Alternative To Lidar? Startup Light Raises $121M From SoftBank, Leica To Expand To Self-Driving Cars

Forbes Technology

Light cofounder and CEO Dave Grannan raised $121 million for his imaging platform on the promise of its value to robotics, drones, and, especially, self-driving vehicles.Courtesy of Light In February, Dave Grannan, cofounder and CEO of imaging startup Light, flew to Tokyo to meet SoftBank's Masayoshi Son for the first time since beginning conversations with the Japanese billionaire's venture-capital arm. After two more meetings, in Tokyo and Silicon Valley, Son agreed to lead a massive $121 million investment in Light, through his SoftBank Vision Fund. Leica Camera also joined the deal. A big reason that Light was able to attract so much funding is the promise of robots, drones and, especially, self-driving cars. Light uses complex algorithms to combine images from multiple camera modules into a single, high-quality image with depth.

10 things in tech you need to know today


This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday. News of this deal comes just four months after President Trump blocked Broadcom from acquiring chipmaker Qualcomm in a $103 billion hostile takeover on national security grounds. The new terms give Facebook explicit permission to audit developers' use of data, in what looks an effort to prevent a second Cambridge Analytica-style scandal. Musk was responding to a Twitter user who said he had been told Musk wouldn't be able to help bring clean water to Flint. According to an excerpt of the account in Vanity Fair, employees feared Brin's behaviour would lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Waymo adds 62,000 vehicles for autonomous taxi service

Daily Mail

Google-owned Waymo is adding as many as 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans to its autonomous fleet in an expanded collaboration announced by the companies on Thursday. Delivery of the Chrysler Pacifica minivans was expected to begin later this year, with the automaker also exploring the potential to build Waymo technology into a self-driving car it might add to its model line-up for consumers. 'FCA is committed to bringing self-driving technology to our customers in a manner that is safe, efficient and realistic,' chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said. John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, is seen in a 2017 photo with a customized Chrysler Pacifica that is being used in the Google-owned firm's autonomous car project'Strategic partnerships, such as the one we have with Waymo, will help to drive innovative technology to the forefront.' Waymo plans to launch the'world's first self-driving transportation service' this year, with people able to summon rides from driverless vehicles using a smartphone application.

Toyota will test self-driving car "edge cases" at new proving ground in Michigan


Toyota announced today that it will build a gigantic, 60-acre facility in Michigan to test "edge case" driving scenarios with its autonomous vehicles that are too dangerous to perform on public roads. The news comes more than a month after the Japanese auto giant halted its self-driving tests on public roads in the US in the wake of a deadly crash involving a self-driving Uber in Arizona. Construction permits were filed this week to transform an approximately 60-acre site at Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake into a closed-course facility for the Toyota Research Institute, the car company's Silicon Valley arm, to test its vehicles. The site will include congested urban environments, slick surfaces, and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps. When it becomes operational this October, the company will use the site to specifically test scenarios deemed too risky for public roads, most likely involving vehicles without a human driver.

Uber 'disabled Volvo SUV's safety system' before car killed pedestrian

Daily Mail

'After more than a year of thorough planning, development and safety reviews, we transitioned most operations to having a single vehicle operator, without a second person to collect feedback for our engineers using a laptop in the passenger seat,' the company said in the statement. 'This transition happened slowly as we worked with our vehicle operators to make sure they were well-trained and felt comfortable with this new job. Arizona governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber's self-driving vehicle testing privileges on Monday in the wake of a pedestrian fatality in a Phoenix suburb last week. Mr Ducey said in a letter to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi that video footage showed the company's'unquestionable failure'. The crash raised concerns about the San Francisco-based company's ability to safely test its technology in Arizona, he warned.

Will Wall Street's Top Regulator Stay Focused on Bank Culture?: DealBook Briefing


When Mr. Dudley took the helm in 2009, the financial crisis had left the New York Fed's reputation as a regulator damaged. The institution had not done enough to address the severe weaknesses at the banks it oversaw, like Citigroup. Early on, Mr. Dudley commissioned a review of the New York Fed's bank supervision department and then overhauled it. But in 2012, JPMorgan Chase, also overseen by the New York Fed, suffered huge trading losses in what was known as the London Whale scandal. The New York Fed was faulted.

Waymo buying 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs for driverless ride-hailing service


Google-owned Waymo announces a deal with Jaguar to buy 20,000 I-Pace Jaguars and turn them into a self-driving car fleet. NEW YORK -- Waymo, the company that grew of out of Google's self-driving car project, announced a deal to buy up to 20,000 electric cars over the next two years, a move that shows the scope of its ambition when it comes to driverless ride-hailing services. More: 401(k): What stocks, industries are vulnerable in a trade war? More: Heineken pulls'Lighter is Better' commercial after some call it'racist' The company said it planned to buy the electric version of a Jaguar SUV, the I-Pace, to create its fleet of cars. The vehicles would then be fitted with components to make them capable of piloting themselves without a driver.

Waymo is readying a ride-hailing service that could directly compete with Uber


Waymo is preparing to launch a ride-hailing service akin to Uber's, but with driverless cars. The self-driving carmaker spun out of Google was approved on Jan. 24 to operate as a transportation network company (TNC) in Arizona, the state department of transportation told Quartz. Waymo applied for the permit on Jan. 12. Its application, which was reviewed by Quartz, contained images of the autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans the company is testing in five US states. The application realizes a long-held fear of Uber's: that Waymo intends not just to build driverless cars, but to operate its own ride-hailing business.

Operator of self-driving Uber vehicle that killed pedestrian was felon


Tempe police speak at a press conference to address the accident where a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian. In this file photo taken in 2016, pilot models of the Uber self-driving car are displayed at the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PHOENIX -- The operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman Sunday night had served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction. A representative for Uber declined to comment on the conviction and the company's hiring policies, citing an active investigation. Elaine Herzberg was walking a bike across a street outside a crosswalk in Tempe, Ariz., at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said.

NVIDIA to Host World's Top AI Experts at GPU Technology Conference


See the GTC session schedule. Major sponsors include Facebook, IBM, Cisco, Dell EMC, Google Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Inspur, Lenovo and Supermicro. Show attendees can vote for the world's top AI startups at NVIDIA's Inception Awards Finale on Tuesday, March 27, from 4:30-5:30 pm Pacific time. NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute certified instructors will deliver more than 100 hours of training to thousands of data scientists, using the latest AI frameworks and software development kits. Two Global Impact Award winners will receive $200,000 in prizes for their pioneering work addressing important social and humanitarian problems using GPU computing.