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Technologies - robotics

Intel’s venture capital firm to invest $38 million in startups

Intel Capital is investing $38 million in a dozen startups focused on autonomous machines, data and connectivity, sports and health, and virtual reality. One of the robotics firms, Chronocam, is creating computer vision sensors and systems that are like the biological human eye. Embodied is making socially assistive robots while Perrone Robotics is developing a software platform for autonomous vehicles and robots. Among the four startups focused on data and connectivity, two are China-based: Eazytec which provides IoT technologies for monitoring the water and air in China and Grand Chip Microelectronics which offers connectivity solutions for WLAN, Wi-Fi, cellular and IoT. The two others are Paxata, which is working on a business information platform that turns raw data into meaningful information for enterprise and IT users and StealthMine, which is securing data encryption for enterprise applications. Sports and health firms Cubeworks, Kinduct and L4Connect are developing tiny millimeter-sized wireless sensors, a data and analytics platform, and dashboards respectively. Virtual reality startup Dysonics is working on solutions that will enable people to capture 360-degree sounds for live VR experiences. Lastly, InContext Solutions is helping manufacturers and retailers simulate their products and services in virtual reality.

Key Takeaway: 

Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital firm, is investing $38 million in 12 startups focused on robotics, IoT connectivity and data analytics, sports, health and wellness, as well as virtual reality, with technologies that are ground-breaking and could be useful for various customer markets such as the enterprise, health and wellness organizations.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to get cities ready for driverless cars

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to develop policy recommendations for cities to get them ready for the coming of self-driving cars. His philantrophic arm Bloomberg Philantrophies and the Aspen Institute will reach out to mayors, academics and experts to talk and plan about the future of autonomous vehicles. As a start, five cities will serve as testing grounds, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Buenos Aires and Paris, with five more cities to be announced by the end of the year. According to The Washington Post, key issues cities need to look at are road maintenance, workers' training, institution design and land use planning. It is also an opportunity for cities to address pedestrian safety, carbon reduction and economic mobility, said James Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Key Takeaway: 

Former mayor and philantrophist Michael Bloomberg plans to have a discussion with mayors, the academe and experts to talk about policy recommendations cities can adopt as more driverless cars are expected on roads in the near future.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Singapore will pilot autonomous buses and real-time monitoring of rail system

The Singaporean Land Transport Authority in partnership with the Nanyang Technology University will test the use of two driverless buses within the Jurong Innovation District to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion and pollution, and address manpower challenges. The autonomous buses will be driving along a pre-determined route and will be recharged at bus stops. Heavy focus is being placed by LTA on road safety as the project announcement came a day after a crash incident involving nuTonomy, which was testing its autonomous cars in the One North Business District. The two parties will also develop a real-time monitoring system for its national rail network to identify potential defects without disrupting operations.

Key Takeaway: 

The transport regulator of Singapore in partnership with the NTU will pilot the use of autonomous buses in the Jurong Innovation District to address transportation-related issues.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Tesla Model S, X and Model 3 will have self-driving hardware

Tesla Motors announced it will start adding $8,000 worth of full autonomous driving hardware to the Model S, X and Model 3 sedans in production. The new vehicles will have eight surround cameras with 360 degree visibility up to 250 meters of range and 12 updated ultrasonic sensors that can detect objects at almost twice the distance of the existing system. Its computing system will be 40 times more powerful than the initial one it introduced. However, the hardware still has to wait for advances in the company's AutoPilot software before the cars can fully drive themselves without human intervention. The system will also have to gather data from millions of miles of real-world driving before it can be commercialized.

Key Takeaway: 

Tesla will begin installing the hardware that can enable full self-driving capability in its Model S, X and Model 3 sedans but software required to run them is still being developed.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Robot babies used in Japan to encourage population growth

Decline in the population has led to a trend in Japan of developing robotic babies to encourage couples to have children. Some robots look like real children while others mimic or imitate the behavior of babies. Examples include Toyota's Kirobo Mini, which can recognize and respond to people, and Yotaro's robotic baby simulator, which projects facial emotions and expressions in response to touch, mood or illness. There are also projects in development which use artificial intelligence to enable the robots to form a relationship with humans. Studies in the US and Australia have shown that robotic babies have increased pregnancies among test subjects.

Key Takeaway: 

Faced with a declining population, roboticists and engineers in Japan are developing robots that look or resemble real babies to encourage young couples to start their own families.

Transforming Business Models: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 17, 2016

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