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GM’s Self-Driving Unit Gets $2.25 Billion From SoftBank’s Venture Fund

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General Motors has announced that its self-driving unit is getting a $2.25 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, a major venture investment effort that was started by the Japanese tech giant in 2016. Cruise Automation, which GM bought in 2016 for $1 billion to jump-start its self-driving efforts, will get $900 million when the transaction closes and $1.35 billion when GM is ready to deploy its autonomous cars for commercial use (which is currently slated for 2019).

GM also announced that it will pump a fresh $1.1 billion round of investment into Cruise when the transaction closes, bringing the total to $3.35 billion. When all its investments have been made, SoftBank Vision Fund will own a 19.6 percent stake in Cruise.

While a number of different takes on self-driving technology are currently being tested, it’s not yet clear which ones will be the most commercially viable or whether some mix of all of them will ultimately change the way we get around. Will we hail a self-driving car from a service like Uber or Lyft? Will we buy cars from automakers that can drive themselves? Will we allow those cars to be hailed by others when we’re not using them? Will fully self-driving technology only make sense in a public transportation setting?

Perhaps because of this uncertainty, there is one thing that is clear about self-driving cars: whatever does happen with them, it’s likely that no one company will go it alone. While GM and Cruise are working on their own commercial autonomous ride-hailing service, GM also has a self-driving partnership with Lyft that kicked off in early 2016 before the acquisition of Cruise. Lyft is working with Ford (which spent $1 billion on its own obscure self-driving startup) to tie the ride-hailing service’s app platform into the automaker’s self-driving cars.

Lyft is also working its own self-driving technology stack that serves as the foundation for an open platform for automakers and other companies to build on, an idea that has already attracted Jaguar Land Rover, NuTonomy, Drive.ai, and Waymo, the self-driving company that was spun out of Google.

Like Lyft, Waymo is also trying to build a self-driving stack that other companies can work with to make autonomous cars a reality. (A handful of startups, like Aurora, which is led by the former head of Google’s self-driving program, are trying a similar business model.) It has since struck a partnership with Intel, which has a self-driving unit of its own in Mobileye, the former partner of Tesla’s that helped develop the first Autopilot. Waymo is also working with Jaguar to build 20,000 self-driving I-Pace SUVs, and is working on a deal with Honda. Waymo got its true start by working out a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which was renewed today in a huge way, and the two sides are discussing the possibility of selling their self-driving minivans.

By Sean O’Kane

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Seminars and Conferences

Caroline Esinam Adzogble Launches An Innovative “1-Click Apply” For Universities And Students WorldWide

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Caroline Esinam Adzogble

Ghana’s Caroline Esinam Adzogble, has launched an innovative platform as part of her efforts to make quality education accessible to all. Admissionin30minutes is leveraging technology to ensure the daunting task of international student recruitment and conversion is curbed.

“We are providing a robustly built platform that allows students located in all continents to connect with schools all over the world with a one-click apply option.”, she remarked.

The app which is downloadable on the App Stores and available to students located in 146 countries allows students to search for education and scholarship opportunities, apply and receive offer letters within minutes.

The model which seemed highly impossible from the beginning has rather surprisingly proven formidable and scalable, haven’t earned quite an impressive league of over 40+ University partners and over 2000+ Applications already processed on the platform.

Caroline known for her innovativeness seeks to make international student recruitment the most fun and easiest thing to do.

In her words ‘I wouldn’t want students waiting weeks on admission offers neither do I want Institutions taking weeks to decide on student’s applications. Research shows that it only takes about 15minutes to decide on a student’s application and I am leveraging on this fact to provide the platform for both students and Institutions worldwide’

The platform is set up with a well define value proposition and offering that benefits different players in the educational ecosystem. It has a vision to make Education the most accessible to students located in over a 146 countries, a mission to bridge the gaps for International Student Recruitment and a set of comprehensive goals.

For Students
1. To reach more students continent by continent
2. To provide a one-stop information service to prospective students
3. To provide a one-stop solution for student application
4. To cut down admission processing time for students

For Universities | Colleges | Boarding Schools | Community Colleges | Language Schools
1. Extend reach of student’s region by region
2. To provide a more effective way to connect to International students
3. To provide a more cost effective way to manage student applications
4. To enroll more students minute by minute


and for Agents
1. To reach more students region by region
2. To provide a more effective way to connect to International schools
3. To provide a more effective way to manage student applications
4. To lessen the burden of representation agreements
5. To maximize income and profits

Caroline is a highly sought after Educationist and Technology Entrepreneur and runs the Potters International College, Caroline University, IAES Africa, Everyday Travel and Tours, The Mercy Heart Foundation, and Caroline Technology Solutions. She was recently celebrated across the continent as a Power Woman Influencer and the youngest female African to run an accredited International College.

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Monetize Your Short Videos With MTN Shortz

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Great news for MTN customers as the telecommunication network launches a digital innovative platform called “MTN Shortz”.
The digital platform allows users to access and create short video conents for an expectational experience.

Subscribers can create short video contents which includes comedy, podcasts, animations, games and films. Unlike most digital platforms, MTN shortz aims to monetize the creativity of the content developers.

The acting Chief Marketing Officer of MTN, Mr. Noel Kojo-Ganson, at the launch emphasized on the relevance of the smartphone and the need to create contents that would inform, educate and inform its uses. He futher went on to state that, MTN is inviting content creators, animators, game developers, newspaper houses, movie producers, TV stations, radio stations, bloggers, social media experts to submit very innovative contents on MTN Shortz platform to participate in the MTN Shortz Challenge.

“The MTN Shorts challenge presents an opportunity for all of us to tell the African story or share information on Ghana’s culture and any other useful information required for life.

“Content could be on health, education and any other issue of social importance. We hope to receive very exciting and thought provoking contents from various developers,” he stated.

Persons interested in the challenge would have to logon onto mtn.com.gh/shortz for registration from August 8 till August 27, to stand the chance of winning a total cash prize of Ghc 50,000.00

Workshops will be held to educate the content developers post the challenge, after which the MTN Shortz platform will kickstart.

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Kim Kardashian’s Clothes Shazam (Screenshop™)

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Kim Kardashian (Screenshop™)

I guess it’s a goodbye to the days of having to manually browse the internet about where to get or steal a celebrities’ style. Well, Kim Kardashian with a team of people created the fashion app that’s like Shazam for clothes called the ScreenShop™.

ScreenShop boasts patent-pending technology that instantly scans screenshots taken from any app or website on your phone, convening them to similar, shoppable items at a variety of price points. This app was created and launched in November 7th, 2017.

“The fact that you can screenshot anything and instantly have a digital fashion store where you can buy the entire outfit basically, or similar to, is really groundbreaking.” Kim K. she said in an interview, sounding like a seasoned entrepreneur.

According to her the company have partnered with roughly 460 brands to help users find the perfect match, and these brands range from ASOS, Boohoo, Kanye West’s Yezzy’s brand, For ever 21 just to name a few.

Screenshop

Screenshop

Screenshop

Screenshop

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Facebook Is Redesigning Pages So It’s Easier To Interact With Local Businesses

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Today, Facebook announced a series of visual changes and feature tweaks to the layout of business pages on the mobile version of its social network to make them easier to interact with. For instance, if you’re looking at the page of a restaurant or hair salon, you can now easily book a reservation or appointment through Facebook from the page. The redesign, which will be different for each category of page, is starting with pages for restaurants, local services, and TV shows. Facebook plans to roll out custom designs to other types of pages in the near future.

In addition to those changes, Facebook is making its recommendations feature more prominent by adding crowdsourced recommendations directly to pages as substitutes to traditional reviews. First launched in the fall of 2016, recommendations is a way to poll your friends for cool spots to see, eat, and visit in unfamiliar places, typically when you’re on vacation.

Facebook wants the feature to expand beyond vacation polls to include recommendations for local businesses, too. So now, when you recommend a restaurant or local business to a friend, Facebook will encourage you to write a more robust version of that recommendation by requiring a minimum character count and letting you add photos. That will then be added as a review to that establishment’s Facebook page.

The last set of changes the company is announcing today includes an expansion of its jobs platform and the addition of a new “Local” section with bookmarked places for you to check out in your area. The job application tool is now available worldwide. (It was previously restricted to certain markets.) The local bookmarks is a feature borrowed from Facebook’s companion Local app, and the company is giving it more prominence in the main Facebook app as a way to encourage people to explore events and businesses in their neighborhood.

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