Do we really need smart homes?
Building trust with autonomous vehicles and Nintendo is switch-ing it up.
What’s New In Hardware:
- Toyota and Denso are collaborating to form a new company developing purpose-built chips for autonomous vehicles. (Reuters)
- Nintendo announced a cheaper version of its hit Nintendo Switch console. (Polygon)
- The amount of trust we give self-driving cars depends on how well they communicate what they’re doing to us humans. (Fast Company)
- Stacey Higginbotham wonders: Do we really need smart homes? (Stacey on IoT)
- Waymo is putting WiFi into its driverless taxi prototypes in Phoenix to see if it helps people be more productive. (Fortune)
Offbeat Tidbits You Might’ve Missed:
- If we want robots to get better at picking things up, we need to make objects that are hard to grab on purpose. It’s time for adversarial objects. (IEEE Spectrum)
- A 3D-printed prosthetic hand can be taught to recognize nerve signals for particular movements much more quickly with machine learning. (MIT Technology Review)
- A Bluetooth-connected hair straightener turns out to be easily hackable, which brings up a good question: why make a Bluetooth-connected hair straightener in the first place? (TechCrunch)
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- Volkswagen has announced that they intend to invest $2.6 billion into self-driving vehicle startup and Ford’s autonomous car partner Argo AI. The two competitors will partner on electric and self-driving car technology, sharing costs on a global scale to move the industry’s disruptive transformation forward.
- Digital olfaction pioneer Aryballe Technologies has raised $6.96 million in a funding round co-led by Hyundai Motor Company and IFF, a global leader in taste, scent, and nutrition.
- Igloohome, a smart access company that sells a lock that enables homeowners to grant access to their homes remotely, has raised $15 million in funding. The round was co-led by Insignia Ventures Partners, Wavemaker Partners, and SEEDS Capital. They were joined by Kickstart Ventures, TH Capital, Pine Venture Partners, On Asset Management, InnoVen Capital, and several angel investors.
- Luminar, a Silicon Valley-based tech company developing high-performance lidar sensors for cars and trucks, has raised $100 million in funding. Investors include G2VP, Moore Strategic Ventures, LLC, Nick Woodman, The Westly Group, 1517 Fund / Peter Thiel, Canvas Ventures, Corning Inc, Cornes, Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Crescent Cove Advisors, and Octave Ventures.
- Quantum computing startup IQM has secured $13 million in seed funding. Investors include Matadero QED, Maki.vc, MIG Fonds, OpenOcean, Tesi, and Vito Ventures.
- San Francisco-based developer and supplier of small satellites Akash Systems has raised $14.5 million in a series A funding round led by Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, ACME Capital, Sriram Krishnan, and Correlation Ventures.
- Autonomous aerial robot developer Exyn Technologies has raised $16 million in series A funding. The round was led by Centricus, who were later joined by Yamaha Motors Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Corecam Family Office, Red and Blue Ventures, and IP Group.
- NeuroBlade, an Israeli startup building a processor for artificial intelligence applications, has secured $23 million in a series A funding round. Marius Nacht led the round. Intel Capital, StageOne Ventures, and Grove Ventures later joined the round.
- UK-based graphene technology startup Paragraf has secured $16 millionin a series A funding round led by Parkwalk. Paragraf will use this capital injection to bring their first graphene-based electronics products to market.
- PlanetiQ, a high-definition satellite-based weather forecasting and analytics company based out of Boulder, CO, has raised $18.7 million in series B funding. New Science Ventures and AV8 Ventures co-led the investment round with participation from several other new and earlier investors including Valo Ventures, Kodem Growth Partners, and Access Venture Partners.
- Micro-grid operator Powerhive has raised $9.3 million in series B funding. Powerhive chief executive Christopher Hornor said Toyota Tsusho participated in the latest round with a commitment to actively participate in an upcoming project connecting electricity to 20,000 families via solar power.
- Cisco has acquired Acacia Communications, a 10-year-old developer of hardware and software for high-speed fiber-optic networks — and of one of Cisco’s optical equipment suppliers — in a $2.6 billion deal. Acacia Communications will become part of Cisco’s Optical Systems and Optics group under its networking and security business to meet customer demand for more robust networks.
- A group of major global car manufacturers including BMW, Hyundai, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance have invested $100 million into Maniv Mobility, a four-year-old Israeli venture capital firm focused exclusively on mobility.
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