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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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Cloudflare Pops On IPO Debut

Cloudflare, roughly a month after filing for an IPO, debuted on the public markets yesterday, raising $525 million from the sale of more than 35 million shares. Cloudflare priced its IPO at $15 a share, up from a previous range of between $10 to $12 per share. The company's stock jumped 20% on its debut to $18 per share, giving the company a market cap of roughly $5.3 billion. This is up from its last private valuation of $3.2 billion.

Cloudflare's IPO happened at the same time frame another highly-valued private company, SmileDirectClub, debuted on the public markets. SmileDirectClub filed to go public the same week as Cloudflare and also went public the same week the company did. But unlike Cloudflare, SmileDirectClub didn't pop on its public debut, instead falling 28% below its IPO price. Still, the brace-making company notched a valuation of $6.4 billion [as of Thursday], double its last private valuation of $3.2 billion (notice it's the same as that of Cloudflare…

Juul Sales Ceased In China Days After Launch

Just days after entering the Chinese market, Juul has halted sales in the country, with its products pulled from JD.com and Alibaba's Tmall, two of the biggest Chinese e-commerce marketplaces. No official reason for the halt was provided, but a statement from a Juul spokesperson hinted of regulatory issues. “While Juul products are not currently available on e-commerce Web sites in China, we look forward to continued dialogue with stakeholders so that we can make our products available again,” a spokeswoman for Juul said in a statement.

Juul's products became available in China beginning on the 9th of September, but suddenly disappeared from Chinese e-commerce sites on Tuesday. The company's move into China happens to be at a time it's facing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S., with the Trump Administration having made plans to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The renewed scrutiny from the U.S. government came amid recorded cases of deaths from vaping-related …

Fair Raises $500 Million In Debt Financing

Fair, a Santa Monica-based car leasing startup, has announced $500 million in debt financing led by Mizuho Bank, with participation from Softbank and other unnamed credit providers. This follows a $100 million debt facility closed over the summer, and a $50 million increase to its credit line with Silicon Valley Bank in July. Fair also has credit lines from Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, and previously raised $385 million in Series B funding led by Softbank.

Fair will use the new capital to expand its Uber partnership, which involves leasing cars on flexible terms to Uber drivers. Fair's appeal is its more-flexible-than-normal car leasing model that allows its customers lease a car for as long as they want and be able to cancel any time, in contrast with the long-term commitments of conventional car-leasing services. Thanks to its partnership with Uber, drivers looking to earn money through ride-sharing can easily lease a car and then drive for Uber, being able to cancel the le…

Affirm Reportedly Raising $1.5 Billion In New Funding

Not long after raising $300 million at a reported $2.9 billion valuation, TechCrunch reports that Affirm, an online lending startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is raising as much as $1.5 billion in debt and equity funding. The report says Thrive Capital, the VC firm that led its $300 million funding, is leading the new financing, with participation from Spark Capital. According to TechCrunch, a significant part of the funding would lie on the debt side, with a line of credit from a large financial institution in the works.

Fintech companies, especially those focused on lending, often raise huge credit facilities or equity funding to sustain operations. For example, Kabbage, an online lender for small businesses, secured a $200 million credit facility sometime in June. Klarna, a Swedish startup that's in the same market as Affirm, recently raised $460 million in funding. Affirm is an online lender but doesn't actually lend money directly. It partners with several mer…

Softbank Reportedly Planning To Invest $750 Million In WeWork IPO

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Softbank, a major investor in WeWork, plans to buy at least $750 million worth of shares in WeWork's impending IPO, even amid reports of the company seeking a valuation as low as $10 billion for a public debut [a $10 billion figure would be lower than the $12.8 billion in equity and debt funding WeWork has raised since inception]. Softbank was previously reported to have pushed WeWork to postpone its IPO amid doubts and concerns over its cash burn rate and potential path to profitability. However, WeWork was reported to be going ahead with a public offering, even if it meant a value that's way lower than the $47 billion post-money valuation it got from a Softbank investment in January.

WeWork's push to go ahead with an IPO isn't surprising, given a $6 billion credit facility it has lined up that's contingent on it raising at least $3 billion from an IPO. However, there's no certainty there'll be enough in…

GitLab Raising Funding At A $2.6 Billion Valuation

GitLab has authorized the issuance of $268 million worth of shares that'll value it at $2.55 billion, according to a filing reviewed by the Prime Unicorn Index. Basically, it means the company, which was valued at more than $1 billion last year, plans to raise up to $268 million in funding at a $2.55 billion valuation. However, there's no guarantee the full amount will be raised, as it's dependent on investor interest and demand. GitLab was valued at $1.1 billion after it raised $100 million in Series D funding last September. ICONIQ Capital, an investment firm known to manage money for several Silicon Valley bigwigs, led that round.

If GitLab successfully raises at its targeted $2.55 billion valuation, it would mean a more than double in valuation in a single year, a very impressive feat for a startup. This is just a speculation, but GitLab may have seen a strong increase in user numbers after the acquisition of GitHub, another web-based Git repository, by Microsoft last…

This Is The Apple Watch Series 5

Earlier this week, Apple held a keynote event where it debuted the iPhone 11, alongside its Pro and Pro Max variants. On that day, Apple also announced the launch dates and pricing models for the Apple TV+ video subscription and Apple Arcade game subscription service. Apple TV+ will launch on the 1st of November, costing $5 per month. Apple Arcade on the other hand will launch in 4 days time (19 September), also costing $5 per month.

Alongside the iPhone 11, Apple debuted a new seventh-generation iPad, and the Apple Watch Series 5, the fifth iteration of the popular Apple Watch lineup. The Apple Watch Series 5 comes with never-seen before features in an Apple smartwatch, including an "Always-On Retina" display, which allows users to look at the time, or whatever is on the home screen without having to raise or tap the display; new location features, ranging from a built-in compass that'll tell the user what direction they're facing to a feature that measures the wea…

Square Said To Be Testing Free Stock Trading Service

According to a report from Bloomberg, Square is testing a new feature that'll let users of its Cash App to make free stock trades, a move that looks like a jab at Robinhood, a well known free stock trading service that was recently valued at $7.6 billion. Bloomberg reports Square employees began testing the new feature in recent weeks.

Square's Cash App already lets users do a lot of things, including sending money to friends, using an accompanying debit card, or buying and selling Bitcoin. Square doesn't consistently provides updates on how many people use the Cash App, but as at last year December, the company said the Cash App had more than 15 million monthly active users. Robinhood, which is mostly known for its free stock trading app although it's expanded into other areas like options trading and margins trading, had more than 6 million users as at 2018 end.

According to Bloomberg, Square's initial product will offer no-fee stock trading but wouldn't com…

France And Germany Could Block Facebook's Libra

Not long after Yves Mersch, a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, took a jab at Facebook's proposed digital currency, Libra, France and Germany, two eurozone countries, have opposed the digital currency, saying it posed risks to the financial sector that could block its authorization in Europe. Both countries have supported the development of an alternative public cryptocurrency, which the European Central Bank recently announced it was working on.

The criticism from both countries sound similar to that of Mersch, who earlier opposed Facebook's Libra, stating it posed a risk to the monetary control and oversight by EU member states. Mersch described the control of Libra, which will be overseen by a team of founding members who have put up at least $10 million each to get equal voting rights, as "cartel-like". In a joint statement, France and Germany's finance ministers, Bruno Le Maire and Olaf Scholz, said digital currencies pose risks to…

Facebook Said To Be Working With Luxottica To Make AR Glasses

According to a report from CNBC, Facebook has partnered with Luxottica to develop augmented-reality glasses that are designed to replace smartphones. For those not familiar, Luxottica is the world's largest eyewear company, that's behind several eyewear brands including the famous "Ray-Ban" collection. According to CNBC, Facebook has been working to develop AR glasses out of its Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, but faced struggles that have led it to seek help from a company like Luxottica. CNBC reports Facebook hopes a partnership with Luxottica will get its AR glasses completed and ready for consumers between 2023 and 2025.

According to CNBC, the glasses are internally codenamed "Orion", and would allow users to take calls, see information in a small display and live-stream their camera feed to social media friends and connections. CNBC previously reported of Facebook developing an AI voice assistant that'll serve as user input for the g…