Author: Darrell Etherington

BMW and Daimler agree to merge mobility service businesses

It’s been hinted at, but Daimler and BMW are officially bringing together their mobility services business groups into one combined company, with a 50 percent stake owned by each automaker. That means tying up all their on-demand mobility offerings, including care share services Car2Go and DriveNow; ride-hailing like myTaxi, Chauffeur Privé and Clever Taxi; parking products like ParkNow and Parkmobile; on-demand services like moves and ReachNow; and charging solutions including ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions. If approved (the proposed deal still has to be signed off by relevant competition protective regulators and government agencies), the deal would bring together...

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Oscar Health raises $165 million at reported $3B valuation

Oscar Health, the startup run by Josh Kushner (yes, brother of Jared), has raised $165 million at a reported valuation of $3.2 billion, CNBC’s Christina Farr reports. The funding comes from Alphabet’s Capital G investment company and Verily life sciences corporation, Founders Fund, and others. Oscar’s goal is to outpace existing industry-leading insurers including UnitedHealth and Aetna with an emphasis on mobile technology, including an appointment booking app and other tools for encouraging engaged consumers across its platform. The startup seemed to be in some potential trouble because of its focus providing an insurance marketplace for Affordable Care Act...

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Nvidia’s Jensen Huang cautions patience in judging Uber AV engineers

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang faced a number of questions regarding Uber’s recent self-driving test vehicle accident, in which an SUV equipped with Uber’s autonomous technology struck and killed 49-year old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. Earlier on Tuesday, Reuters broke the news that Nvidia was suspending its own autonomous testing programs around the world. Huang didn’t address the suspension on stage, but he did express sympathy for the victim during the keynote, which he reiterated during the Q&A. “First of all, what happened is tragic and sad,” Huang said in response to a question about whether he believes the...

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Nvidia previews next-generation Drive Orin self-driving computer

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revealed a forthcoming generation of the company’s self-driving Drive PX supercomputers for use in vehicles – the successor to the current Drive Pegasus, which will be called the Drive Orin and which will use essentially two Drive Pegasus computers combined into one, much smaller packages. This should ramp up the self-driving computing capability of vehicles in general, since Pegasus, when revealed in October of last year, contains two Xavier computers and two post-Volta GPUs. The Drive PX Pegasus was reportedly ready to power Level 5 autonomous robotaxis, without any onboard manual controls required onboard the...

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Nvidia debuts new Drive Constellation simulated self-driving test system

Nvidia has taken the AutoSIM virtual environment for testing autonomous cars it originally showed off at CES, combined it with its Drive Pegasus AI in-car computer and created a virtual testing and validation loop that can handle billions of virtual driving miles in hyperrealistic environments, with the ability to model edge cases and recreate conditions that would be difficult to test exhaustively on real roads. The system designed for use by its partners is called Drive Constellation, and involves using two different servers to accurate simulate real-world autonomous driving in a totally virtualized enjoyment. One server runs Nvidia’s Drive...

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Udacity introduces real robots and virtual worlds to help students build skills

Udacity is hosting its annual Intersect conference this week, and the online learning platform is introducing some new programs and features for students at the event. Those include two new ways for students to practice and hone their practical skills – in both real and virtual worlds. For robotics education, Udacity is teaming up with robotics and automation specialists KUKA and the Karslruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to debut the KUKA Udacity Robot Learning Lab at KIT. This is a special lab which will allow students to put working code on real industrial robots in a university lab environment...

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Udacity debuts a dedicated School of AI with three new nanodegrees

Udacity is intruding three dedicated new nanodegrees (its own accelerated learning program) in the field of artificial intelligence, which will become part of its new School of AI. AI has been a subject Udacity has taught nearly since its inception, beginning over five years ago, and the field has changed a lot since. It’s seen over 8,000 graduates from its nanodegree program, which means that its alumni make up an estimated 3 percent of the world’s total AI engineering pool, according to the company. Now, it’s intruding an AI Programming with Python nanodegree, as well as a Computer Vision...

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3D printed rocket maker Relativity raises $35M to simplify satellite launches

LA-based space startup Relativity has raised $35 million in Series B funding, in a new round led by Playground Global, and including existing investors Social Capital, Y Combinator Continuity and Mark Cuban. The funding will help the startup expand its automated, 3D-printing process for manufacturing rockets quickly and with greatly reduced complexity, with the ultimate aim of making it easier and cheaper to send satellites into space. Relativity’s goal is to introduce a highly automated rocket construction process that relies on nearly 100 percent 3D printed rocket parts, to create custom, mission-specific rockets that can launch payloads the size...

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