Lansing, Jan 23 (AP/UNB) — Google's self-driving car spinoff Waymo said Tuesday it will bring a factory to Michigan, creating up to 400 jobs at what it describes as the world's first plant "100 percent" dedicated to the mass production of autonomous vehicles.
The company plans to spend about $13.6 million to retrofit a to-be-determined manufacturing facility in the Detroit area. In exchange, it will get a state incentive grant worth up to $8 million that was approved Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board.
Waymo spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson said the company plans to hire up to 400 people to work at the factory, including engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators. She said Waymo is looking for a site and hopes to open the plant in the middle of this year. A memo from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. says Waymo will create 100 jobs, with the potential for up to 400, and it chose Michigan despite a "high level of interest" from states in the Midwest, South and Southwest.
The company integrates its self-driving system into vehicles it buys from automakers and is currently testing autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans in a preferred rider program for passengers in the Phoenix area, but with human backup drivers on board. It plans to expand the service to the San Francisco area but has not given a time frame. Waymo previously announced plans to buy 62,000 Pacificas and 20,000 I-Pace electric SUVs from Jaguar.
Waymo, which has a 20-employee facility in the Detroit suburb of Novi where it tests vehicles in snowy weather, will put the new factory in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties, where the auto industry dominates the economy with thousands of jobs from U.S. and foreign-based automakers as well as parts supply companies.
"As we begin to commercialize our business and vehicle supply grows, we're laying the foundation for a scalable, robust vehicle integration plan, starting in Michigan," the company said in a blog.
Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies autonomous vehicles, said the announcement shows that Waymo, which was spun off from Google and is part of parent company Alphabet Inc., has plans to integrate itself into the existing auto industry.
"You can't reinvent everything. Coming to Michigan in some ways is your complete recognition of that," Smith said. "Michigan is where you go in the United States to be fully immersed in automotive culture and industry."
Smith said Waymo will find abundant labor supply at a lower cost than in California, where it is now headquartered.
The announcement confirms that Waymo will use the Michigan factory to produce a large number of vehicles for ride-hailing services in many cities, Smith said. But it did not say when it will deploy the vehicles without human backup drivers.
"This is an announcement about a facility to be, and the cars that will come from that facility one day," Smith said. "What this is is that Waymo plans to eventually expand. They've been setting that foundation for a couple of years now."
Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Jeff Mason said Silicon Valley companies are increasingly interested in relocating to or expanding in the state. He cited KLA-Tencor's plan to open a $70 million semiconductor research-and-development center in Ann Arbor and Samsung SDI's plan to build a $60 million-plus electric vehicle battery pack plant in Auburn Hills.
Dhaka, Jan 21 (UNB) – Mobile phone users in Bangladesh will soon be able to know if their phones have been imported through the legal channel.
The telecom regulator has already made an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number database of phones that have been legally imported.
Now, the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has taken an initiative to introduce short code ‘16002’.
“With this, mobile users can learn whether their IMEI numbers are included in the BTRC database,” Zakir Hossain Khan, BTRC senior assistant director, told UNB over phone on Monday.
Once the BTRC database is in operation, users can have their stolen phones locked, if their IMEI numbers are included in the databank.
Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar will inaugurate the short code on Tuesday at the BTRC office.
Cape Canaveral, Jan 18(AP/UNB) — The moon, Earth and sun will line up this weekend for the only total lunar eclipse this year and next. At the same time, the moon will be ever so closer to Earth and appear slightly bigger and brighter than usual — a supermoon.
"This one is particularly good," said Rice University astrophysicist Patrick Hartigan. "It not only is a supermoon and it's a total eclipse, but the total eclipse also lasts pretty long. It's about an hour."
The whole eclipse starts Sunday night or early Monday, depending on location , and will take about three hours.
It begins with the partial phase around 10:34 p.m. EST Sunday. That's when Earth's shadow will begin to nip at the moon. Totality — when Earth's shadow completely blankets the moon — will last 62 minutes, beginning at 11:41 p.m. EST Sunday.
If the skies are clear, the entire eclipse will be visible in North and South America, as well as Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the French and Spanish coasts. The rest of Europe, as well as Africa, will have partial viewing before the moon sets.
During totality, the moon will look red because of sunlight scattering off Earth's atmosphere. That's why an eclipsed moon is sometimes known as a blood moon. In January, the full moon is also sometimes known as the wolf moon or great spirit moon.
So informally speaking, the upcoming lunar eclipse will be a super blood wolf — or great spirit — moon.
In the U.S., the eclipse will begin relatively early Sunday evening, making it easier for children to stay up and enjoy the show. Plus the next day is a federal holiday, with most schools closed. But the weather forecast for much of the U.S. doesn't look good.
Parents "can keep their kids up maybe a little bit later," said, Hartigan, who will catch the lunar extravaganza from Houston. "It's just a wonderful thing for the whole family to see because it's fairly rare to have all these things kind of come together at the same time."
"The good thing about this is that you don't need any special equipment," he added.
Asia, Australia and New Zealand are out of luck. But they had prime viewing last year, when two total lunar eclipses occurred.
The next total lunar eclipse won't be until May 2021.
As for full-moon supermoons, this will be the first of three this year. The upcoming supermoon will be about 222,000 miles (357,300 kilometers) away. The Feb. 19 supermoon will be a bit closer and one in March will be the farthest.
Dhaka, Jan 17 (UNB)- Huawei would never allow Chinese government to access customer data, even if Beijing requested it, the CEO and founder of the company said Tuesday.
In a rare sit down with international media, Ren Zhengfei addressed concerns raised by the US, which has warned that the company's equipment could allow the Chinese government to have a backdoor into a nation's telecommunications network.
Ren said he would “definitely” refuse any request from the Chinese government to access the company's user data. He said his longtime affiliation with China's ruling party would not affect his ability to fight against that same government if it requested user data.
"When it comes to cybersecurity and privacy protection we are committed to be sided with our customers. We will never harm any nation or any individual," Ren told the journalists assembled at Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen.
"Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information," Ren added. "The values of a business entity is customer first, is customer centricity.”
Dhaka, Jan 16 (UNB) - Mobile phone operator Robi on Wednesday conducted a non-commercial trial of Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) technology for the first time in Bangladesh.
This makes Robi the first operator to complete its readiness for offering voice service on its 4.5G network.
Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar attended the VoLTE trial run programme as the chief guest and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) acting chairman Md Jahurul Haque was present as a special guest.
The first-ever trial of VoLTE service was conducted through making a voice call by the minister to the acting the BTRC chairman.
Robi Managing Director and CEO Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Shahed Alam along with the company’s senior management were present at the programme held at the Robi Corporate Office located in Gulshan.
Robi’s VoLTE service delivered on its nation-wide 4.5G network will enable customers to make high definition voice calls with faster call set up time. With VoLTE technology, the mobile phone users can avail both voice and data service. VoLTE treats voice as just another application that rides on the LTE data network.