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Showing posts from September, 2018

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

Mercedes 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. Mercedes 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. F1 driver Va

Toyota is supplying its Fuel Cell tech to bus manufacturer CaetanoBus

Toyota 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. Toyota 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'

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

BMW 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. BMW 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. BMW Increased capacity of the battery has led to a longer rang

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 c

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

BMW 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. BMW 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. BMW The new Re

Volvo outs Cross Country version of its V60 vehicle

Volvo 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. Volvo 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 Count

Volkswagen partners with Microsoft to accelerate its connected car efforts

Volkswagen 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

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

Daimler 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). Daimler 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

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

image credit : Grab 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 st

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

Color Genomics 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, a

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

image credit : SwiftKey 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 sen

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

Compass 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. Compass CFO

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

The Coalition 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

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

Darktrace co-founder and former CEO Poppy Gustafsson (left) at a 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt event image credit : John Phillips/Getty Images for TechCrunch 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

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

Stripe co-founders John Collison and Patrick Collison who old the positions of President and CEO respectively at Stripe Stripe 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. Stripe 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 r

Oculus outs the Fall event lineup for its Venues app

Oculus 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 PT September 26 // VR League Onward Finals // 6:00 pm PT September 26 // Live Music Now — New Orleans, LA // 8:00 pm PT September 26 // OC5 Day 1 Keynote Encore wit

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

Oculus 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. Oculus 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

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Cashing Out: Jeff Bezos Sells $2.5B Of Amazon Stock

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has continued his routine selling of Amazon shares to fund his other escapades. For a few years now, he's had an arranged trading plan that sees him regularly sell Amazon stock worth billions of dollars. Jeff Bezos' latest sell-off is of 739,000 Amazon shares worth around $2.5bn, SEC filings show. Another separate filing indicated that he plans to sell as many as 2 million shares that could net him nearly $7bn at current prices. This latest share sell-off from Bezos is noteworthy as one of his last in his position as Amazon's CEO which he's handing off soon to a top lieutenant named Andy Jassy. Jassy is currently CEO of AWS, Amazon's very profitable cloud computing division. Usually, a CEO offloading large amounts of stock in a company he leads draws some displeasure from investors, but as Jeff Bezos would soon no longer be Amazon's CEO, it opens up opportunities to sell larger amounts of shares than usual if the desires. Amazon's

EVs: Ford, BMW Co-Invest In An EV Battery Startup

It's currently of no doubt that electric vehicles represent the future for the automobile market, and many automakers have taken heed to that. Tens of billions of dollars in spending have been earmarked for the R&D and production of electric vehicles by global automakers, with efforts spanning battery development, building new factories, charging stations et al. Now, two of the world's biggest automakers, BMW and Ford, have jointly invested in a startup working on battery technology for electric vehicles. That startup is Solid Power, a Colorado-based startup developing solid-state batteries for EVs. Details: Solid Power has raised a $130 million Series B round  co-led by Ford and BMW. The two automakers were joined by green-focused venture fund Volta Energy Technologies in the round. As part of the strategic round, Ford and BMW have expanded their joint agreements with Solid Power to develop solid-state batteries for their use. In a way, the two automakers are funding and o

Is Apple Brewing A Major Digital Health Play?

That Apple has high ambitions in the digital health space isn't foreign news to anyone following the moves of the company. In fact, its CEO Tim Cook once referred to health as Apple's “greatest contribution to mankind.” Apple's main health product is the Apple Watch for which health represents a major use case and a selling point. The latest Apple Watch series has key health features including the ability to measure ECG (electrocardiogram) and oxygen saturation level in the blood. With all its grand ambitions, the reality is that Apple is progressing very well in the digital health space but yet hasn't gotten a big foothold in it like it's done in other markets. There still exists a large gap for Apple to conquer to make waves in the digital health market and the company seems much hell-bent on covering that gap. Details: A certain revelation has come out that details Apple's grand plans in the health sector, and it's that of a UK startup working on next-ge

Big Pay: AT&T Shareholders Vote Against Execs Pay

To bring back one of our most favorite sayings, "America is the land of many things, including very enormous executive pay". Executives of publicly-traded companies in the US are familiar with very large compensation packages on a scale not seen in other countries, take recent examples including Palantir CEO Alex Karp landing a $1.1 billion payday  and former T-Mobile CEO John Legere getting a $137 million severance pay . But with all the large executive pay packages flying around, it appears that the shareholders of one public company are not okay with it and that company is telecoms giant AT&T.  Details: AT&T in a statement  revealed that the majority of its shareholders voted not in favor of the compensation of its executive officers in 2020. Just under 49% of votes were cast in favor of the compensation, leaving the remaining majority 51%, not in favor.  Last year, AT&T had large pay packages for its top brass including $21 million for CEO John Stankey and $52

Deal: Verizon Sells Yahoo And AOL To PE Firm For $5B

Telecoms giant Verizon has found a buyer for its Verizon Media Unit which includes veteran internet properties like Yahoo and AOL, and that buyer is a major private equity firm. To note, though Yahoo and AOL have long faded from their glory days, they aren't exactly dead properties but ones still with a great deal of users bringing in a few billion in revenue annually. Details: Verizon has struck a deal to sell 90% of Verizon Media to private equity firm Apollo which will pay $5 billion for it, while Verizon retains a  10%  minority stake in the business. The deal takes off many internet properties off Verizon's hands, including bigger ones like Yahoo and smaller ones like technology news site TechCrunch operating under the AOL umbrella. Though it's selling for a seemingly huge price of $5 billion, Verizon paid a combined $9 billion to buy the web properties making up its Verizon Media unit so it doesn't come out on top financially from the sale.  Verizon paid $4.4bn t

Germany's SAP Fined $8M For Violating Iran Sanctions

SAP, the German software giant, has agreed to pay a fine in the US for violating sanctions imposed by the country on conducting business in Iran. It'll pay over $8 million in fines after admitting to handling thousands of exports of its software to Iran violating US law. Details: SAP admitted to exporting US-origin software to Iran beginning in 2010 up until 2017. The exports including delivering software upgrades and patches more than 20,000 times to Iranian users and offering Iranian users access to US-based cloud services. As charged, executives at SAP were aware that the company didn't have geolocation protections to block downloads of its US-origin software in Iran and turned a blind eye to the situation.  SAP was also charged with neglecting to put in place adequate export control for cloud services made by some US-based companies that it acquired and integrated into its software suite. For the charges, SAP admitted guilt and reached a  Non-Prosecution Agreement with the

IPO: Cybersecurity Startup Darktrace Debuts On UK Markets

A major cybersecurity startup from the UK has held an initial public offering (IPO) and debuted to positive investor fanfare on the domestic public markets. That startup is Darktrace, a fast-growing cybersecurity startup founded by a team of mathematicians in collaboration with British intelligence agencies in 2013. Darktrace sells cyber-defense software that's claimed to harness artificial intelligence in spotting and managing cyber threats. It listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol "DARK". By the numbers: Darktrace debuted to positive investor fanfare that saw its shares soar by 40% on its first day of trading. It raised £143 million ($198m) from the public float at a valuation of £1.7 billion ($2.3bn) which soared to almost £2.4 billion ($3.3bn) on its debut trading day. Darktrace's IPO prospectus reports $199 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. This was up from $137 million in the previous year, 2019, and $79 mill

Earnings: Pfizer Rakes In Cash From COVID Vaccine

Pfizer, one of the few pharmaceutical companies worldwide to produce an approved Covid-19 vaccine, has unveiled its earnings report for the first quarter of this year. As usual, the report provides a solid peek into the company's financials and with very noteworthy nuggets this time around. One key nugget from Pfizer's earnings report is that the company brought in $3.5bn in revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine in Q1' 21. It made up nearly a fourth of the company's total $14.6bn revenue for the period. The Covid vaccine was the biggest single source of revenue for Pfizer in the quarter. It's definitely a good time for the company in that regard, as it elected to keep the profit from the sale of its vaccines unlike some of its competitors which volunteered to waive off any profit-seeking from their vaccines. Unlike some of its competitors also, Pfizer didn't take money from the US government to fund the development of its vaccine under the Trump administration'

Earnings: Covid Vaccines Deliver Big Sales, Profit For Moderna

Moderna was among the few biotech companies that saved the day with the development of an emergency-authorized vaccine to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a breakthrough for the company, which was before then a cancer-fighting moonshot with minimal revenues and no working product. Being a publicly-traded company, Moderna is mandated to release quarterly earnings reports to the public and it has done so this time around, releasing its financial results for the first quarter of this year 2021. Moderna's latest earnings report shows that of a company that saw big success from its Covid vaccines, as it reported record revenue and its first-ever net profit as a public company. By the numbers: Moderna made $1.9bn in revenue in Q1' 21, compared to a paltry $8mn for the same quarter in 2020. The revenue came wholly from Covid vaccine sales in the US and foreign markets. Moderna reported a huge net income of $1.2bn in the quarter, compared to a net loss of $124mn for the same perio

Court Docs: Fortnite Maker Epic Made $15B In 2018-2020

Fortnite maker Epic Games is having a court battle with Apple over the latter's App Store practices and that battle has led to several documents coming out of the shadows with valuable information about Epic Games not publicly known before.  Among the information revealed in court proceedings between Epic and Apple is the sheer scale of Epic's revenue largely gotten from its hit game Fortnite . Official documents indicate that Epic Games made respective annual sales of $5.6bn, $4.2bn, and $5.1bn in 2018, 2019, and 2020, summing up to just shy of $15bn. Epic's revenue in 2018 and 2019 was revealed in financial documents made public as part of its court battle with Apple while its revenue for 2020 was separately revealed in a court testimony by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The vast majority of Epic's revenue comes from Fortnite while its other products like the Unreal Engine and the Epic Games Store bring in a minority of revenues. Specifically, Fortnite brought in $5.5bn a