Qualcomm Kills NXP Acquisition in Wake of China Trade War

Qualcomm has abandoned its $44 billion deal to buy Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors after China held up approval of the transaction for more than 20 months. The death of the deal means that Qualcomm will buy back up to $30 billion of its stock in an attempt to raise share prices. China dragged its heels after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on numerous Chinese goods and China retaliated. Experts say China withheld approval of the sale to gain leverage in negotiations with Washington. Continue reading Qualcomm Kills NXP Acquisition in Wake of China Trade War

Waymo’s Autonomous Cars Drive With Humans in Backseat

Waymo began testing its first autonomous vehicles on public roads on October 19 in the Phoenix area. The Chrysler Pacifica minivans still had employees in the car, but in the backseat, where they could push a button to pull over the vehicle. Waymo, whose vision is to deploy its self-driving vehicles via a taxi service, plans to let passengers ride in the back, possibly without an employee, in the coming months. It began its work eight years ago, followed by similar efforts by General Motors, Ford Motor, Apple and Uber. Continue reading Waymo’s Autonomous Cars Drive With Humans in Backseat

General Motors Promises an All-Electric Future for its Vehicles

While autonomous and connected vehicles have been getting much of the press attention this year, there has also been a push toward electric cars. General Motors recently announced that it is ending its gas and diesel efforts to focus on an all-electric, zero-emissions future. The American automotive icon plans to roll out two new fully electric vehicles in 2017 and at least 18 more electric models by 2023. GM is not alone in this pursuit. Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo are among the auto manufacturers that have made similar announcements in recent months to eventually phase out gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. GM, which sold 10 million vehicles in 2016, is one of the world’s largest automakers.

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Amazon Intends to Rule the Smart Home With Alexa Devices

Amazon is making a big push to be everywhere in the smart home, which is why its devices are relatively inexpensive: the new Amazon Echo is $99.99, Echo Plus is $149.99, Echo Spot is $129.99 and the new Fire TV stick is $69.99. The company is betting on being ubiquitous enough in homes to become the de facto standard for smart home devices — in essence, a new operating system. Proof that Amazon is playing a long game is the Echo Plus, which with a single command could turn off the lights, lock the door and turn off the TV. Continue reading Amazon Intends to Rule the Smart Home With Alexa Devices

IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Chief execs Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Ginni Rometty of IBM announced a new partnership yesterday that will combine the two companies’ artificial intelligence technologies to create new data analytics offerings for helping others target products and services. Available in the second half of 2017, the offerings will introduce “integrated AI services that weave the broad human-like conversation and learning capabilities of IBM’s Watson with Salesforce’s more sales-oriented Einstein,” reports The Wall Street Journal. In an “effort to reinvent itself for the cloud-computing era,” IBM has been tailoring Watson “for a variety of industries including health care, financial services and automobiles.” Continue reading IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Motorola Introduces Early Concepts of Moto Z Phone Gadgets

Motorola is doing something that few electronics companies dare to do — show the world concepts of gadgets that they may or may not make. Consumers can finally get a glimpse of innovation, instead of the another product release of devices that often look the same. Motorola, for example, imagines that people could attach gadgets like a VR headset, a photo printer, an interactive LED panel, or Lego-like building blocks to their modular Moto Z smartphone. The company calls the accessories Moto Mods. Motorola’s phone primarily competes with Samsung Galaxy S and LG G series phones.  Continue reading Motorola Introduces Early Concepts of Moto Z Phone Gadgets

Google Plans Expanded Launch of Waze Car-Sharing Service

Google aims to take on Uber and Lyft more directly with the expansion of its carpool service on the Waze navigation app. Instead of riders hailing cars, the Waze service relies on drivers to pick up people heading in the same direction. The price is much lower than Uber because riders pay up to 54 cents a mile, the IRS’ reimbursement rate for business travel. Google plans to bring the Waze car-sharing service to several cities in the U.S. and Latin America over the next several months. Continue reading Google Plans Expanded Launch of Waze Car-Sharing Service

AIG Report on Global Data Sharing: Benefits Outweigh Risks

AIG executive vice president/chief executive of commercial Rob Schimek described some of the data contained in the company’s 2017 global survey on data sharing. AIG’s first report, in collaboration with CEA (now CTA), was published in 2015, followed by a 2016 report on case studies of large companies. The 2017 report, says Schimek, which includes a foreword by Mike Abbott of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, looks at data sharing innovation, technology and risk. “We’ve seen the benefits outweigh the costs and risks,” said Schimek. Continue reading AIG Report on Global Data Sharing: Benefits Outweigh Risks

Alphabet’s Waymo Driverless Vehicle Unit Partners With Fiat

Alphabet just spun off its research lab X’s autonomous vehicle project into a separate company named Waymo, to be led by chief executive John Krafcik. The move means the company believes its driverless car technology is nearing readiness for commercialization, due to advancements in sensor technology and breakthroughs in machine learning. Although Alphabet was an early leader in this field, the company has struggled to build a business around the technology, as Tesla, Uber and GM have moved forward. Alphabet is working with Fiat Chrysler on a ride-sharing service to launch next year. Continue reading Alphabet’s Waymo Driverless Vehicle Unit Partners With Fiat

Uber Purchases AI Startup for Autonomous Vehicle Research

To further its efforts in autonomous cars, Uber acquired AI startup Geometric Intelligence and appointed its leads, Gary Marcus and Zoubin Ghahramani as co-directors of its new in-house AI research division. In addition to Marcus and Ghahramani, that company’s entire 15-person staff will also become part of Uber. Since Uber inked that deal, its value now approaches $70 billion. The new team’s first task is to tackle the data from millions of Uber rides, to further development of the computers that run self-driving vehicles. Continue reading Uber Purchases AI Startup for Autonomous Vehicle Research

Samsung Bets on Automotive with $8 Billion Harman Purchase

As Apple reportedly scales back its automotive plans, South Korean smartphone competitor Samsung is pushing into the emerging market with its $8 billion acquisition of luxury audio and connected car leader Harman. Auto connectivity has been a “strategic priority” for Samsung, and the transaction will provide the company with infotainment, telematics, security and safety solutions by Harman that are currently found in 30 million vehicles. Samsung also recently expressed interest in paying more than $3 billion for Fiat Chrysler’s Magneti Marelli autoparts business. Continue reading Samsung Bets on Automotive with $8 Billion Harman Purchase

Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Until now, people risked a lawsuit if they reverse-engineered their cars, PCs or even insulin pumps. Now, there’s an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects those who want to hack a device they own, without fearing that the manufacturer of that device will sue them. More specifically, the exemption covers security research on consumer devices, and digital repair of vehicles. The Library of Congress’ Copyright Office enacted the exemption in October 2015, but implementation was delayed for a year. Continue reading Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Intel Develops New Chips for Internet of Things, Automobiles

After cutting 12,000 jobs in April, Intel has focused on the Internet of Things and data centers, which accounted for 40 percent of the company’s revenue last year. Now, Intel has introduced two new Atom processors: the E3900 for connected devices and wearables, and the A3900 for smart auto apps. The new processors are versatile and will serve a variety of industries, with the E3900 as the IoT “workhorse,” featuring “fog computing,” the ability to determine what processes to perform itself and which to send to the data center. Continue reading Intel Develops New Chips for Internet of Things, Automobiles

Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued permits to French auto company Valeo North America and the privately held Wheego Electric Cars to test a single autonomous vehicle with up to four operators on public roads. Another company receiving a permit was Cruise Automation, which was then acquired by General Motors for $1 billion. So far, Alphabet’s Google has driven 2 million miles in autonomous vehicles on public roads. Permits are a marker of which companies are moving forward in the new field. Continue reading Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

Federal Policy on Self-Driving Cars Focuses on Safety Issues

The newly released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy reveals that the Obama administration is largely taking a hands-off approach to the technologies used to create autonomous vehicles, instead zeroing in on safety. In fact, the majority of the 116-page policy addresses safety issues, with the goal of preventing accidents such as the recent fatal crash of a Tesla vehicle on autopilot. The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets — including Alphabet, Ford Motor Company, Uber, Lyft and Volvo — gave the policy a thumbs-up. Continue reading Federal Policy on Self-Driving Cars Focuses on Safety Issues

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