Author: Kristen Hall-Geisler

Run your startup the Toyota way

TECHCRUNCH Toyota is known for its manufacturing efficiency. We’ve probably all heard that if a worker on the Camry line sees a problem, they have the authority to stop the line and address it. At the end of the day, teams meet to discuss what went wrong and what fixes actually fixed things. It’s called the Toyota Production System, or TPS, and like any tech cult, it’s got lots of lingo and acronyms. (Try throwing around “Let’s kaizen this” if you want to seem in the know.) But it also can work for a startup as easily as it...

Read More

Roborace DevBot learns during laps in NYC

TECHCRUNCH The sleek, low-slung driverless Roborace car was on display in New York City for the Formula E races this weekend, but it was the workhorse DevBot that took to the track. You can recognize DevBot by its bubble-like cockpit, where a human sits ready to take the wheel if the autonomous car needs a literal hand. Given Formula E‘s one-day structure, with qualifying sessions early in the day and the race in the afternoon, Roborace is able to take advantage of the empty track in the middle of the day for demonstrations of its artificial intelligence system on...

Read More

Cortica teaches autonomous vehicles with unsupervised learning

TECHCRUNCH Cortica is moving into mobility by opening an automotive branch for its AI technology. The key, according to the company, is in the use of unsupervised learning that allows an autonomous system to process data and figure out its environment. For those just dipping their toes into the artificial intelligence pool, supervised machine learning is when the AI is given a set of examples and what they mean so that it can learn to recognize similar items in the future. For example, you could feed the system a thousand images of stop signs — some faded, some obscured...

Read More

Bye-bye, Firefly: Waymo retires its autonomous prototype vehicle

TECHCRUNCH If you were holding out for one of those super cute autonomous pods from Google’s early days of researching self-driving vehicles, I have bad news. The autonomous division of the company is now Waymo (that’s not the bad news), and it announced that it is retiring the little white vehicles, known as “Firefly” inside the company. That, for those of us who liked the little gumdrop on wheels, is the bad news. In a blog post, Waymo lead industrial designer YooJung Ahn and lead systems engineer Jaime Waydo pointed out that the koala-faced car was never intended for...

Read More

Taxis get Square in DC

TECHCRUNCH Washington D.C. has taken a step to help the city’s taxis remain relevant and compete with ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. As of August 31, 2017, all taxi drivers in the city will have to make the switch from the old meters we all know and hate to new digital meters with payments powered by Square. By the end of the summer, all taxi drivers will be able to swipe your card the same way local coffee shops and food carts do, with a Square reader plugged into a smartphone or tablet. The city’s Department of...

Read More

Cabin secures $3.3M for its “moving hotel”

TECHCRUNCH Cabin recently announced that it had secured $3.3 million in seed financing for its sleeper-car buses. (I’ll explain that concept in a minute.) The funding was led by Founders Fund’s FF Angel, with participation from half a dozen other investors. This new round of funding will enable Cabin to expand its overnight transportation services regionally and nationally. Now, about that “moving hotel” idea. A full-size travel bus has been outfitted with sleeping berths lining a narrow walkway, like trains used to have. There’s a small communal lounge area for social insomniacs, wifi for solitary insomniacs, and earplugs and...

Read More

ChargePoint takes over GE charging stations

TECHCRUNCH ChargePoint announced that it will become the exclusive operator of all of GE‘s electric charging stations, which means nearly 10,000 places to plug in will be transferred to the new company’s management. That total adds 1,800 commercial charging stations and 8,000 residential chargers to ChargePoint’s already huge network. Not that existing users will notice much difference at first. ChargePoint said that it will maintain the existing software and commercial chargers to make the transition easier on those who’ve been using the system already. Users will get immediate access to ChargePoint‘s tools for finding charging stations when daring to...

Read More

Autotalks brings motorcycles into the conversation

TECHCRUNCH Autotalks has been developing technologies that allow vehicles to talk to anything — V2X, to the nerds in the know. It’s one of the technologies that will enable fully autonomous vehicles to roam our roads. But where does that leave motorcycles, which will still have riders who rely on interactions with human drivers? That’s where B2V, or bike to vehicle, technology comes in. Autotalks has created a B2X chipset that allows motorcycles to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure. As of this spring, Bosch is using the company’s B2V tech in particular to study its effects on motorcycle...

Read More

Right Now in Politics