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Showing posts from September, 2018

Mercedes drops 'project' from Hypercar name and tags it 'AMG One'

In the run-up to the Paris Motor Show 2018 event, Mercedes unveiled the official name of its Hypercar now dubbed 'AMG One' with a drop of 'project' from the vehicle previously known as the 'project one'.

The One now stands for its highest automotive ambition to usher Formula 1 hybrid tech to the roads with the One being the pinnacle of Mercedes' model portfolio and an absolute top-of-the-line model.





Intensive testing of the hypercar have been on-going for months in England at high-performance test stands and race tracks with the AMG One reflecting the latest development status of an outstanding technical feature, It's active aerodynamics.

The vehicle's active aerodynamics currently in the process of wind tunnel testing is equipped with a multi-part, two-stage extendable rear wing for maximum downforce in race mode which stands as a very high-end and individualistic feature for top-tier vehicles.


Experts across high-performance subsidiaries in the A…

Toyota is supplying its Fuel Cell tech to bus manufacturer CaetanoBus

Auto giant Toyota has reached another deal for its aim on stepping towards a broader hydrogen society through an agreement to implement its Fuel Cell technology for bus manufacturer Caetanobus SA.

Toyota will provide systems which include fuel cell stacks, hydrogen tanks and other key components to the Portuguese bus engineering and production company which will be used for crafting hydrogen fuel cell city buses.


In little over a year, The first zero emission fuel cell city buses will roll off Caetanobus's lines and will be operated as demonstration buses by the company. This marks as another notable step for Toyota as it promotes the application of its hydrogen fuel cell technology beyond passenger cars to other vehicles which include forklifts, buses, heavy duty and small delivery trucks.

"Supplying our fuel cell systems to Caetanobus demonstrates the many practical uses and environmental benefits of hydrogen towards a carbon-free society. We're really excited by the p…

The 2019 BMW i3 and i3s packs more electric range thanks to new high-voltage batteries

BMW has unveiled more features coming for the 2019 models of its i3 and i3s vehicles with a focus on extended range for customers thanks to new high-voltage and more powerful batteries being equipped for the vehicle.

Operating range is now set to increase to as much as 260 kilometres in everyday conditions without any loss of driving pleasure which count as an up for its buyers.


Other additional features for the new version include a sports package for the BMW i3 and new colors for the exterior and interior. The BMW i series is fusing its position as an innovation leader and trendsetter in the EV market with these new models as it sets its sights for more growth in the EV market.

Storage capacity of the high-voltage battery used for the i series vehicles has doubled since initial launch thanks to on-going development and research concerning methods to make the EV experience much more better.





Increased capacity of the battery has led to a longer range for the vehicle with customers no…

Microsoft is experimenting with a Robot Operating System for Windows

Microsoft is tinkering into the field of advanced robots with the announcement an experimental release of Robot Operating System [ROS1] for Windows at the ROSCon 2018 event holding in the spanish capital of Madrid.

This will bring the manageability and security of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise to the innovative ROS ecosystem which offers sets of libraries and tools that help in construction of complex robots used in implementing cutting-edge processes.

At the ROSCon event, Microsoft is demoing a ROBOTIS Turtlebot 3 robot running the ROS software which recognizes and steers towards the person closest to the robot. The demoed robot runs Windows 10 IoT Enterprise on an Intel Coffee Lake NUC while utlizing a new ROS node which leverages hardware-accelerated Windows Machine Learning.


Microsoft is also demonstrating a ROS simulation environment running on its Azure cloud service which exhibits a collection of robots running in a virtual environment linked to an orchestration system controlled …

The BMW Cockpit has been heavily revised and modernised for new auto models

BMW has now unveiled a newly reappraised, rebuilt, revised, modified and modernized version of its Cockpit for new launch models like the BMW X5, BMW 8 Series, BMW Z4 and BMW 3 Series which are all being debuted at the Mondial de l’Automobile 2018 event in Paris.

The new Cockpit packs content which can be customized and personalized and a new fully digital BMW Operating System 7.0 focused increasingly on the driver experience. Improvements have been made on interaction options with the vehicle among other notable features.


These improved interactions are centered around the areas of voice recognition and gesture control with customers for the first time getting access to BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant which makes the vehicle experience way more smarter.

Responding to the prompt “Hey BMW” command, The Intelligent Assistant offers a smooth integration of new functions and services which comes with optimal support at all times for the driver.


The new Remote Software Upgrade function…

Volvo outs Cross Country version of its V60 vehicle

Volvo has outed a new Cross Country version of its V60 vehicle in what marks a latest addition to its line-up of brand new Volvos which reflects its transformation in recent years. The initial V60 was launched earlier this year on the driveway of a Stockholm Villa reflecting its ability to function uniquely and seamlessly.

The Cross Country version of the vehicle takes the V60 from from the suburb to the skogen (Swedish for forest). It adds the capability on and off the beaten track which has defined Volvo's Cross Country vehicles since its initial outing 21 years ago.


The Cross Country modification brings about a ground clearance up to 75mm higher than the regular V60 thanks to its specially developed chassis and suspension for enhancement of its off-road capability.

It packs other standard features such as All-wheel-drive, Electronic Stability Control, Hill  Descent Control, Corner Traction Control and a special Off-Road driving mode. The V60 Cross Country benefits from Volvo&#…

Volkswagen partners with Microsoft to accelerate its connected car efforts

Volkswagen and Microsoft has now inked a strategic partnership which would see both companies work on progressing Volkswagen's Automotive Cloud and connected car services as is aims for transformation into a mobility provider with fully connected vehicle fleets.

Volkswagen will now be leveraging Microsoft's expertise and learnings to assist in defining what will make its ‘Volkswagen Automotive Cloud’ service peculiar and globally accepted. The auto giant will set up a a new automotive cloud development office in North America which will support initial development of efforts pertaining to this partnership.

From 2020 as targeted, Over 5 million new VW vehicles yearly will be fully connected and will be part of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the cloud, This partnership by both companies is aimed at laying the foundation for combination of Microsoft's expertise as a major cloud services provider and Volkswagen's experience as a global high-selling auto manufacturer.






Both…

Daimler's smart forease concept embodies urban driving fun in an individualistic way

Daimler has unveiled a new electric and urban concept to celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Paris Motor Show through an outing of an ingenious concept which offers a simple solution for urban mobility.

The concept is seated under the open sky with the driver being at the centre of the hustle and bustle of the city which they can freely partake in thanks to its electric drive. Its openness and minimalistic style reflect a tribute to the pioneering smart concept vehicles "crossblade" (2001) and "forspeed" (2011).


The concept is uncompromisingly open, pays no heed to convention and is powered by an electric powertrain while standing for the authentic urban mobility which continues to be the underlying concept behind the brand.
It stands for emotionality, lifestyle and attitude as described by Daimler who owes the individualistic awe of the vehicle to the extension of its interior to the open environment. It packs radiant, dramatic metallic-white and colour accents…

Grab said to be in discussions to offload Thai unit stake to retail giant Central Group

Singapore based ridesharing firm Grab has now been reported to be in talks of selling a “a decent-sized stake” in its Thai business to Central Group, The country's largest retailer with over $10 billion in annual revenues.

A deal like this would expand Grab's partnerships with the retail giant beyond food delivery into other sectors such as e-commerce and digital payments. This would also come at a time when Grab's main competitor Go-Jek is planning a foray into the Thai market with a $500 million investment set for its expansion into the country and several other South East Asian regions.

Grab is also reported to be interested in doing business with JD Central, a $560 million joint venture set up with China's JD.com by the Central Group earlier this year.

No official statement have been made yet as of now with still open room for countless speculations, Nevertheless, what's sure is that Grab has been on a rapid growth rate since its start in 2012 with a current p…

Color Genomics takes on collaboration with the Broad Institute and Partners LMM for historic 'All of Us' Research Program

Color Genomics, A Burlingame based genetic testing startup focused on early detection of cancer for users of its kit has now partnered with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine (LMM) at Partners HealthCare for establishment of one of three genome centres around the U.S. for the National Institutes of Health's All of Us Research Program.

This research program marks one of the most ambitious biomedical research efforts ever taken in the U.S. and is aimed at sequencing one million or more people across the U.S with a goal of accelerating health research and enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for individuals.

Color will be responsible for analysis and reporting of genomic data for this program with further support from Partners LMM for a set of 59 genes which can lead to serious and preventable clinical conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, familial hypercholesterolemia, Lynch syndrome, and others.

The health-te…

Microsoft’s mobile phone keyboard SwiftKey adds two-way translation for Android

Microsoft Translator, The software giant's technology which makes use of artificial intelligence for provision of translations for more than 60 languages has now been integrated with the Android version of Microsoft's SwiftKey mobile keyboard.

The company made this known in a recent announcement this Thursday. The real-time translation feature will now translate as its Android users text in real-time to offer a unique and much desired experience for cross-border messaging.



Once users tap the Microsoft Translator icon on the SwiftKey keyboard, The app begins its function with translation of messages between users. The app would also remember users' preferences leading to an elimination of the need to scroll through the full list of the more than 60 available languages which users choose from.

“We wanted to make it really easy for users to be able to translate as they type and to be able to translate incoming messages,” Colleen Hall, a senior product manager for SwiftKey sa…

Compass raises $400 million from Softbank and others at $4.4 billion valuation

Real estate startup Compass has now closed a $400 million round led by the Softbank Vision Fund and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) with further participation from Fidelity, Insight Venture Partners and the Wellington Management Company.

This comes less than a year after Compass nabbed $450 million in a round still led by Softbank with the total amount raised by NY based Compass now coming at $1.2 billion.

This investment round came with a $4.4 billion valuation for the company marking a doubling of its most previous $2.2 billion valuation.

An announcement of this funding comes just on the same day fellow real estate startup Opendoor raised $400 million in new funding of which Softbank provided the lion share. The company which count operations in major markets including San Diego,  Nashville, Atlanta, Houston and Austin among several others is planning to expand into international markets with this investment providing capital for this growth.







It's grown its agent population to …

The Gears Pro Circuit Season 2 esports event is coming to San Diego

The popular Gears Pro Circuit Season 2 esports tournament is heading to the city of San Diego debuting a first appearance on the West Coast for esports enthusiasts who will battle it out for a piece of the $250,000 prize pool.

This event will hold from the 28th-30th of September at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center as Optic Gaming steps into the event to take the title after a dominating performance in New Orleans and wins of the last seven online 2Ks.



Team Echo Fox is coming in as the second seed to battle it out after a loss in  New Orleans. Team Ghost Gaming and Spacestation Gaming will also come with new members as they look to run the table to the Championship match this Sunday.

The San Diego event is also marking Gears Pro Circuit debut of 2v2 Gnashers Only on Boxes with a $10,000 prize pool being bundled for this side tournament which will have some of the top Gears players looking to prove their CQB dominance.

Anyone with an event pass (spectator or team) is e…

U.K. based AI cyber defense startup Darktrace nabs $50 million Series E funding at $1.65 billion valuation

U.K. based cyber defense firm Darktrace has now raised $50 million in a Series E funding round led by Vitruvian Partners with participation from KKR and 1011 Ventures to fund its expansion as the firm which counts as one of the largest in the enterprise security startup base scale its operations.

This funding round came with a $1.65 billion valuation for the 5 year old company renowned for its machine learning approach to detection of security vulnerabilities in enterprise networks.

With over 650 employees spanning across over 30 global offices and a deployment of its solutions to over 7,000 networks, Darktrace stands as a rapidly growing company having scaled to an impressive height in a quite short amount of time.

Darktrace's products include cyber defense solutions targeted for the cloud, IT environments, physical environments and several other fields of application. It also provides autonomous response solution to cyber attacks marking a real-time much needed solution by glob…

Stripe raises $245 million Tiger Global led round at $20 billion valuation

San Francisco based Stripe, a leading payments company whose service is used by over 100 thousand businesses worldwide spreading across millions of customers has now raised $245 million in a new round at a $20 billion valuation, More than double the previous $9.2 billion valuation it garnered from its most previous funding round which took place in 2016.

This round was led by Tiger Global with further participation from DST Global, Sequioa Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Thrive Capital. Stripe which counts major name customers such as Uber, Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Wish, Postmates, Expedia, Zillow, Deliveroo and Google has now raised $685 million in total across several rounds.


8 year old Stripe has now vaulted into the ranks of the world's most valuable private tech companies with a $20 billion valuation placing it amongst the top ten ranks of most valuable unicorns.

Stripe is planning to make use of this funding to hire more people for what is says is a “distributed global engineeri…

Oculus outs the Fall event lineup for its Venues app

Oculus has now unveiled the first taste of its Fall 2018 lineup for the Oculus Venues app where users get to experience live action like never before on the Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets.

The latest events will be available on the Oculus companion mobile app for users to see upcoming events and select from to attend while taking on what counts as one the best VR experiences.

Oculus in partnership with several other major entertainment names including Lionsgate, NextVR, Showtime, AEG and the NBA and MLB sport bodies to bring immersive and live VR content to its users.



As announced by Oculus, Below is its content schedule for its Oculus Venues events from the months of September to November. More additions are also set to come soon;

September

September 26 // VR League Onward Qualifiers // 12:00 pm PTSeptember 26 // VR League Onward Finals // 6:00 pm PTSeptember 26 // Live Music Now — New Orleans, LA // 8:00 pm PTSeptember 26 // OC5 Day 1 Keynote Encore with Japanese Subtitles // 10:00 p…

Oculus unveils new 'Quest' VR headset set for release next year

Oculus has unveiled a new VR headset set to launch Spring 2019 dubbed 'Quest' which counts as its first all-in-one VR system with six degrees of freedom with lets users look around in any direction and walk through virtual space as would happen in the physical world.

The Oculus Quest comes with Touch controllers to enable interaction with people and objects in a natural way and will pack over 50 games and experiences at launch with more to come in future time.


It makes jumping into action way more easier with no PC, wires or external sensors needed for use. Packed with Oculus Insight unveiled by the company at its OC5 conference, It offers breakthrough inside-out tracking, Guardian, and Touch controller tracking which makes use of four ultra wide-angle sensors and computer vision algorithms to track exact position of players in real-time without the use of external sensors.

The intuitive touch controllers brings real hands into the VR experience for easy and natural interacti…

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Nikola Raises $250 Million At A $3 Billion Valuation

Nikola, a formerly Utah but now Phoenix-based manufacturer of hydrogen-electric vehicles, has courted a $250 million Series D investment out of a targeted $1 billion raise. CNH Industrial, one of the world's largest capital goods companies, made the investment at a $3 billion pre-money valuation. The $250 million figure actually comprises of $100 million in cash and $150 million in services like product development, manufacturing engineering, and other forms of technical assistance that CNH will provide to Nikola.

CNH Industrial owns FPT Industrial, a leading manufacturer of powertrains for large vehicles, and Iveco, a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks. These two firms will provide strategic expertise for Nikola, which is known mainly for its hydrogen-electric (fuel cell) trucks. Iveco and FPT will provide engineering and manufacturing services to industrialize Nikola’s fuel-cell powered electric trucks, under the terms of CNH's investment. For example, Nikola has made pla…

Rivian Raises $1.3 Billion In Additional Funding

Not long after raising $500 million from Ford and an additional $350 million from Cox Automotive, electric car startup Rivian has announced $1.3 billion in new funding led by T. Rowe Price, with participation from BlackRock and existing investors Ford and Amazon. The additional investment is the fourth Rivian has raised this year, and comes a few months after Amazon announced it'll purchase 100,000 vehicles from the company as part of plans to make its delivery fleet run on renewable energy.

The additional investment brings the total raised by Rivian this year to a whooping $2.85 billion. In a statement, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe praised the investment as demonstrating "confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy". With the investment, Rivian now stands as one of the top-most financed electric car upstarts in what seems like a crowded market.

Rivian plans to begin selling vehicles next year, which may explain the additional funding at the tail-end…

Apple Lowers Guidance For Fiscal 2019 First Quarter

Going by a recently released letter to investors by Apple CEO Tim Cook, The company has lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter which ended on the 29th of December, citing lower than expected iPhone sales in China and "emerging market challenges".

It now expects revenue of approximately $84 billion, a gross margin of approximately 38%, operating expenses of approximately $8.7 billion, other income/(expense) of approximately $550 million and a tax rate of approximately 16.5 percent before discrete items for this period.


In the letter, Apple CEO Tim Cook blames this on two key factors - "emerging market challenges" and lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, the latter which it says accounts for all of revenue shortfall to guidance and more than its entire year-over-year revenue decline. Cook noted that sales outside of the iPhone (Services, Mac, iPad, Wearables/Home/Accessories) combined grew almost 19% from last year.

Darktrace Could Be Heading For An IPO

Darktrace, a U.K. cybersecurity startup that was valued at $1.65 billion after raising funding last year, could be looking towards a public offering, indicated by a closeness to naming a chief financial officer, Bloomberg reports. Companies looking to go public typically appoint a CFO, usually of high-profile, to take on the role of spearheading the company's finances in preparation for a voyage on the public markets. Also, with $231 million in funding and a high valuation to go along, Darktrace seems like a company that's ready to hit the public markets, especially if it's found stability in its business model.

In an interview, Darktrace co-founder and co-CEO Poppy Gustafsson said the company added about 400 employees in the past year, and expects to keep growing at a similar rate. However, she also noted that Darktrace hasn't made a firm decision regarding debuting on the public markets, and said the company doesn't require additional investment for its expansio…

Brief: Dropbox Soars On Q4 Result

File hosting company Dropbox just released its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, reporting $446 million in revenue, up 19% from the same period last year. For the entire year, Dropbox recorded $1.66 billion in revenue, up 19% year-over-year. In light of the results, Dropbox shares rose as much as 16% during trading on Thursday.

As of 2019 end, Dropbox had 14.3 million paying users, compared to 12.7 million as of the end of 2018. Average revenue per user amounted to $125, compared to roughly $120 in the previous year. As of 2019 end, Dropbox had $1.16 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, slightly more than $1.09 billion as of the end of 2018.

As for losses, Dropbox recorded $6.6 million in losses in 2019, down from $9.5 million in 2018.

Dropbox has also authorized up to $600 million in share repurchases, representing less than 7% of its market cap as of writing.





Intel Scoops Up Habana Labs For $2 Billion

Intel has announced it has acquired Habana Labs, an Israel-based startup that makes AI chips. The semiconductor giant is paying roughly $2 billion for Habana, one year after leading a $75 million Series B investment in the company. The acquisition represents another score for Habana co-founder and chairman Avigdor Willenz, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded and led Galileo Technology (acquired for $2.7 billion by Marvell Technologies) and Annapurna Labs (acquired for $350 million by Amazon). Unsurprisingly, both companies were chip makers, crowning Willenz as a whizz in the chip-making sector with sequential successful exits.

Prior to this acquisition, Habana had raised $120 million in funding from investors including Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and WRV Capital. As of November last year (when it last raised funding), Tel Aviv-based Habana had just over 120 employees. The company was founded in 2016, and maintains only two offices globally, one…

Meet goPuff, A Low-key Delivery Company Worth $1 Billion

The food-delivery market is one with intense competition. The likes of DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Deliveroo, Swiggy, Just Eat, Yelp Eat 24, and more are steadily competing for global market share while also raising huge funding. Just recently, Deliveroo raised $575 million in a round led by Amazon. DoorDash has also raised $600 million Series G funding at a $12.6 billion valuation.

Amid the intense battle, it turns out there's one hot startup that has stayed low key to avoid the eye of rivals, but it seems word is getting out. That low-key hot startup is goPuff, an on-demand delivery service that was valued at $1 billion last November (after an investment), according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Information. goPuff ships products to customers from centrally located facilities -- as opposed to direct pickup from stores -- in 81 U.S. cities.


The company -- based in Philadelphia -- stocks more than 3,000 products at its facilities which it then ships to customers who o…

Uber And Hyundai Debut Flying Taxi Concept

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai and Uber unveiled a flying car concept that's aimed for use in the "Uber Elevate" initiative, an initiative that's targeted at aerial ridesharing with custom air taxis made by partners to enable that. Hyundai is the first automaker to join Uber Elevate, whose previous partners were all electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturers. Uber aims to launch an aerial ridesharing network by 2023, and has already partnered with seven aircraft makers to enable that.

Hyundai's new concept air taxi vehicle is dubbed "S-A1" and has specifications similar to that of previous electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft unveiled by other Uber Elevate partners. It'll be 100% electric, be piloted initially but with plans to later make them autonomous, and is designed with four passenger seats to allow riders board and disembark easily. It's des…

Cloudflare Files For IPO

Not long after a previous report that said Cloudflare was eyeing a September IPO, the San Francisco-based CDN provider has filed for that with the SEC, meaning an IPO next month may just be happening. Cloudflare's S-1 filing comes a decade after its first funding. The company recorded $192.7 million in 2018 revenue, but with an $87.2 million net loss. This is up from $135 million revenue in 2017 and a $10.7 million net loss for the same period.

In the first half of this year, Cloudflare recorded $129.2 million in revenue, but still with losses of $36.8 million. Other key takes from its S-1 filing include:
$94.4 million sales and marketing spend in 2018, up 54% from $62 million in 2017$54.5 million R&D spend in 2018, compared to $33.7 million in 2017Roughly $125 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Q2 end (June 30, 2019)74,000 paying customers as of Q2 endTwo million total [free and paying] customers408 paying customers with annual billings of more than $100,000 (as of Q2…

Reddit Has Begun Tests For Live Video Streaming

As confirmed by Reddit to Wired, the widely called "front page of the internet" has begun tests for live video streaming, marking a significant moment for what has been majorly a text-only platform. In its 14 year history, Reddit has grown from an initial link-sharing site to a destination for online discussion, news aggregation and web content rating. Reddit is so popular and widely used that it's the 14th most visited website globally, according to Alexa data.

Allowing live streaming on its platform shows Reddit is really keen on a turnaround since co-founder Steve Huffman re-joined the company in 2015. With most major social media platforms currently supporting live streaming, it's obvious that it's somewhat necessary for a widely used platform to support live video. Reddit is known for being an internet property with boatloads of user engagement. With the addition of live video streaming, it could be looking towards a spike in both [an already large] user en…