San Francisco, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — Uber is teaming up with Toyota to build self-driving cars for its ride-hailing service after its efforts to do it alone were derailed by a fatal collision and allegations of high-tech theft.
Toyota, based in Japan, is also investing $500 million in Uber as part of the alliance announced Monday.
The deal aims to combine the best features from the two companies' work on autonomous technology into cars that will be picking up Uber's customers by 2021.
By the time that happens, Uber hopes to have completed an initial public offering of stock that will enrich a list of early investors that now includes Toyota. Those investors have been pouring billions of dollars into Uber's revolutionary ride-hailing service that still hasn't proven it can make money since its inception nearly a decade ago.
Uber is counting on self-driving cars to help it turn the financial corner by reducing the need to pay human drivers who arrive to pick up passengers in private vehicles summoned through a smartphone app.
By expanding into autonomous vehicles, Uber also hopes to ward off a looming competitive threat from another early investor, Google and its self-driving car spin-off Waymo, which is poised to launch its own ride-hailing service in Arizona before the end of this year.
"Our goal is to deploy the world's safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality," said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Meanwhile, Toyota is trying to evolve from a pure automobile maker into a "mobility company," as are many of its industry peers, including General Motors and Ford in the U.S. That crusade has prodded decades-old automakers such as Toyota and GM to invest in and partner with technology companies working on self-driving cars while also opening up their own research hubs in Silicon Valley.
Besides allowing them to lean on each other's respective strengths, Toyota's deal with San Francisco-based Uber also will help the two companies spread out the cost of designing and building the complex systems, which use computers, cameras, radar and laser sensors to guide the self-driving vehicles.
Uber is turning to Toyota for help in autonomous vehicles five months after one of its self-driving cars ran over and killed a pedestrian crossing a dark street in Tempe, Arizona.
The March 18 crash prompted Uber to temporarily suspend its work on its self-driving car program while conducting a safety evaluation.
Authorities determined the sensors on Uber's self-driving car sensors spotted the pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, but the vehicle's automatic-braking function had been disabled in favor of a human backup driver. Tempe police said the driver was distracted and streaming a television show before the crash.
Uber had little choice but to find a self-driving car partner after the collision that killed Herzberg, said Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid.
"It's going to be tough for them to build consumer trust in whatever it is they're developing," he said. "I think that people will have a lot more trust in Toyota to do this the right way, to take due care and make sure everything is properly tested and evaluated."
Uber's expansion into self-driving cars suffered another setback last year after Waymo accused it of stealing its technology in an elaborate scheme . The case went through one week of a high-profile trial before Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in stock to settle the allegations without acknowledging wrongdoing.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) - A U.S. judge in Seattle blocked the Trump administration Monday from allowing a Texas company to post online plans for making untraceable 3D guns, agreeing with 19 states and the District of Columbia that such access to the plastic guns would pose a security risk.
The states sued to stop an agreement that the government had reached with Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, saying guidelines on how to print undetectable plastic guns could be acquired by felons or terrorists.
U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik extended a temporary restraining order, and his new decision will last until the case is resolved. He said Cody Wilson, owner of Defense Distributed, wanted to post the plans online so that citizens can arm themselves without having to deal with licenses, serial numbers and registrations.
Wilson has said that "governments should live in fear of their citizenry."
"It is the untraceable and undetectable nature of these small firearms that poses a unique danger," Lasnik said. "Promising to detect the undetectable while at the same time removing a significant regulatory hurdle to the proliferation of these weapons — both domestically and internationally — rings hollow and in no way ameliorates, much less avoids, the harms that are likely to befall the states if an injunction is not issued."
The State Department had reached the settlement with the company after the agency removed the 3D gun-making plans from a list of weapons or technical data that cannot be exported overseas.
The states argued that the federal agency didn't follow the law when it removed 3D guns from the munitions list. They said the government was supposed to notify Congress and provide a 30-day window before making a change to that list, but it did not.
Lasnik criticized the government for switching its position on the threat posed by the 3D gun-making plans.
Up until April, the government argued the distribution of the guidelines "posed a threat to world peace and the security and foreign policy of the United States," the judge said.
Despite those fears, the government decided that it only needed to restrict the international availability of firearms up to .50 caliber. That's when they reached a settlement with the 3D gun company.
There was no indication the government evaluated the unique characteristics of the plastic guns when it considered deleting that category of weapons from the prohibited list, the judge said.
"Nor is there any reasoned explanation for its change in position," Lasnik said.
The federal government declined to comment on the judge's ruling.
A lawyer with the U.S. Justice Department had argued against the injunction, saying possessing 3D plastic guns is already against the law, and the federal government is committed to enforcing that law.
But the judge said it wasn't enough.
"While the court appreciates the earnestness with which this commitment was made at oral argument, it is of small comfort to know that, once an undetectable firearm has been used to kill a citizen of Delaware or Rhode Island or Vermont, the federal government will seek to prosecute a weapons charge in federal court while the state pursues a murder conviction in state court," Lasnik said.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson praised the ruling.
"Once again, I'm glad we put a stop to this dangerous policy," Ferguson said. "But I have to ask a simple question: why is the Trump administration working so hard to allow these untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns to be available to domestic abusers, felons and terrorists?"
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a pro-gun control group that has aggressively fought the online release of the gun plans, praised the judge's ruling "as a tremendous victory for the American public."
Avery Gardiner, co-president of the group, said 3D-printed guns "represent a supreme threat to our safety and security, and we are grateful that Judge Lasnik recognized it as such."
The states suing are Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) - Robi has recently introduced an offer for all mobile internet users of the country.
A Robi press release said on Tuesday that its ‘Double Dhamaka’ offer includes 4GB welcome data bonus valid for 30 days to all customers joining Robi’s largest 4.5G network with a 4G smartphone.
Be it Robi’s existing customers using its 3.5G service or any other service, or be it the subscriber of any other operator, as long as they join Robi’s 4.5G service with a 4G smartphone, they can avail this offer.
For a period of six months after joining Robi’s 4.5G network with a 4G smartphone, every time the customer will purchase an internet package worth more than Tk 100, they will get the same volume of data as bonus with the same validity. Customers can avail this double internet bonus offer as many times they like, during the first six months.
Commenting on the offer, Robi’s Vice President, Media, Communication and Sustainability, Ekram Kabir said: “We have created by far the largest 4.5G network of the country with more than 7,000 4.5G sites.”
He added, “Celebrating this amazing milestone, we invite the digital netizens of the country to experience movies and video streaming, social networking, and more on Robi’s strong 4.5G network, through their 4G smartphones. I am sure tech-savvy data users will find this offer too good to miss out on.”
Dhaka, Aug 26 (UNB) - Telenor Group has been recognised by Fortune magazine for its work to bring affordable health care to the mass market through its mobile health service Tonic in Bangladesh.
The globally renowned business magazine has included Telenor in its fourth annual “Change the World” list of companies that are doing well by doing good, said a press release on Sunday.
The companies on this year’s “Change the World” list hail from 19 different countries.
Telenor Group has made it into the list for its digital health service Tonic, which is making health service accessible and affordable for the customers of its Bangladeshi operation Grameenphone Ltd, the release said.
“To be recognised by Fortune as a company that contributes to changing the world is a testament to how Telenor uses its vast footprint and the power of connectivity for social good, to create shared value,” said Sigve Brekke, President & CEO of Telenor Group.
Speaking on the occasion, Grameenphone CEO Michael Foley said, “The World Health Organization estimates that more than 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year due to medical costs and more than 400 million people lack access to basic health services. Yet in many places – particularly Telenor markets like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar – life-changing primary care and health insurance remain out of reach. Tonic can play an effective role in resolving this situation.”
Boston, Aug 26 (AP/UNB)- A piece of computer history that helped launch a trillion dollar company is hitting the auction block.
A fully functioning Apple-1 being auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction in September is one of only 60 or so remaining of the original 200 that were designed and built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 and 1977.
It was restored to its original, operational state by Apple expert Corey Cohen. The system was operated without fault for approximately eight hours in a test. It even includes the original keyboard from the 1970s.
It shows the humble beginnings of Cupertino, California-based Apple, which recently became the world's first publicly traded company to be valued at $1 trillion.
The Apple 1 originally sold for about $666. It could get $300,000 or more at auction.