Uber, Waymo Settle Lawsuit for $245 Million, 4 Days into Trial

Uber Technologies has settled a year-old lawsuit brought by Alphabet’s self-driving vehicle unit Waymo, which claimed that Uber stole and used trade secrets. In the agreement, Uber said it would not use Waymo technology in its autonomous vehicles and make certain that no such Waymo components were already in use. The ride-hailing firm also agreed to give Waymo 0.34 percent of its equity, equal to about $245 million, based on a valuation of $72 billion. The companies settled four days after the trial started. Continue reading Uber, Waymo Settle Lawsuit for $245 Million, 4 Days into Trial

Reviews: Apple HomePod Offers Great Sound But Not Smarts

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker has debuted to mixed reviews. HomePod can stream music directly from Apple Music but no other popular music streaming service such as Spotify or Pandora. It’s equally partisan in that, despite its Bluetooth, users must use Apple’s own AirPlay to stream the music, and Android phones aren’t able to pair with it. The Home app lets users set up and control a variety of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices. The system currently lacks the ability to link HomePods together for a multi-room setup. Continue reading Reviews: Apple HomePod Offers Great Sound But Not Smarts

Alphabet, Uber and Lyft Take Actions to Promote Smart Cities

In October 2017, Alphabet debuted a partnership with Toronto to further the goals of a smart city. Dubbed Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet plans to observe and measure how people live, to optimize city streets. To that end, Alphabet just launched another venture under the Sidewalk Labs rubric, Coord, intended to utilize the company’s cloud-based platform to streamline transportation networks. Separately, ride-sharing competitors Uber and Lyft, with 13 other companies, signed a shared “mobility pledge” to enable more livable cities. Continue reading Alphabet, Uber and Lyft Take Actions to Promote Smart Cities

CES: Nvidia Stakes Claim to Automotive and Entertainment AI

In a roving two-hour presentation, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang unveiled a raft of products, partnerships and performance achievements at CES 2018. Focusing mostly on the automotive industry, Huang showed off the GPU giant’s new autonomous driving software stack powered by Xavier, a system-on-chip (SoC) for artificial intelligence-empowered car platforms, and touted partnerships with more than 320 car and truck companies. Huang also showcased a large HDR display for giant-screen, PC gaming and streamed an AI-generated motion picture theme composed in the style of “Star Wars” by John Williams. Continue reading CES: Nvidia Stakes Claim to Automotive and Entertainment AI

CES Tech Trends: 5G Ushers In a New Connected Ecosystem

On Sunday, January 7, CES 2018’s hottest trends were previewed in an event open only to press. CTA senior director of research Steve Koenig and senior manager of research Lesley Rohrbaugh divided tech trends into three parts: Ingredient or B2B technologies such as 5G, AI and robotics; In the Market tech comprised of native interfaces, digital senses and realism redefined; and Emerging Tech focused on smart cities, sports innovations and digital therapeutics. The technology that will make all of it possible, they say, is 5G. Continue reading CES Tech Trends: 5G Ushers In a New Connected Ecosystem

At CES 2018, Attendees Can Hail a Lyft/Aptiv Autonomous Car

At CES 2018, Lyft and Aptiv, a self-driving software company, will offer rides to show attendees in its automated ride hailing service (with a safety driver in the front seat). The goal, say the two companies, is to “accelerate the availability of automated driving platforms for commercial applications,” by operating in a complex environment such as the Las Vegas metro area. Aptiv is a subsidiary of Delphi Automotive, which split into two companies to emphasize its capabilities in self-driving technologies. Continue reading At CES 2018, Attendees Can Hail a Lyft/Aptiv Autonomous Car

GM Close to Commercial Version of Autonomous Chevy Bolt

GM is showing off its latest autonomous vehicles, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts, to investment analysts in San Francisco. Up until now, the car manufacturer has been reluctant to subject the cars it’s developed through its Cruise Automation subsidiary to scrutiny, but now wants to signal that it’s getting closer to a real product. In fact, GM president Daniel Ammann revealed that the driverless cars will be ready for consumers in “quarters, not years.” GM also aims to launch a driverless taxi fleet by 2019. Continue reading GM Close to Commercial Version of Autonomous Chevy Bolt

New Uber CEO Faces the Impact of Undisclosed Data Breach

Uber Technologies acknowledged that one year ago it paid hackers $100,000 to hide a data breach that impacted 47 million accounts. The company fired then-chief security officer Joe Sullivan and deputy Craig Clark for both the breach itself and concealing it. The hackers got the names, emails and phone numbers of millions of riders as well as 600,000 drivers’ license numbers, although apparently Social Security numbers and credit card numbers were not accessed. Uber says it will inform those impacted by the breach in “coming days.” Continue reading New Uber CEO Faces the Impact of Undisclosed Data Breach

Uber Reaches Deal With Benchmark, Loses Ruling in London

Former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick and major investor Benchmark reached an agreement over board seats, paving the way for a multi-billion dollar investment led by SoftBank Group. This investment will give Uber resources to fend off its global rivals. Until recently, Kalanick and Benchmark were in a stalemate; the new agreement will add six directors and change voting in a way that will limit Kalanick’s power on the board. These changes are the aftermath of scandals that led the board to force Kalanick out. Meanwhile, Uber is facing setbacks in the U.K. regarding the status of its drivers. Continue reading Uber Reaches Deal With Benchmark, Loses Ruling in London

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

Tech Demand for AI Talent Generates Major League Salaries

As tech companies continue to bet on artificial intelligence powering next generation smartphones, autonomous vehicles, virtual assistants, smart home gadgets and much more, the demand for top AI talent is also on the rise. “Typical AI specialists, including both PhDs fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock,” reports The New York Times. Leading names in AI are often earning in the millions from tech titans and negotiating for new contracts in a time frame that rivals professional athletes. In fact, some in Silicon Valley have joked of creating an NFL-like salary cap. Continue reading Tech Demand for AI Talent Generates Major League Salaries

SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son Reveals His Plan for Vision Fund

SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son invested $164 million in startup Mapbox, which is used by Lyft drivers, Snap and Mastercard, and in the process revealed his plans for his nearly $100 billion Vision Fund. The Fund, which includes money from Saudi Arabia and others, is aimed at preparing for new paradigms in work, medicine and so on that will occur due to artificial intelligence. Son believes in Singularity, the idea that robots will change the work force and machines will become smarter than people. Continue reading SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son Reveals His Plan for Vision Fund

Snapchat Introduces its New Location-Based Discovery Tool

Snapchat debuted “context cards” this week, a new feature that helps its users easily make a restaurant reservation or book an Uber ride without having to exit the app. The new feature is designed to keep users engaged with the app and its contextual location-based search. By swiping up from geotagged images while viewing certain stories, users will get related data such as contact info, directions and reviews. Early partners include Bookatable, Foursquare, Michelin, OpenTable and TripAdvisor. Ultimately, more time on Snapchat could mean more advertising revenue for the popular messaging app. Continue reading Snapchat Introduces its New Location-Based Discovery Tool

Walmart and Google Debut Voice-Command Online Shopping

Walmart is debuting shopping with voice commands on its website, via Google Home and Google Home Mini devices; it also offers customers $25 off their order if they buy one of the Google devices and link their Walmart account to Google Express’ shopping platform. The result may boost numbers of users who adopt voice shopping, and will also make it easier for customers with Google Home to easily reorder items they’ve previously purchased; with it, Walmart’s ease of shopping rivals Amazon’s Buy Now option and Dash Buttons. Continue reading Walmart and Google Debut Voice-Command Online Shopping

Former Uber CEO Tries to Thwart Effort to Reduce His Power

In the latest drama at the troubled Uber, former chief executive Travis Kalanick appointed two new directors — former Xerox chief executive Ursula Burns and former Merrill Lynch chief John Thain — to the board, without informing new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi or current board members. The likely trigger for Kalanick’s action was a proposal that included reducing his voting power and increasing Khosrowshahi’s. By adding two members to the nine-member board, Kalanick attempted to gain new allies. Continue reading Former Uber CEO Tries to Thwart Effort to Reduce His Power

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