 'You Can't Just Put Some Sensors on Top'

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

China now has 93 pilot projects involving self-driving cars and shared-driving services nationwide, according to KPMG LLP. Some auto-industry leaders warn that developers may be moving too quickly toward testing on public roads. "It has to be based on solid research--you can't just put some sensors on top of a car," Li Shufu, the chairman of auto maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said at an autonomous-driving conference in Beijing on Wednesday. The government should intervene, Mr. Li said, and keep unqualified aspirants off the road. In January, it published a draft blueprint for the country's strategic development of autonomous driving as part of a broader plan to dominate the artificial-intelligence business.