First off, Volvo has gone in halfsies with Autoliv to create a new software development subsidiary called Zenuity. Volvo and NVIDIA have announced that they’re teaming up with Zenuity to develop the next generation of self-driving vehicle systems which will be built on NVIDIA’s Drive PX AI module.
This is the same module that Tesla already uses and which both Audi and Toyota have begun developing on. The system stitches together data from its camera and radar inputs, then compares what it senses to a known high-definition map to automatically plot a safe course around oncoming obstacles. Volvo hopes to have its production vehicles using these self-driving systems available for sale by 2021.
NVIDIA also announced that it will be working with ZF and Hella, a pair of big name parts suppliers from Germany that produce vehicular camera and sensor systems, to develop a non-exclusive autonomous steering system. What’s more, NVIDIA hopes that integrating additional autonomous safety features like automatic braking will help increase the scores of AI-equipped vehicles taking the DOT’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) crash test safety certification.
This technology will help more than individual drivers. An increasing numbers of vehicles trading data with each other as they travel, why not have them talk to the infrastructure around them as well. “We’ll be able to project traffic patterns,” Danny Shapiro, Senior Director of Automotive at NVIDIA, said during a recent media briefing call. “We’ll be able to protect areas of potential congestion and really work with infrastructure, vehicles and navigation systems to optimize traffic flow and ultimately reduce congestion.”
“Looking through social media or websites or transit schedules, we’ll be able to detect trends and see what’s happening in communities and help people plan their journeys,” he added.
Braving the high seas to uncover buried treasure on a remote island is hard, dangerous work, but sometimes it comes easy: like when I came across a rare, leather-bound first edition of J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” on the gorgeous, luxury-gorged Greek isle of Santorini.
Finding the coveted old tome didn’t require fighting any orcs, but my loyal companions and I did embark on something of an unexpected journey before spotting the oh-so “precious” volume. The quest saw us climb straight up the island’s sheer volcanic cliffs, often holding on for dear life by only one hand … to a pole inside the crowded public bus transporting us from the port to the cliff-top city of Fira.
After the perilous climb to the top of the ancient volcanic caldera that formed the famously photogenic Santorini, we found ourselves thrown into the heat of a battle for Instagram supremacy, dodging clumsy swipes not of swords, but rather some form of modern sorcery called “selfie sticks.”
Nestled amid the crowds were many a tavern offering cool drinks and at least one quaint book shop in the basement of a side alley. The tiny space was more of a hobbit hole than a store. More sorcery was afoot within, for despite the summer swelter atop the Santorini caldera, the air inside had been magically “conditioned” to a cool state that comforted we weary travelers and preserved its ancient treasures.
Indeed, the very name of this boutique, Atlantis Books, suggested it to be a something of a hidden treasure itself. But once within, its most precious goods were displayed prominently: first editions by the likes of Hemingway, Orwell and a fellow named George Martin with the curious habit of claiming the middle initial ‘R” not once, but twice.
And there in the center of them all was the prize of every literary geek’s eye, be they man, elf or the smallest of hairy-footed heroes: a leather-bound copy of wordish wizard J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” from 1937.
But the manuscript itself was not destined to be the prize for completing this quest, for common travelers were we, unable to afford the 15,000 euro ($16,757, AU$21,100) price put upon the precious piece.
Instead, the photo alone shall have to suffice.
In the end, although I was not able to spirit away the treasure to my distant cave in a manner befitting of the gilded outline of Smaug upon its cover, I might venture to say I won the Instagram battle with its image, if only for one day.
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“Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription based original program service scheduled to begin in ’18,” a Vimeo spokesperson told THR. In November, the company asserted that it would spend “tens of millions” to acquire and develop original content for this subscription package.
“Vimeo has the once-in-a-generation opportunity to, following in Netflix’s footsteps, deliver compelling subscription viewing experiences for consumers in the market for pay TV,” CEO Joey Levin said in a shareholder letter late last year, noting that the site boasted 240 million monthly viewers. “If we can convert just a small portion of our audience, we have a very large business.”
In the end however, this strategy didn’t pan out. Vimeo’s long positioned itself as a fancy YouTube — a “a one-stop shop for creators to bypass the entire existing media infrastructure,” according to Levin. And while the company has produced some original content of note (specifically High Maintenance which eventually got picked up by HBO) making the jump to licensed content streaming simply didn’t make sense. Instead, Vimeo is reportedly refocusing on its creator community.
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Canon’s T6 is a dSLR for penny-pinchers
When it has to be cheap.
by Lori Grunin
Today’s deal is a rerun, but the very best kind: same product, even cheaper than last time. (Plus a totally new bonus deal, of course — skip down if you want to check that out immediately.)
I’m not really a camera guy. Actually, I totally dig cameras, I’ve just never been very good at photography. Maybe that’s because I’ve never really had the right tools.
Starting with, duh, a good camera. Sure, my phone does passable work, but certain situations — starting with anything that requires a zoom lens — demand a digital-SLR.
Like this one: Today only, and while supplies last, Meh has the Canon EOS Rebel T6 18-55mm dSLR kit for $344, plus $5 for shipping. The last time I shared this deal, it was $394. Meanwhile, the camera lists for $549 and would cost you $449 at Amazon.
Let me start by saying there’s some difference of opinion when it comes to the T6 (also known as the 1300D), which has been on the market for about a year. CNET’s Lori Grunin rated it 6.8 (out of 10), knocking its fairly minimal feature set and somewhat slow performance — while also praising its photo and video quality.
Over at Amazon, however, more than 200 buyers collectively rated it 4.7 stars out of 5. And that’s the same average score from over 130 Best Buy customers. This is not to say Lori’s review is somehow inaccurate, merely that the average dSLR buyer might have different priorities and expectations than a professional reviewer. And for those buyers, the T6 rocks.
The camera comes with an 18-55mm lens, which can be swapped for any number of other lenses should you so desire — but the included one gets the job done.
With it you can also shoot 1080p video, and with a lot more shooting options than you get from most phones.
Perhaps best of all, unlike last time, there’s no ambiguity regarding the warranty: It’s a straight-up one year from Canon.
Bonus deal: As I’ve said many times, Bluetooth speakers come in many shapes and sizes — but most of the shapes are roughly brick-like, and most of the sizes are “too big to fit in a pocket.”
Not much larger than the average mobile phone, the Slim really can slip into a pocket. A few things I especially like about it, at least on paper: It has a built-in kickstand, one that double as a stand for your phone, and color-changing LEDs that add a nice little disco vibe when ambient lighting is low.
There’s a line-in port for connecting non-Bluetooth sources and a TF (aka microSD) slot, the latter great for using this as a standalone jukebox, no external source required. (I don’t know, however, if there’s any kind of shuffle-play option, which is kind of crucial if you’re listening to a card-based music library.)
Finally, there’s the aforementioned FM radio. It’s a great thing to have, but there’s one bummer: You have to tune by ear, as there’s no way to see the frequency. You just seek from one station to the next.
User reviews: 4.1 stars out of 5, and they’re all valid ratings, according to FakeSpot. For 20 bucks out the door, I’m seriously liking this.
Using cameras and other optics, the Photonic Fence scans for pests within 100 metres, looking at each bug’s “form, velocity, acceleration and wing-beat frequency.” When a target has been recognized as being from the kill list, the Fence will shoot it with the laser, and the insect will be dead within 25 milliseconds. According to the company, the device can kill up to 20 insects per second, and can cover areas of up to 30 metres wide and 3 metres high — creating the so-called Fence in its name.
It’s not yet clear when the trial began nor when the results are expected, although the test was slated to start this summer. There’s still a ways to go before the Photonic Fence becomes available to individual farmers (nor corporations), not to mention us regular folks who want a good bug zapper for our balconies or porches. Still, pending the test results, it shouldn’t be too long before we can keep our plants and living areas safe from harmful pests.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has pulled off back-to-back Falcon 9 rocket launches and landings, a milestone that helps prove it’s up to the task of a more rapid pace of space flights.
A Falcon 9 rocket launched at 1:25 p.m. PT Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, delivering 10 satellites into orbit for the communications company Iridium Communications. The first stage of the rocket successfully landed minutes later.
That was just two days after a Falcon 9 rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carried a satellite for Bulgaria into orbit.
The private space company, whose ultimate goal is to get more people in space (and one day send a million of us to Mars), needed to show it could handle the pressure of frequent launches.
The launches weren’t suppose to occur within 48 hours of one another. But the BulgariaSat launch got pushed back from last weekend due to technical concerns.
The Falcon 9 launched Sunday was sporting an upgraded titanium hypersonic grid fin, which Musk tweeted did a good job of withstanding the heat of reentry.
“New titanium grid fins worked even better than expected,” he tweeted. “Should be capable of an indefinite number of flights with no service.”
Musk also posted this cool video showing a sped-up version of Sunday’s launch:
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