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Is Google Home Vulnerable To A BlueBorne Bluetooth Hack

November 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon Echo and Google Home devices are vulnerable to attacks via the BlueBorne Bluetooth vulnerability that was first disclosed back in September.

Security firm Armis said this week that BlueBorne, a Bluetooth-based attack vector that was initially reported as exploitable on phones and PCs with an active Bluetooth connection, is now setting its sights on digital AI assistants.

The firm said that both the Amazon Echo and Google Home can be exploited using existing BlueBorne vulnerabilities (of which there are eight in total). In the case of the Amazon Echo, those include CVE-2017-1000251 and CVE-2017-1000250, while the Google Home vulnerable to CVE-2017-0785.

Armis notes that BlueBorne represents the first “severe” over-the-air vulnerability that affects the Amazon Echo.

“Given that airborne attacks are virtually invisible to traditional security solutions, a hacker only needs to exploit one device to penetrate further into a network or spread to other devices,” it warned.

Armis CEO Yevgeny Dibrov said: “Burgeoning demand for digital personal assistants is expanding the avenues by which attackers can infiltrate consumers’ lives to steal personal information and commit fraud.

“Consumers and businesses need to be aware how their devices are connecting via Bluetooth, and the networks they may be accessing, in order to take security precautions to protect their information.”

There’s some good news to come out of this, though, as Armis disclosed the vulnerabilities both to Amazon and Google ahead of time, and both have pushed out updates to their respective digital assistants. 

Amazon said in a statement: “A fix has already started rolling out for this. Customer trust is important to us and we take security seriously. Customers do not need to take any action as their devices will be automatically updated with the security fixes.

Google added: “Users do not need to take any action. We automatically patched Google Home several weeks ago, and neither Google nor Armis found evidence of this attack in the wild.

“As always, we appreciate researchers’ efforts to help keep all users safe.”

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Waze Carpool App Looks To Aid Hurricane Harvey Victims

September 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Texans and Louisiana residents affected by Hurricane Harvey can now help each other get around for free with the Waze Carpool app.

Waze announced its carpool app, which usually connects commuters heading to work with a ride, will be available in parts of Texas and Louisana that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. If people have a car with an open seat available, they’ll be able to offer it to other Waze Carpool users who are heading in the same direction. Similarly, people without transportation can request a ride, and they’ll be matched up with an empty seat.

Waze has also set up a Facebook Group to help work together to overcome the loss of 1 million cars and 60,000 damaged structures. Waze is also asking app users to assist their real-time editors in keeping the map up-to-date by calling out road closures, hazards and traffic as it occurs.

Julie Mossler, a spokesperson for Waze, said it’s too early to know if it’s necessary or possible to open up the carpool app in Florida for Hurricane Irma.

Nissan Launches Revamped, Longer Range Leaf Electric Vehicle

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nissan Motor Co Ltd has unveiled a revamped Leaf electric vehicle (EV), going head-to-head with Tesla Inc’s Model 3 and hoping to blunt criticism of limited driving ranges undermining EVs’ mass-market appeal.

The automaker said it aims to “double, even triple” annual sales of the previous incarnation, jump-starting demand in major markets such as the United States, and packing new technologies to make up for a shorter driving range than rival offerings.

“If it’s successful, the Leaf will be a major part of the portfolio of Nissan,” Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa said at a launch for the new version of the world’s best-selling battery-powered car. “EVs will no longer be a niche product.”

The car, on sale in Japan from Oct. 2 and elsewhere in early 2018, can run for 150 miles (241 kilometers) on a single charge according to U.S. regulator estimates, up from its predecessor’s 107 miles due to a bigger, 40 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery.

Prices in Japan will start from 3.15 million yen ($28,992).

 The launch comes after luxury electric car maker Tesla made its first foray into the Leaf’s more affordable price band in July with its $35,000, 220-mile Model 3. Tesla has said it has received half a million orders for the Model 3, indicating the challenge Nissan has in preserving the Leaf’s number-one rank.

Nissan, whose first Leaf was among the first mass-market EVs, has given its marquee model a sporty facelift drawing on its more mainstream designs including the Micra and Rogue, in an effort to dispel the image of EVs being only for the affluent and environment-conscious.

The mid-sized car comes equipped with Nissan’s latest automated functions including single-lane highway driving and self-parking, along with its combined accelerate and brake “e-pedal”.

“The pricing is flat, (yet) we have a full model change… You have autonomous drive technology, a new battery, new powertrain. How can this be unattractive to a young customer?” said Ivan Espinosa, vice president of global product planning.

But for all the improvements, analysts said current EV driving ranges are too short to lure a meaningful number of drivers away from conventional cars, particularly in the U.S. where gasoline prices are historically low.

“Until we see a significant improvement in range and/or economics that feed through to a rise in gasoline prices, EV buyers will be buying for environmental or altruistic reasons,” said Janet Lewis, head of Asia transportation research at Macquarie Securities. “It’s still a very, very niche market.”

Siemens Strengthen Automotive Push With Tass Acquisition

August 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

German industrial group Siemens said it will acquire Dutch self-driving software specialist Tass International for an undisclosed sum to strengthen its automotive business.

Tass makes software that can simulate complex traffic scenarios, validate autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance systems and replicate the impact of a car crash on a human body.

It has annual turnover of around 27 million euros ($32.3 million) and around 200 employees.

“Tass International is a proven leader in both integrated safety and autonomous driving, two fields of engineering that are increasingly important for the industry,” Siemens’ Digital Factory unit Chief Executive Jan Mrosik said in a statement.

Siemens said it would combine Tass’s software with its own advanced simulation products as well as electronic design capabilities from recently acquired Mentor Graphics.

Siemens bought Mentor Graphics for $4.5 billion earlier this year. It was its biggest industrial software acquisition.

Tesla Developing Self-driving Electric Truck

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla Inc is working on a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the car company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters.

Meanwhile, California officials are meeting with Tesla on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing toward real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.

After announcing intentions a year ago to produce a heavy-duty electric truck, Musk tweeted in April that the semi-truck would be revealed in September, and repeated that commitment at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June, but he has never mentioned any autonomous-driving capabilities.

Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture.

Several Silicon Valley companies developing autonomous driving technology are working on long-haul trucks. They see the industry as a prime early market for the technology, citing the relatively consistent speeds and little cross-traffic trucks face on interstate highways and the benefits of allowing drivers to rest while trucks travel.

Some companies also are working on technology for “platooning”, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely. If trucks at the back of the formation were able to automatically follow a lead vehicle, that could cut the need for drivers.

Silicon Valley startup Peloton Technology, for example, is working with several truck makers including Volvo on its platooning system, which it sees as a precursor to autonomy.

GM, Uber Team Up On Maven Ride-sharing Program

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

General Motors Co  announced that it is testing its car-sharing operation, Maven, in Australia through a pilot program with ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc.

The leasing agreement will allow Uber drivers to rent cars produced by GM’s Australian manufacturer GM Holden, the company said.

“We are testing the adoption of one Maven product – Maven Gig – in Australia through a pilot program in Sydney renting Holden cars to Uber drivers,” Sean Poppitt, communications director at GM Holden, said in a statement.

GM’s Maven Gig program is aimed at helping drivers rent a car on demand for independent gigs such as package delivery, food or grocery delivery, and ridesharing, at a time when more people are expected to take up freelance work.

It is currently operational in San Diego and set to be launched in San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year, GM said in May.

GM announced a similar North American partnership with Uber in November last year.

A spokesman for Uber was not immediately available for comment.

Waze’s iOS App Allows User To Customize Voice Prompts

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

“In five hundred feet turn right.”

Sometimes a direction that makes sense on paper can be confusing on the road. But that’s OK because the Google-owned Waze is now letting iOS users record their own personalised directions.

You can access the Voice Recorder feature in Waze’s advanced settings by hitting “Sound & voice.” Tap “Voice directions” and you’ll be given the option to record a new voice. Your custom voice pack comes with a link you can share with friends, family and everyone on the internet.

Bought by Google in 2014 for $1 billion, Waze is a community-powered mapping and navigation app that gives you real-time traffic information and road alerts. The Voice Recorder feature was released on Android last month. And in March it introduced integration with Spotify.

Red Digital Cinema Announces 3D Smartphone

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Red Digital Cinema Camera Co. said that it will be offering what it described as the “world’s first holographic media machine,” a smartphone with 3D image capabilities.

Red, known for its professional high-definition cameras used for filming movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hobbit, said its new Hydrogen One Media Machine smartphone will ship in the first quarter of 2018.

The Hydrogen One Media Machine has a 5.7-in “retina-riveting” holographic display, runs Google’s Android OS and incorporates a new high-speed data bus and an “ever-expanding modular component system.”

What the company called “nanotechnology” will allow the smartphone to seamlessly switch between traditional 2D content, holographic multiview content, 3D content and interacting games, which can be viewed in both landscape and portrait modes.

“Wearable displays not spoken here,” the company stated in a press release. “It is no longer necessary to carry (or charge) another device to enjoy multi-dimensional content.”

Red said it has also created its own file type, called “Hydrogen 4-View content.” Like Apple’s iCloud service, video and photos will automatically be stored via the company’s Red Channel, which also users to stream holographic games and movies.

The company also created a proprietary firmware algorithm that converts stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio. “Think 5.1 on your headphones,” the company stated in its marketing material.

Because of its modular design, the smartphone will be able to incorporate future attachments for shooting higher-quality motion and holographic still images. The smartphone will also integrate into the Red camera program, enabling it to work with the company’s Scarlet, EPIC and Weapon line of 8K cameras to act as a user interface and monitor.

The Hydrogen One will come with a USB-C cable and charger and an expandable micro SD card slot.

The Hydrogen One comes unlocked and with a steep price tag: $1,195 for the “Aluminum” model, and $1,595 cost for the “Titanium” version.

Volvo Enlists Nvidia For Self-driving Car Technology

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Volvo Cars and Swedish car safety supplier Autoliv have team up with U.S. firm Nvidia Corp, best known for its graphics technology in computer games, to develop software systems for self-driving cars.

A joint venture between Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holdings, and Autoliv will work with NVIDIA to develop systems that use artificial intelligence to recognize objects around vehicles, anticipate threats and navigate safely.

The venture set up last year, called Zenuity, will provide Volvo Cars with self-driving software which Autoliv will also be able to sell to other carmakers.

Volvo said it aims to have almost fully autonomous cars for sale by 2021.

Volvo has been using Nvidia’s artificial intelligence systems in a pilot of semi-autonomous vehicles in its home town Gothenburg in southern Sweden since the start of the year.

Nvidia, which also has partnerships with carmakers Toyota, Audi and Mercedes, is among the more popular technology partners in the self-driving car race.

German carmaker BMW has joined forces with U.S. chipmaker Intel and Mobileye, the Israeli vision system and mapping expert, to develop a self-driving platform, which is targeted for production in 2021.

U.S. parts maker Delphi Automotive and tire maker Continental has since joined the tie-up.

In April, Germany’s Daimler formed a similar alliance with supplier Robert Bosch  to speed development of self-driving vehicles.

Are Connected Cars On The Rise

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Demand for connected cars has been rising and the type of vehicles is expected to account for 29.1 per cent of overall car shipments in 2017 and by 2035, according to beancounters at Fuji Keizai.

In a new report the analyst think that by 2035 90 per cent of cars shipped will be equipped with Internet connectivity. It is pretty likely, and so far in the future that most people will have forgotten about the prediction by then anyway.

Car vendors have already started pushing Internet of Things (IoT) service system for their vehicles such as Toyota’s T-Connect, BMW’s Connected Drive and Ford’s Car-Net-App-Connect.

Connected cars using embedded communication modules will enjoy better growth than models using tethered-type and other-type of communication modules, the outfit claimed.

A tethered-type communication module requires an external device such as a smartphone to connect to the Internet, while an embedded one can directly connect to the Internet via its built-in Sim card support.

One of the key events for next-generation IoT for cars will be the development 5G networks among communication device and component makers is expected to accelerate in order to satisfy high-speed transmission demand from the new IoT infotainment systems.

Courtesy-Fud

U.S. Congress Working On Federal Legislation For Self-driving Cars

June 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The U.S. Congress is developing national self-driving vehicle legislation that may replace state-by state rules and make it easier for automakers to test and deploy the technology, senior U.S. House and Senate lawmakers told Reuters on Tuesday.

The chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee said he planned to unveil a package of legislation to overhaul federal rules governing self-driving vehicles.

“We’re getting very close. I think it’s a good package. We’ve put a lot of work into it,” Representative Greg Walden of Oregon said in an interview, adding that there was “good bipartisan agreeement” and he hoped to unveil and take up the package in the next month or two.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, is also working on a legislative self-driving proposal with Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat. “We’re not there yet but we are getting closer,” Thune said.

Thune and Walden spoke to Reuters on Tuesday after getting a ride in a self-driving Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG.

Companies such as Alphabet Inc and Ford Motor Co are aggressively pursuing automated technologies and want unified federal regulations to replace outdated rules and make it simpler to develop and eventually sell the technology across the country.

This spring, Republican staff drafted a summary of 16 potential legislative proposals on federal reforms and regulations that they circulated to automakers and which was seen by Reuters.

Among proposals under consideration is one to allow the U.S. Transportation Department to exempt up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles from current safety standards, which were written on the assumption responsibility for a car’s operation rested with the human driver.

The existing motor vehicle safety standards bar the sale of vehicles without steering wheels and gas pedals, for example. Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit has called for those rules be changed.

Another proposal would prohibit a state from restricting testing by a manufacturer of up to 250 vehicles and comes as automakers have sparred with California over revisions to its self-driving car testing rules.

Thune said he planned to hold a hearing on June 14 about self-driving car issues but did not put a specific timetable on introducing legislation. He said he wanted to avoid a “patchwork” of regulations from 50 different states on self-driving cars and look at cybersecurity and other issues.

“The key thing is to make sure we stay in the lead on the innovation that there aren’t unnecessary roadblocks in the way, balancing that with safety,” Walden said.

On Monday, the U.S. Transportation Department said it would unveil revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, responding to automakers’ calls for regulations to sanction costly efforts to put autonomous vehicles on the road.

The voluntary guidelines would provide direction to states on self-driving cars as Congress works to set more permanent rules to oversee autonomous vehicles. But legislation might not be approved this year and states and automakers are eager for guidance from regulators in the interim.

Vehicle crashes annually kill more than 35,000 people on U.S. roads and injure 2.4 million.

Walden said the goal was to get self-driving cars on the roads in big numbers so in a generation people would say: “‘What a bunch of barbarians – they drove themselves? Are you kidding me? And look at how many died every year and they thought that was acceptable?'”

Lyft’s First Self-driving Cars To Debut In Boston

June 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Lyft is stepping up its self-driving car efforts.

The ride-hailing company has announced that is partnering with autonomous vehicle software company Nutonomy to roll out self-driving cars to passengers in Boston in the next several months.

“We see a future where car ownership is optional and where cities are designed around people instead of cars,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said during a conference call with reporters. “The way that we are going to get there is with autonomous vehicles.”

Self-driving cars are a hot topic in the auto and tech industries. Automakers from Toyota to Ford to Volvo all have projects in the works. And Silicon Valley giants, including Google, Apple, Intel and Tesla Motors, are betting on the tech.

Lyft’s top rival Uber also has an in-shop driverless car project underway. The program is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has test pilots in California and Arizona. It’s been mired in scandals, however. Uber is facing a major lawsuit from Google over the alleged theft of self-driving car trade secrets, and it has received backlash from lawmakers regarding safety.

Lyft and Nutonomy, which was founded by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said their central focus with self-driving cars is safety. The two companies said they’re working with local regulators to ensure they have the necessary permits to drive city streets.

“We’re also both safety-first organizations,” Green said. “Our goal is make every ride safe, comfortable and reliable… Nutonomy has extensive safety testing around their entire system.”

Besides Nutonomy, Lyft has also entered partnerships with General Motors and Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet. Green didn’t elaborate on what the GM and Waymo partnerships will entail, but he did say each partnership is “unique and different.”

Green also didn’t specify an exact date when people will see the Lyft Nutonomy cars cruising Boston’s streets. He said they’re slowly rolling the cars out, working on research and development, and customers should be able to catch rides within the next several months.

Nutonomy has been testing autonomous vehicles with public riders in Singapore since the summer of 2016. It’s using the Renault Zoe electric car for its self-driving system in Singapore — the same car that passengers will soon be able to catch a ride with in Boston.

“By combining forces with Lyft in the US, we’ll be positioned to build the best passenger experience for self-driving cars,” Karl lagnemma, CEO and co-founder of Nutonomy, said in a statement. “Both companies care immensely about solving urban transportation issues and the future of our cities.”

Waze Expanding Carpool App In California

June 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Navigation app Waze has announced explansion plans for its carpool service throughout California next week, including the key car hub of Los Angeles, in its largest scale rollout of the service owned by Alphabet’s Google.

The fast-growing ride services industry has attracted technology giants like Uber and Alphabet, established automakers like Ford and General Motors and a host of start-ups, all tapping into mobility services that are seen as the future of transportation.

Beginning June 6, users of the Waze Carpool app will be able to find rides from Waze drivers already going their way – and vice versa – throughout the state, expanding on a service only available to date in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Carpooling takes density and doing it on a limited capacity, you can only learn so much,” Josh Fried, head of Waze Carpool, told Reuters. “We wanted to expand to a Waze hub. It’s our first attempt to see if we can go big into a region.”

Los Angeles has the most Waze users in the world, Fried said.

Riders who accompany drivers on their routes share their gasoline expense, calculated at no greater than the federal mileage rate of $.54 per mile.

Waze currently takes no cut of the transaction but will eventually take a commission “when the quality of the service is high enough to warrant this,” Fried said.

During a test pilot in Israel, where Waze was founded, the company took a 15 percent cut.

Waze’s focus on the driving experience today stands in contrast to that of Waymo, the former Google self-driving unit, which is developing autonomous technology. Waymo announced a tie-up with Lyft earlier this month to conduct self-driving pilot programs designed to reach more people than current tests in Arizona.

“We have two different roadmaps,” said Fried, noting that it will be at least a decade before self-driving cars reach the market. In the meantime, Fried said Waze enjoyed Google’s “full support to take the time we need to make this work.”

Waze also plans to launch in Brazil by the end of 2017.

Ford To Use Over-the-air Updates For Vehicle Software

May 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ford Motor Co announced that it would enter into the growing arena of “over-the-air” software updates, adding Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to its Sync 3-equipped 2016 vehicles for the first time via a wireless software update.

The latest upgrade to Sync 3, Ford’s interactive touch-screen system, will be accomplished through an over-the-air (OTA) update using Wi-Fi, not unlike how new software gets uploaded to smartphones by manufacturers.

After Tesla Inc’s early lead in 2015 introducing OTAs, traditional automakers are slowly beginning to embrace the new technology, within limits. Concerns about security and resistance from dealers worried about losing service revenue have hampered its adoption.

Thus far, established automakers have not used OTAs for safety systems, only for non-critical systems like infotainment.

Customers can also get the update via the traditional means of visiting their dealer or using a USB drive, Ford said.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are operating systems from Alphabet’s Google and Apple Inc that allow drivers to connect their smartphones to their vehicles’ dashboard.

Ford’s first use of OTAs comes about two months after it said it would hire 400 engineers to work on connectivity, mostly from Blackberry Ltd’s shuttered phone handset business. Blackberry QNX powers Ford’s Sync 3 system.

Besides being more convenient for customers, OTAs can bring automakers cost savings, as a substantial percentage of warranty repair issues and recalls can be corrected through OTAs.

 

Lyft, Waymo Form Self-driving Car Partnership

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. ride-hailing company Lyft Inc and Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit Waymo have launched a self-driving vehicle partnership, bringing together two rivals to dominant ride-sharing service Uber Technologies Inc.

Lyft, the No. 2 U.S. ride service by ride volume, in a statement said a deal to launch self-driving pilots would accelerate its vision for transportation and Waymo, which is beginning tests of a self-driving car service in Phoenix, said the partnership would let its technology reach “more people, in more places”.

Neither offered many details of the agreement, which was reported earlier by the New York Times.

The auto industry and technology companies are racing to develop self-driving technology, which they expect in a number of years will transform transportation, cutting costs of ride services and changing the way people buy and use cars.

Uber is the biggest U.S. ride service by volume and has been developing self-driving technology, which it sees as a key to its future, as it expands its ride service with human drivers.

Waymo has some of the most advanced self-driving vehicle technology and has been looking for partners, while Lyft offers ride services in about 300 U.S. cities.

Still, Lyft said the deal is non-exclusive and will allow it to continue a self-driving partnership with U.S. automaker General Motors Co , which is a Lyft investor.

GM plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in test fleets partnering with Lyft beginning 2018, sources told Reuters in February.

Lyft is extremely early in its autonomous efforts. It has relied heavily on General Motors for any testing and doesn’t have a program that rivals Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, a department in Uber dedicated to building self-driving technology.

Waymo and Uber are fighting in court over self-driving technology that Waymo says was stolen by a former employee who founded another company that Uber later acquired. Uber says it did not steal or use Waymo secrets.

Talks on the Waymo and Lyft collaboration between began last summer, a person familiar with the situation said.

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