If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
The top-funded companies on the recently-released list of top 100 most-promising AI companies to watch from CBInsights, a market intelligence company based in New York, include companies offering autonomous driving software, an AI System on a chip, endpoint security with AI, and a drug discovery company. The list, selected from a base of 6,000 companies, is based on business relations, investor profile, news sentiment analysis, R&D activity, a proprietary scoring system, market potential, competitive landscape, team strength and tech novelty, according to an account in TechRepublic. "This year's cohort spans 18 industries, and is working on everything from climate risk to accelerating drug R&D," stated CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal. Companies on last year's list went on to raise $5.2 billion in additional financing, including 16 of over $100 million each. Some companies exited via merger or acquisition, IPOs or SPACS.
DETROIT/PARIS - French automaker Renault SA, its partner Nissan Motor Co. and tech giant Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo have agreed to assess the feasibility of a partnership to develop and use self-driving vehicles to transport people and goods in France and Japan, the companies said on Thursday. The potential venture could also be expanded to other markets, the companies said. If the partnership is realized, it will have ramifications for other alliances and other self-driving projects, most of which have yet to hit the road. Automakers across the world are rethinking independent autonomous vehicle efforts, and are instead looking for partners to share rising investment costs and regulatory risks. A potential competitor to a Renault-Nissan-Waymo venture in Japan would be Monet Technologies, a self-driving project involving Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. backed by SoftBank Group Corp. SoftBank and Honda have also invested in General Motors Co.'s Cruise self-driving car unit.
Apple may not be as loud about its plans to create a self-driving car as Google or Uber, but the company is still in the game. According to The Information, Apple has just hired Jamie Waydo, a prominent engineer from Waymo's autonomous vehicle unit. Apple's project, currently code-named Titan, could likely benefit from the excitement over such a high-profile executive. It could mean that the company is closer to a prototype, or that it's ready to start showing off its progress. Either way, Apple needs to ramp things up if its to remain relevant in the highly-competitive (and scrutinized) arena of self-driving cars.
Google's sister firm Waymo is about to begin its first commercial self driving car service. The service will be offered in Phoenix, Ariz., where the company has already been offering limited rides as part of a test program, according to The Information. It is believed the service will operate without a human driver for backup, although some vehicles could have drivers for longer trips, or places Waymo has yet to map. Alphabet executives Larry Page and Sergey Brin have allegedly been aggressive about autonomous ridehailing, according to the report, and wanted to launch a service as far back as last year. Waymo engineers are said to have talked management into accepting a'mixed' fleet instead.
Self-driving trucks aren't just for hauling beer anymore. Now they can also haul garbage. Not to be outdone by the likes of Uber and Waymo, Volvo has now outlined one of its own autonomous vehicle projects in Sweden: a self-driving garbage truck. Like Uber Freight, the project is another effort to extend self-driving technology beyond just shuttling people around in self-driving taxis. After all, someone has to line up the garbage cans for the vehicle -- because you sure don't when you're rushing your trash out the door on your way to work.
Self-driving car technology is at a crucial juncture. While self-driving technology is getting more advanced every year and not only the automotive industry, but even the technology industry is interested in it, the legal framework for self-driving technology hasn't matched up yet. Google parent Alphabet Inc. has reportedly appointed Tekedra Mawakana as its new vice president of public policy and government affairs to help navigate the tumultuous government policy on the subject. "As we take fully self-driving cars to the roads, Tekedra will work with policymakers at all levels to realize the enormous safety, mobility and economic benefits of this technology," John Krafcik, CEO, Waymo, Google's self-driving project, told Recode on Monday. Mawakana has experience in handling government policy affairs at various companies.