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Honda Will Use GM's Self-Driving Technology, Invest $750 Million In Cruise Startup

Slashdot - Thu, 2018-10-04 02:05
Honda announced today that it is investing $750 million in Cruise, the self-driving car startup whose majority shareholder is General Motors. The automotive company is also planning to invest $2 billion over the next 12 years to develop and manufacture self-driving cars based on Cruise's software. Ars Technica reports: Honda has been working on autonomous vehicles since at least 2015, but progress has been slow. In 2015, the company said it hoped to have a partially self-driving car ready by 2020 but that a fully self-driving car won't be ready until the 2030s. In 2017, Honda said it was aiming to offer freeway-only self-driving capabilities in 2020 and then reach "level 4" capability -- cars that are fully self-driving, but only in certain locations and weather conditions -- by 2025. That compares unfavorably to Waymo, which is planning to launch a level 4 taxi service this year. Cruise is aiming to launch a level 4 taxi service next year. Honda's new plan is to build self-driving cars based on Cruise's hardware and software designs. So far, Cruise has focused on modifying the Chevy Bolt for autonomous capabilities. But this new Honda vehicle will be designed from the ground up for autonomous operation.

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Toys R Us Cancels Bankruptcy Auction, Plans To Revive Brand

Slashdot - Thu, 2018-10-04 01:25
Toys "R" Us may not be dead after all. According to Reuters, "The top lenders of Toys "R" Us have decided to cancel the bankruptcy auction of its brand name and other intellectual property assets and instead plan to revive the Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us brand names." From the report: The bankrupt retailer's debtors aim to open a new Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us branding company that maintains existing global license agreements and can invest and develop new retail shops. The lenders also plan to expand its international presence and further develop its private brands business. The bids were not superior to the plan to revive the brand as it did not offer "probable economic recovery" to creditors as well as benefits to stakeholders who would maintain the brands under the new independent U.S. business, the court filing showed. Under the intellectual property auction, the company had planned to sell its assets, including the brand names of Toys "R" Us, Babies "R" Us, registry lists, website domains, Geoffrey the Giraffe and other assets. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September last year, but later said it would sell or close all 800 of its U.S. stores.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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California cracks down on Internet of Crap passwords with new law to stop the botnets

TheRegister - Thu, 2018-10-04 01:01
It's good news, but overall a wasted opportunity

Anyone manufacturing an internet-connected device in California will, from 2020, have to give it a unique password in an effort to increase overall online security.…

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New Autonomous Farm Wants To Produce Food Without Human Workers

Slashdot - Thu, 2018-10-04 00:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Iron Ox isn't like most robotics companies. Instead of trying to flog you its technology, it wants to sell you food. As the firm's cofounder Brandon Alexander puts it: "We are a farm and will always be a farm." But it's no ordinary farm. For starters, the company's 15 human employees share their work space with robots who quietly go about the business of tending rows and rows of leafy greens. Today Iron Ox is opening its first production facility in San Carlos, near San Francisco. The 8,000-square-foot indoor hydroponic facility -- which is attached to the startup's offices -- will be producing leafy greens at a rate of roughly 26,000 heads a year. That's the production level of a typical outdoor farm that might be five times bigger. The opening is the next big step toward fulfilling the company's grand vision: a fully autonomous farm where software and robotics fill the place of human agricultural workers, which are currently in short supply. Iron Ox uses software, dubbed "The Brain," to watch over the farm and monitor nitrogen levels, temperature, and robot location. Alexander hopes to automative every process of the farm, but human workers are currently needed to help with seeding and processing the crops. He cites the shortage of agricultural workers and the distances that fresh product currently has to be shipped for reasons why we need automated farming. "The problem with the indoor [farm] is the initial investment in the system," says Yiannis Ampatzidis, an assistant professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Florida. "You have to invest a lot up front. A lot of small growers can't do that." Currently, Iron Ox is sending the food it produces to a local food bank and to the company salad bar.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Clouds gather as Cloudera and Hortonworks settle on uneven merger

TheRegister - Thu, 2018-10-04 00:34
$5bn deal sends stock market Hadoop over heels

The big data market became a little less competitive on Wednesday when two of the biggest players, Cloudera and Hortonworks, agreed to merge.…

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