The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 was displayed at the 2014 International Commercial Vehicle show this month.
“In ten years’ time, trucks could be driving autonomously on motorways. Transport efficiency will increase, traffic will be safer for all road users and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be further reduced,” Mercedes said in a blog post. “Autonomous driving is already possible at realistic speeds and in realistic motorway traffic situations.”
Mercedes-Benz plans on connecting existing driver assistance systems found in consumer vehicles today with what it refers to as the enhanced sensors of a “Highway Pilot” system for long-haul trucking.
Because acceleration and braking is optimized, creating a constant flow of traffic, gas consumption and emissions of the Future Truck 2025 can be reduced, the company said. Transport times are also predictable.
The inside of the truck’s cab looks like a lounge. The driver’s seat rotates 45 degrees to allow autonomous driving away from the steering wheel, and instead of the speedometer and tachometer digital displays, monitors and tablets are placed in the cockpit.
Comparable to an autopilot in a plane, the truck’s radar sensors and dual-camera system allows the truck to drive without relying on any kind of “guiding infrastructure.”
“In spite of all this sophisticated technology, it’s the driver who remains in charge. And in no way will the Highway Pilot replace the driver. It simply makes his job easier, while increasing the overall safety,” Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler Trucks Division at Daimler AG, said in a video about the autonomous vehicle.
The Highway Pilot technology will relieve the driver from tedious driving as he gains time for other “tasks and communications,” the company said.
In autonomous mode, the truck controls its own speed and seeks optimal routes thorugh a navigation app. And because shipper and consignee are kept informed in real time about the location of a truck and its estimated arrival, the driver is relieved from the pressure of time, which remains “a large part of his workload,” the company said in a statement.
“Because this truck drives in an environment where driving is boring, monotonous and not very exciting, highway pilot takes over, and it never gets tired, it’s always 100% sharp, it’s never angry, it’s never distracted,” Bernhard said. “So this is a much safer system.”
Mercedes-Benz has already tested a Highway Pilot-equipped tractor trailer drive under real traffic conditions.
The second quarter of this year saw a number of firsts, Akamai noted in its 2014 State of the Internet Report.
For starters, the average global Internet connection speed rose above the arbitrary but noteworthy milestone of 4Mbps for the first time. The worldwide connection speed jumped 21% from the first to second quarter of the year, hitting 4.6Mbps, Akamai reported.
Despite seeing only a 4% quarterly increase, South Korea held onto its top spot in two key areas. It has the highest average bandwidth at 24.6Mbps, and it also has the highest percentage of its population on a broadband connection — 95%, which ties South Korea with Bulgaria.
Akamai also noted that an 18% quarterly growth for Hong Kong brought that country to an average connection speed of 15.7Mbps, pushing it ahead of Japan, which now matches Switzerland with an average connection speed of 14.9 Mbps.
The U.S. did not make the world’s top five or even the top 10 when it comes to Internet connection speed. Instead, the U.S. ranked #14 globally — behind East Asia and mixed among the Nordic countries — with an average connection speed of 11.4Mbps, an 8.9% increase over the first quarter of 2014.
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said he’s not surprised that global Internet connection speeds are up, saying it “just makes sense.
“There’s been an increase in fibre to the home and 4G mobile broadband. Technology has gotten better too, particularly with wireless speeds, and the carriers have had to increase bandwidth to meet the demand of the customers.”
Kerravala also is not surprised that the U.S. is not at the top of the pack when it comes to Internet connection speeds.
“The U.S. has been slow, primarily because it has a few carriers that dominate the market and that creates a lack of competitiveness,” he added. “I think the U.S. should be embarrassed about where they sit.”
Akamai also found that in the second quarter of this year online attacks originated from IP addresses in 161 different countries or regions. That’s 33 fewer than was found in the first quarter of this year.
By far the largest number of attacks (43%) came from China, according to the report, with Indonesia coming in second with 15%. The U.S. marked third place with 13% of all attacks, up slightly from 11% in the first quarter.
TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process (16FinFET or 16FF) is now in risk production. The companies collaborated to optimise ARM’s 64-bit ARMv8 processors designs for the new node.
The designs are now being optimised for TSMC’s improved 16FF+ process, which promises to deliver a 11% performance gain in the same power envelope for the A57 and a 35% reduction for the A53. The companies hope to finalise their work on 16FF+ optimisation by the end of the year.
The initial results for the first generation 16FF process are encouraging. The big Cortex A57 core manufactured in 16FF can achieve a sustained clock of 2.3GHz. It is backed by Cortex A53 cores running at the same clock and consuming an average of 75mW for most workloads.
Pete Hutton, executive VP and president of ARM product groups, said the joint effort will eventually transform end-user experiences across the next generation of consumer devices and enterprise hardware.
“This silicon proof point with ARM Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors demonstrates the additional benefits in performance and power efficiency that 16nm FinFET technology delivers to big.LITTLE implementations,” said Hutton.
Cliff Hou, VP of R&D at TSMC, said the company is proud to be the first foundry to validate an ARM big.LITTLE chip on 16nm technology. He said the collaboration with ARM will continue and the companies will strive to deliver market-leading SoCs for mobiles, servers and infrastructure applications using new nodes.
Oracle has outlined the future of Java at its Openworld conference in San Francisco, with a focus on the Internet of Things (IoT).
As part of Oracle’s annual Openworld event, the Javaone expo has seen the company present its ongoing investment in Java Standard Edition (SE) 8, as well as plans for version 9.
Among the latest additions are a new version of the Java Development Kit (JDK), which has reached version 20, and a preview of Project Jigsaw, which aims to develop a modular system for universal Java adoption across devices in a customisable fashion to reduce footprint.
“Oracle continues to heavily invest in the Java platform, and the record adoption of JDK 8 highlights the strength of the latest version, as well as the community’s ongoing support,” said Oracle VP of Java SE Development Georges Saab.
“From enterprise architectures to the Internet of Things, Java remains the world’s [number one] programming language. We look forward to working closely with the Java community as we continue to innovate across the Java SE 8 platform and prepare for Java SE 9.”
The event also introduced Glassfish Server Open Source Edition 4.1 to Java EE7, designed to make development easier and adding features, as Oracle aims to involve developers further in creating uses for Java. It will incorporate Netbeans 8.0.1 to enable faster app development.
Previews of Java 8 Enterprise Edition (EE) 8, slated for 2016, anticipate improved HTML5 support, along with a raft of features under development and awaiting ratification by the Java Community Process.
“Java Platform, Enterprise Edition, the industry standard for enterprise Java, continues to lead the industry with a tremendous amount of participation from user groups, organizations, industry experts, and individual developers,” said Oracle VP of Software Development Anil Gaur.
“This participation manifests itself through Glassfish Server Open Source Edition 4.1 as an implementation of the latest Java EE 7 standard, and also with the active involvement of the forthcoming Java EE 8 platform through the Adopt-a-JSR program.”
The biggest news comes with additions for Java Micro Edition 8.1. This is the fastest growing part of the Java ecosystem, as it lends itself to controlling IoT devices and other micro-technology.
Java ME Embedded 8.1 expands the availability of Java on ARM devices, adds to the communication and networking capabilities of devices and offers additional security measures.
Launched at the event as a developer preview, Java ME incorporates ARM embed, a platform within a platform for development of ARM based software, which Oracle believes will reduce fragmentation across the IoT infrastructure.
Java ME Embedded has been a winner for Oracle, with its latest version seeing over 70 percent faster uptake than its predecessor.
“The growth of the Internet of Things presents a wealth of business opportunities for organizations, but its true value cannot be unlocked without utilizing an open, crossindustry platform, said Oracle VP of Product Management Peter Utzschneider.
“With the introduction of Oracle Java ME Embedded 8.1, Oracle is further enabling customers and partners to develop highly functional, reliable, portable and secure solutions for all kinds of devices. As a result, organizations can reduce costs, improve product quality and speed time to market through a modern Java development platform that extends from the device to the data center.”
Oracle’s Openworld conference, one of the biggest events by a single organisation in the technology calendar, has already seen a number of announcements from Oracle.
This is the first time that founder Larry Ellison will not be there as Oracle’s CEO, having recently demoted himself to CTO in order to spend more time on his boat while he considers whether to proceed with legal action against Google over the Android mobile operating system.
Lenovo plans on rolling out new Yoga tablets and hybrids in time for the end-of-year holiday season, with actor and venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher having a hand in the design and development of the products.
The “innovative and stylish” Yoga products “will become very popular presents for the holiday season,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo’s CEO, during a call on Monday.
Lenovo is holding an event in London on Oct. 9 to announce the new products, with Kutcher joining the announcement by satellite. Kutcher holds the title of “product engineer” with Lenovo.
Product details weren’t shared, but hints have already started popping up on Lenovo’s website. One product on tap could be the Yoga 3 Pro, with a product page saying “Shhh. Can’t talk now.” The Yoga 3 Pro will succeed the Yoga 2 Pro laptop-tablet hybrid, which has a 13.3-inch screen attached to the base. That’s unlike other hybrid designs in which the screens are detachable.
Lenovo offers Yoga tablets and hybrids with screen sizes between 8 and 13.3 inches. The 8- and 10-inch Yoga tablets have Android, while the 11.6- and 13.3-inch hybrids have Windows.
Also on the way could be new Yoga tablets with different screen sizes and upgraded processors. Intel has started shipping new Core M chips based on the Broadwell architecture, which Lenovo has used in the new ThinkPad Helix announced earlier this month. The Yoga tablets with Android have been criticized for poor performance and could use processor upgrades.
Yuanqing’s comments were made on a call about Lenovo’s plans to soon complete the acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business for US$2.1 billion. The transaction is expected to close on Wednesday.
Lenovo is also expected to complete the acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $2.91 billion by the end of the year. Lenovo sells its smartphones mostly in China, Europe and Asia, and the Motorola Mobility acquisition will provide a pathway to the U.S. smartphone market.
Hardware will remain Lenovo’s key focus in the coming years, but the company is also building its software, services and security portfolio to go along with devices, Yuanqing said.
Database management firm Oracle has said that its new cloud service will match the price being offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Oracle confirmed the new competitive pricing strategy for its cloud offering at its OpenWorld conference.
Chairman Larry Ellison said Oracle’s cloud platform will “have the same pricing as Amazon or any other infrastructure provider.” He said the company’s new platform would include analytics, mobile, identity and social features.
Oracle’s switch to cloud services could also see the business improve efficiencies by running everything itself. Oracle’s cloud move has damaged the outfit’s bottom line, but Ellison’s successor as CEO, Safra Catz, believes the company is now in a good position to benefit from the migration.
“As the movement to the cloud grows, we expect this transition will affect our revenue to the positive,” she said. “These customers will essentially replace their software-support payments with a cloud subscription, which will mean substantially more revenue to Oracle.”
Oracle also introduced flash storage and data recovery products and its M7 microprocessor to speed up database software.
The move, the first announced by a major insurer, allows Humana customers to more easily manage fitness data and other personal health goals, the company said in a statement.
Humana’s wellness program, called HumanaVitality, rewards members for hitting these goals, which include being more active, eating better or losing weight, with items such as movie tickets and fitness equipment.
Apple’s HealthKit gathers data such as blood pressure and weight from various applications, enabling it to be viewed by consumers and doctors in one place. Its ease of use is expected to increase the data sharing between doctors and patients.
Apple delayed the launch of HealthKit earlier this month when it pulled back its iOS 8 operating system for iPhones and iPads. HealthKit and the new Humana application, which has about 3.8 million eligible members, launched lastFriday.
BlackBerry’s new qwerty Passport smartphone quickly sold out just hours after going on sale online last Wednesday, with another 200,000 back orders waiting in line, BlackBerry CEO John Chen proudly announced.
Chen didn’t indicate how many units were sold online, but said ShopBlackBerry.com sold out the Passport in six hours, with Amazon.com selling iout in 10 hours before customers began leaving online orders that had reached 200,000 as the day it debuted. The device has a price tag of $599 unlocked.
“That’s extremely good receptivity” for Passport, Chen said.
But that wasn’t Chen’s only good news in what he called a “very solid” second quarter that ended Aug. 30 with an earnings loss of $11 million, or 2 cents per share, compared to an 11-cent per share loss the previous quarter. Still, revenues were $916 million for the quarter, down from $966 million in the previous quarter, and well below the $1.5 billion reported for the same quarter a year ago.
Chen predicted profitability for BlackBerry by mid-year 2015, possibly in the first fiscal 2016 quarter that starts in March 2015. “You can see a progressively good trend going forward,” Chen said.
Chen said that large companies, especially in banking and government, are coming back to BlackBerry for its smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 software for security and management. They are coming for “stability,” he said.
“The product is broader and deeper and has history with most customers,” Chen added. “I have spoken to many executives and people are very interested in working with us. Our technology works and works well. Governments use it and major banks use it. We’re winning them back — knock on wood, I don’t want to be overconfident — and we’re starting to see that with very big companies.”
He also predicted more interest in BlackBerry once it launches its next operating system, BlackBerry 12, on Nov. 13 at an event in San Francisco.
The company posted a number of successes, including what it called a “normalized” use of cash of $36 million in the recent quarter, compared to $255 million in the prior quarter.
BMW research vehicles capable of highly automated driving have already undergone thousands of kilometers of trials on German autobahns. The project will now be expanded to include other large cities in China, BMW said on Monday.
“BMW is embarking on a further research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well,” the Munich-based automaker said in a statement.
“China’s fast-expanding urban centers present the engineers with challenges such as multi-level highways.”
Prototype cars developed in this project will initially be operated on urban highways in Beijing and Shanghai.
BMW needs a partner because cars with semi-autonomous driving functions need high-resolution maps to help measure precisely when they are in danger of hitting a curb, or missing a turn.
Cars currently have insufficient memory to store detailed maps of an entire country, so automakers need to team up with telecoms and internet providers to help autonomous vehicles download detailed maps on the go.
Baidu operates China’s largest search engine and is also a provider of map services and cloud services.
Airline passengers traveling on European airline flights will be able to leave their cell phones and other mobile gadgets on throughout the entire flight, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said on Friday.
European airlines can allow any kind of electronic devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones to remain switched on for the entire trip without having to use the airplane mode. Switching to airplane mode was mandatory until now.
“This is the latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer ‘gate-to-gate’ telecommunication or WiFi services,” EASA said in a news release.
It is up to the airline to decide whether to allow the use of electronic devices. In order to do so, they will have to go through an assessment to ensure the aircraft systems are not affected by device transmission signals in any way.
However, to ensure safety on board, passengers will likely be asked by the cabin crew to stow their devices during taxi on the runway and take-off, an EASA spokesman said, adding that airlines can still set rules on when devices can be used.
Oracle has released its version of Openstack for Oracle Linux, its distribution of the Openstack cloud framework integrated with Oracle Linux and Oracle VM Server virtualisation, providing customers with increased choice and interoperability for building cloud infrastructure.
Available as a free download from Oracle’s Public Yum Server and the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN), Oracle’s Openstack build installs on top of Oracle Linux and allows users to run virtual machines using any guest operating system supported by Oracle VM Server, including Microsoft Windows, Oracle Solaris and other versions of Linux.
The platform was previewed as a beta release in May, but with the general availability of Oracle Openstack for Oracle Linux 1.0, the firm is now providing production Openstack support to Oracle Linux and Oracle VM customers, Oracle said.
While the beta was based on the Havana release of Openstack, the production release is based on the most up-to-date Icehouse release, along with many improvements such as a simplified install process and bug fixes.
Writing on Oracle’s Linux blog Ronen Kofman, director of Product Management for Oracle Virtualization and Openstack, said the firm’s goal is to help develop Openstack into an enterprise grade solution capable of operating an entire data centre running all types of enterprise workloads.
“We would like Openstack to become a first-class solution and the cloud operating system of choice for customers of any size,” he said.
To this end, Oracle’s Openstack build provides high-availability support for Openstack services through Oracle Clusterware, which is included with Oracle Linux Support subscriptions.
Oracle Openstack for Oracle Linux also includes the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Cinder plugin, which provides customers with an enterprise-grade storage option and integration with MySQL Enterprise Edition.
This release allows customers to build a highly scalable, multi-tenant infrastructure environment and integrate with the rich ecosystem of plugins and extensions available for Openstack, Oracle said.
Support for Oracle Openstack for Oracle Linux is available as part of the Oracle Linux and Oracle VM Premier Support at no additional cost.
RedHat has announced the Fedora 21 Alpha release for Fedora developers and any brave users that want to help test it.
Fedora is the leading edge – some might say bleeding edge – distribution of Linux that is sponsored by Red Hat. That’s where Red Hat and other developers do new development work that eventually appears in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other Red Hat based Linux distributions, including Centos, Scientific Linux and Mageia, among others. Therefore, what Fedora does might also appear elsewhere eventually.
The Fedora project said the release of Fedora 21 Alpha is meant for testing in order to help it identify and resolve bugs, adding, “Fedora prides itself on bringing cutting-edge technologies to users of open source software around the world, and this release continues that tradition.”
Specifically, Fedora 21 will produce three software products, all built on the same Fedora 21 base, and these will each be a subset of the entire release.
Fedora 21 Cloud will include images for use in private cloud environments like Openstack, as well as AMIs for use on Amazon, and a new image streamlined for running Docker containers called Fedora Atomic Host.
Fedora 21 Server will offer data centre users “a common base platform that is meant to run featured application stacks” for use as a web server, file server, database server, or as a base for offering infrastructure as a service, including advanced server management features.
Fedora 21 Workstation will be “a reliable, user-friendly, and powerful operating system for laptops and PC hardware” for use by developers and other desktop users, and will feature the latest Gnome 3.14 desktop environment.
Those interested in testing the Fedora 21 Alpha release can visit the Fedora project website.
General Motors Co has named an engineer to serve as its first cybersecurity chief as the No. 1 U.S. automaker and its rivals are starting to focus on how to better secure their vehicles against hackers.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker promoted manager Jeff Massimilla to the post as part of an eight-month review of its product design and engineering, said GM Vice President of Global Product Development Mark Reuss.
“If you look at the technology…as we put semi-autonomous and autonomous systems into vehicles, we have to be able to look at this at a very very critical systems level and do it defect-free for the customer,” Reuss said. “So that’s the competitive advantage we’re trying to really put in place for General Motors.”
Vehicles rely on tiny computers to manage everything from engines and brakes to navigation, air conditioning and windshield wipers. Security experts say it is only a matter of time before malicious hackers are able to exploit software glitches and other vulnerabilities to try to harm drivers.
Security researchers in recent years have uncovered vulnerabilities in those systems that they say make cars susceptible to potentially dangerous attacks.
For example, at last year’s Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek exposed methods for attacking the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape. In August of this year they published a list of the world’s “most hackable” cars.
A group of well-known hackers and security professionals in August sent an open letter to GM and other automakers asking them to implement basic guidelines to defend cars from cyber attacks.
The non-profit group, known as “I am the Calvary” has suggested that carmakers adopt a five-part cyber-safety program to make their products less susceptible to attacks by hackers.
Egil Juliussen, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said that the move reflects the increasing importance of cybersecurity to the industry.
Last month, the FBI warned healthcare providers to guard against cyber attacks after one of the largest U.S. hospital operators, Community Health Systems Inc, said Chinese hackers had broken into its computer network and stolen the personal information of 4.5 million patients.
Security experts say cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry, which has many companies still reliant on aging computer systems that do not use the latest security features.
“As attackers discover new methods to make money, the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit,” said Dave Kennedy, an expert on healthcare security and CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. “Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud.”
Interviews with nearly a dozen healthcare executives, cybersecurity investigators and fraud experts provide a detailed account of the underground market for stolen patient data.
The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information. Fraudsters use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold, or they combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers, according to experts who have investigated cyber attacks on healthcare organizations.
Medical identity theft is often not immediately identified by a patient or their provider, giving criminals years to milk such credentials. That makes medical data more valuable than credit cards, which tend to be quickly canceled by banks once fraud is detected.
Stolen health credentials can go for $10 each, about 10 or 20 times the value of a U.S. credit card number, according to Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at PhishLabs, a cyber crime protection company. He obtained the data by monitoring underground exchanges where hackers sell the information.
ARM has unveiled a 32-bit Cortex-M processor for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, promising to double the compute and digital signal processing (DSP) capability of its present microcontroller units (MCUs).
ARM said that the Cortex-M7 single computer chip will power high-end embedded applications used in next generation vehicles, connected devices, and smart homes and factories.
“The addition of the Cortex-M7 processor to the Cortex-M series allows ARM and its partners to offer the most scalable and software-compatible solutions possible for the connected world,” said ARM CPU group GM Noel Hurley. “The versatility and new memory features of the Cortex-M7 enable more powerful, smarter and reliable microcontrollers that can be used across a multitude of embedded applications.”
The Cortex-M7 processor achieves a performance score of five Coremark/MHz, ARM claims, which the firm says allows the Cortex-M7 to deliver a combination of high performance and digital signal control functionality that will enable MCU silicon makers to use in it highly demanding embedded applications while keeping development costs low.
Launching with early licensees such as Atmel, Freescale and ST Microelectronics, The Corex-M7 is expected to be used in smart control systems employed in a range of applications such as motor control, industrial automation, advanced audio, image processing, a variety of connected vehicle applications and other IoT devices.
Features of the Cortex-M7 include: a six stage, superscalar pipeline delivering 2,000 Coremarks at 400MHz in a 40LP process; AXI interconnect supporting 64-bit transfer and integrated optional caches for instruction and data allowing efficient access to large external memories and powerful peripherals; and tightly coupled memory interfaces for rapid response.
ARM said that the updates in the new chip of faster processing of audio and image data and voice recognition will be immediately apparent to users.
“The core also provides the same C-friendly programmer’s model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors. Ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration from any existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7,” ARM claimed. “System designers can therefore take advantage of extensive code reuse which in turn offers lower development and maintenance costs.”
ARM said the Cortex-M7 could be available in devices as early as next year.
Earlier this month, ARM announced that it signed 50 licensing agreements with silicon partners to fab chips based on its 64-bit ARMv8-A processor, claiming it has seen growing momentum for the architecture.
A total of 27 companies signed agreements for the company’s ARMv8-A technology in September, including all of the silicon vendors selling application processors for smartphones plus most of those targeting enterprise networking and servers.