Airbus last year formed a division called Urban Air Mobility that is exploring concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle that can carry multiple riders. The aim would be for people to book the vehicle using an app, similar to car-sharing schemes.
“One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders told the DLD digital tech conference in Munich, adding he hoped the Airbus could fly a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of the year.
Enders said Airbus, as the world’s largest maker of commercial helicopters, wanted to invest to make the most of new technologies such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, to usher in what amounts to an era of flying cars.
“If we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business,” he said.
A spokesman for Airbus declined to say how much the company was investing in urban mobility.
The move to AI could be the one catalyst which could help AMD and Nvidia carve up Intel’s mighty kingdom.
Last year saw Microsoft, Apple, Google develop more software for ARM based chips. During the year AMD and Nvidia saw their stock prices rise as shareholders started to think that they might succeed in taking Intel’s crown.
On of the reasons for this is AI which is fast becoming a bigger buzz world than Interent of Things – which is the basket Intel is putting its eggs into.
AMD and Nvidia are both making perfect AI processors in their graphics cards and now that AMD has released Polaris it is properly in a game dominated by Nvidia. AMD’s Radeon Instinct is specifically designed for the market.
Intel is doing ok in the market but it is not growing as fast as AMD or Nvidia.
According to the Verge, investors are buying up AMD stock because they know the processing challenges of the future are practically tailored for the massively parallel architecture of a GPU.
Nvidia and IBM have revealed their own agreement to provide “the world’s fastest” deep learning enterprise solution.
AMD and Nvidia should do well in the growing consumer interest in virtual reality although that might be a bubble waiting to burst. On paper at least, the most popular HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both require tons of GPU power. However it is a moot point if these machines are the ones that will make AR work or if it will be something much cheaper and require less spec.
But if AR does take off then it will be yet another thing that Intel missed out on.
Some of the most distant stars in the Milky Way may have been lifted from another galaxy, research released Wednesday shows.
The unintended donor, known as the Sagittarius dwarf, is one of dozens of miniature galaxies that loop around the Milky Way. The Sagittarius dwarf is located about 3.4 million light-years away from Earth.
Computer simulations show that Sagittarius paid a price each time it flew by its bigger neighbor. The Milky Way’s heftier gravitational tug has stripped away about one-third of the dwarf galaxy’s stars and 90 percent of its dark matter, a paper to be published in The Astrophysical Journal shows.
“This resulted in three distinct streams of stars that reach as far as one million light-years from the Milky Way’s center. They stretch all the way out to the edge of the Milky Way halo and display one of the largest structures observable on the sky,” the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics wrote in a press release.
The finding stems from research showing that five of the Milky Way’s 11 most distant stars are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way’s spiral disk.
Graduate student Marion Dierickx and Harvard theorist Avi Loeb ran computer simulations to map out the dwarf galaxy’s travel itinerary for the last 8 billion years, adjusting its initial velocity and angle of approach to the Milky Way to match current observations of the straggler stars.
“The starting speed and approach angle have a big effect on the orbit, just like the speed and angle of a missile launch affects its trajectory,” Loeb said in the press release.
The research shows that the five stars have positions and velocities indicating they were stripped from the Sagittarius dwarf billions of years ago.
The other six distant Milky Way residents do not appear to be from Sagittarius, but they might have emigrated from a different dwarf galaxy, the research shows.
Meanwhile, Dierickx and colleagues remain on the hunt for other Sagittarius transplants.
Robots should be granted rights as “electronic persons,” members of the European Parliament recommended — but not until the machines are all fitted with “kill” switches to shut them down in an emergency.
Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee wants the European Commission to propose legislation that will settle a number of ethical and liability issues in the field of robotics — including who is to blame when an autonomous vehicle is involved in a collision.
Granting the more sophisticated autonomous robots some kind of electronic personhood could settle issues of who is responsible for their actions, the committee suggested. More urgent than the question of robot rights, though, is setting up an obligatory insurance scheme that would pay the victims of a self-driving car if it caused an accident in the European Union.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also want an EU agency to advise on the technical, ethical, and regulatory issues around robotics, and a voluntary ethical code of conduct for those who design and work with robots. That code should include a requirement that designers put some kind of “kill” switch in their robots so that they can be shut down in an emergency.
That urgency, the MEPs said, is not so much because autonomous robots are likely to run amok any time soon, but rather that if the EU doesn’t move first, it will end up having to follow rules set by other countries.
Intriguingly, tax figures among the issues the MEPs want the Commission to take into consideration. For robots wanting the same rights as people, it could be a case of no representation without taxation.
The full Parliament will vote on the committee’s recommendation next month, but even if it agrees, the Commission is under no obligation to follow such a request for legislation.
The new pricing applies only to owners who purchase their electric vehicles after this Sunday. Those who bought vehicles before Jan. 15 will continue to receive free charging, the company said.
The company this week announced that its charging costs will vary from state to state and depend on which charging “tier” a driver is using. Tier 1 pricing, which applies to cars charging at or below 60 kW per minute, will cost half as much as cars using Tier 2 charging, which applies to cars charging above 60 kW per minute. In New York, Tier 2 charging will cost 20 cents a minute and in California, it will cost 19 cents.
Cars using fast charging or Tier 2 charging can attain about a half a full vehicle charge in 30 minutes — enough to travel up to 170 miles.
Tesla announced both kilowatt hour and by-minute pricing for its Supercharger stations, and said a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 380 miles) would cost about $15. (A cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York — about 2,800 miles — would run around $120 in charging fees.)
Tier 1 pricing also applies anytime your vehicle is sharing Supercharger power with another car. Supercharger pricing information can be viewed on the vehicle’s 17-in. touchscreen.
Tesla Model S and Model X cars ordered after Jan. 15 will receive 400 kWh (kilowatt-hour) of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) annually on the anniversary of their delivery.
“We carefully considered current Supercharger usage and found that 400 kWh covers the annual long-distance driving needs of the majority of our owners,” Tesla said in a blog. The company didn’t mention whether buyers of the Model 3 EV, due out in mid-2018, would also receive an annual free charging credit.
The Model 3 will be Tesla’s most affordable EV, with a starting price of about $35,000, and was originally slated to ship at the end of this year. Preorders for it have topped 400,000.
In North America, Tesla Supercharging pricing is fixed within each state or province. Internationally, pricing is fixed within each country, Tesla said.
When fully charged, the 85 kWh Model S sedan has a range of just over 300 miles, depending on road conditions and the speed at which it’s driven, according to Tesla.
“Where possible, owners are billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour), which is the most fair and simple method. In other areas, we bill for the service per minute,” the company explained on its website.
The fees for charging could provide Tesla with as much as $175 million in revenue just in this first year, according to Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research for Global Equities Research.
The super-cool and innovative tech power house Apple is rumored to have come up with some game-changing glasses which superimpose information and pictures onto reality.
Dubbed AR, no other technology company has come up with the idea before and it is believed to be the brain child of Tim Cook himself. Of course, it is all top secret because other companies will steal the idea before Apple gets it to market.
However, word on the street is that Apple is working with the German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses.
The rumor comes from tech evangelist Robert Scoble who thinks the project could be announced as early as this year. Apparently it has been confirmed by a Zeiss employee, Scoble wrote in a Facebook post Monday.
Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR tends to overlay images and data atop the real world. This is the sort of idea which was shown with Pokemon Go.
To show how in advance Apple is over companies like Microsoft and Google Cook told ABC News that he saw bigger possibilities for AR than VR in September! That is long before anyone else came up with the idea and pours cold water on the idea that Apple has run out of ideas, can only update its ten-year-old smartphone technology and that it is always getting beaten to the punch issuing technology years after everyone else.
The company has filed several patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office that deal with augmented reality because, you know, no one else is doing AR.
Earth’s surface is ever-changing, with tectonic plates bumping together to cause earthquakes and volcanoes, grow mountains and replenish and redistribute elements — and that dynamic environment helps life thrive. But with a slightly different ratio of elements in the sun, the planet could have been far less forgiving.
Planets are mostly made of the same stuff as their stars, and researchers have used that fact to simulate two very different rocky planets: one whose upper mantleis mostly the mineral olivine, like Earth’s, and one with a stiff upper mantle made of garnet.
According to Johanna Teske, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science, understanding a planet’s composition is key to evaluating how Earth-like it might be — how likely it is to have plate tectonics or a protective magnetic field. [The Strangest Alien Planets We Know]
“Whole-star measurements can be made pretty much on any star that we know has a planet, and these help us constrain the initial planet-forming ingredients,” Teske said, presenting the new work Thursday (Jan. 5) here at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “The composition of a planet controls what type of atmosphere it has and whether it has a climate, clouds, that is in turn affected by and affects tectonics in a planet.”
To prove the usefulness of using the star’s composition to evaluate the planet, Teske’s group took as an example two different stars whose spectra, and therefore their composition, have been measured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) — Kepler 102, which has a more Earth-like ratio of magnesium to silicon (and is known to have rocky planets), and Kepler 407, whose ratio is about two-thirds less than the sun’s.
Cayman Unterborn, a geophysicist and project collaborator at Arizona State University, simulated the formation of rocky planetsaround those stars to see what they might be like. The researchers found that even the small difference in the ratio between the two elements had a drastic effect on the rocky worlds orbiting each star.
“Both of the planets have a liquid iron core, and then a layer of bridgmanite right after the core, but then upper mantle composition is very different,” Teske said.
The first planet had an upper mantle made of a type of green crystalline mineral called olivine, which is soft enoughto flow and allow the plates resting above it to move and collide, and the second had an outer core of the less flexible mineral garnet.
“You can see in [the planet formed around] Kepler 407 that there’s this red layer of garnet, which we think would prohibit or make less probable plate tectonics in a planet around that star.”
The first, in other words, is a potentially Earth-like rocky planet, while the second is likely much more stiff and unmoving. Making this kind of calculation in advance, based only on star composition, can let researchers better determine which might be Earth-like and are worth further study with next-generation observatories like the James Webb Space Telescope, Teske said.
The researchers also checked the modeling process by simulating the formation of a rocky planet around the sun — they found that it very precisely echoed Earth’s composition. To push the research further, the team is characterizing potential planets around a number of other stars measured by SDSS that host known rocky planets, and plotting the predicted density of the planets and core masses. Those are values that can be verified by other measurements later on.
“I think this is really exciting work — we’re combining astronomy and geology and geophysics,” Teske added. “Host star abundances from APOGEE [an SDSS survey] and SDSS really give us an important constraint on the interior compositions of exoplanets…that you really can’t get from any other observations.”
The malware has targeted Russian-speaking users so far, but its authors have also created an English version of their decryption portal, suggesting they will likely expand their attacks to other countries soon.
Spora stands out because it can encrypt files without having to contact a command-and-control (CnC) server and does so in a way that still allows every victim to have a unique decryption key.
Traditional ransomware programs generate an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) key for every encrypted file and then encrypts these keys with an RSA public key generated by a CnC server.
The problem with reaching out to a server on the internet after installation of ransomware is that it creates a weak link for attackers. For example, if the server is known by security companies and is blocked by a firewall, the encryption process doesn’t start.
Some ransomware programs can perform so-called offline encryption, but they use the same RSA public key that’s hard-coded into the malware for all victims. The downside with this approach for attackers is that a decryptor tool given to one victim will work for all victims because they share the same private key as well.
The Spora creators have solved this problem, according to researchers from security firm Emsisoft who analyzed the program’s encryption routine.
The malware does contain a hard-coded RSA public key, but this is used to encrypt a unique AES key that is locally generated for every victim. This AES key is then used to encrypt the private key from a public-private RSA key pair that’s also locally generated and unique for every victim. Finally, the victim’s public RSA key is used to encrypt the AES keys that are used to encrypt individual files.
In other words, the Spora creators have added a second round of AES and RSA encryption to what other ransomware programs have been doing until now.
The drones, dubbed Perdix, operate as a swarm and are not individually pre-programmed. Instead, they act as a collective organism with one distributed brain for decision-making, the DOD said in a statement on Monday.
“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team,” says William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office of the DOD.
The drones are meant to be controlled in much the same manner as a coach would guide a sports team. The operator orders a broad objective, and the drones communally decide how best to execute the plan.
The latest test, initially documented on “60 Minutes,” took place at China Lake, California, in October. There were 103 mini remote-controlled vehicles launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Prior tests have also taken place in Alaska and Edwards Air Force Base in southern California.
The DOD says Perdix is in its sixth generation, with a seventh-generation model featuring more advanced autonomy in the works.
Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.
Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.
This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.
PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.
Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.
Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”
IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.
Last week at CES 2017 we noticed that Intel felt so unsecure about itself that it used a big curtain to hide the Qualcomm logo from the booth next door. This really happened and we were lucky to document it.
Intel and Qualcomm had booths next to each other at CES 2017 and this has been going on for a few CES shows. The difference this year, was that Intel ordered a huge curtain to block the view to Qualcomm’s logo standing on the side of the booth. Qualcomm didn’t.
We are not sure how the CES 2017 organizers were OK with it, but it definitely felt at least a bit tasteless to do this to a company you are directly competing against. We took the picture from both Intel’s and Qualcomm’s booth.
This of course has a big background and deserves a bit of an explantation. Intel won part of the iPhone 7 modem deal and clearly stated that it wants to compete even more on 5G, picking on Qualcomm’s core business more actively. Intel chose CES 2017 to announce its 5G modem, while Qualcomm had already announced the Snapdragon X50 5G SoC. Qualcomm is expected to deploy Snapdragon X50 for testing in the second half of 2017 and is expected to do 5G trials with AT&T, SK Telekom and Verizon.
At the same time, Microsoft shocked the IT world by confirming that the Snapdragon 800 series of chips have full support for Windows 10. We saw a demo of a Snapdragon 820 machine and there will definitely be Snapdragon 835 notebooks supporting Windows 10 coming to the market later this year. Needless to say, the companies developed a big rivalry in the last two years.
Last year, Intel let go some 12,000 employees in April while Qualcomm let go off some 4,500 people in order to restructure the company. In the meantime Qualcomm has acquired an automotive SoC giant NXP for $47 billion preparing the company to be a big influence in the automotive industry.
Fudzilla also noticed that there have been quite a few people crossing over from Intel to Qualcomm and in the other direction, implying that Qualcomm can use some help in competing wotj Intel on the PC side of the industry.
Intel on the other hand has its hands full. Its big rival AMD is just weeks from releasing the Summit Ridge codenamed Zen-architecture based 14nm eight core Ryzen processor. The first impression is that the CPU looks really competitive to Intel’s high end Extreme Edition desktop line and AMD announced more than a dozen systems that are expected to launch in Q1 2017 and onward.
Later in 2017, both AMD and even Qualcomm are expected to announce their server solution and increase the pressure on Intel in this heavily profitable market. Back in 2013 Intel stated that for every 400 smartphones you need one server. Since the amount of traffic grew massively between 2013 and today and the fact that video is now 55 percent of all internet traffic, we believe that you need one server for a few hundred phones, definitely less than 400 these days.
Qualcomm was the first to announce and showcase the 10nm SoC, and we saw a live demo of the Snapdragon 835 based prototype of a phone. As a few executives mentioned the other day, there is a high expectation that Snapdragon 835 might end up being even more successful than Snapdragon 820, and we already pointed out that Snapdragon 820 had more than 200 design wins. The performance, footprint and 25 percent better battery life compared to Snapdragon 820 have every chance to make a three billion transistor Snapdragon 835 an instant success.
Intel has completely abandoned smartphones after billions of investments and a failure to make a dent in this huge market. Intel’s X86 based mobile SoCs simply failed to compete with ARM based chips.
So far, Intel has tried and failed to launch 10nm processors, and this is happening to a company that owns some of the world’s most advanced and biggest FABs in the world. After decade of tick-tock execution, the recent launch of Kaby Lake, the third generation 14nm processors for desktop and notebooks definitely confirmed there’s trouble in paradise. One can only hope that Intel can get the 10nm processors out before the end of 2017 but it has become increasingly hard to migrate from one to another manufacturing node.
Breakthrough Initiatives, a private organization that’s dedicated to looking for life elsewhere in the universe, has enlisted the help of a massive telescope in Chile to search for planets around one of the nearest star systems to our sun, officials announced today.
Earlier this year, scientists announced the discovery of a potentially rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri; the planet orbits in a region where its surface temperature might be right to host liquid water. The discovery has created excitement about the possibility of finding more potentially habitable planets in our cosmic backyard.
Breakthrough Initiatives is hosting a program called Breakthrough Starshot, which will aim to send postage-stamp-size probes to look for planets in the Alpha Centauri system (including Proxima Centauri). As part of the new collaboration, Breakthrough Initiatives will help pay for an upgrade to an instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), making the instrument ideal for studying planets around Proxima Centauri and its stellar siblings.
Despite its proximity to Earth, detecting planets in the Alpha Centauri system is a challenge, primarily because the brightness of the system’s two larger stars — Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B — overwhelm the light coming from any orbiting planets, according to the statement from ESO. The new agreement between ESO and Breakthrough Initiatives will upgrade an existing instrument on the VLT, making it better equipped to search for the faint light of exoplanets.
The VLT consists of one primary 8.2-meter telescope and four auxiliary 1.2-meter telescopes, making it “the most advanced visible light telescope in the world,” according to ESO’s website. An instrument called the VISIR (VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared) instrument — which, as the name suggests, collects light in the midinfrared range — will get an upgrade under the new partnership. The upgraded VISIR will be equipped with a coronagraph, which is used to block out starlight. The instrument will also receive an adaptive optics system, which is used to correct for distortions of the starlight that arise in Earth’s atmosphere. In 2019, when the upgrade is scheduled to be completed, the VLT will dedicate time for a “careful search” of the Proxima Centauri system.
Founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Yuri Milner and his wife, Julia, Breakthrough Initiatives aims to “explore the Universe, seek scientific evidence of life beyond Earth, and encourage public debate from a planetary perspective.” The organization’s board consists of Yuri Milner, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
Breakthrough Initiatives currently operates three programs: Breakthrough Listen (dedicated to searching for radio signals from an intelligent alien civilization), Breakthrough Message (a competition to send a message to another intelligent civilization) and Breakthrough Starshot, which would use a massive laser accelerator to send microchip-size spacecraft to the Proxima Centauri star system.
Last year, another ambitious program that is aimed at studying planets around Proxima Centauri was announced. Titled Project Blue, the program would launch a small space telescope into orbit (eliminating the blurring effects of the Earth’s atmosphere); the telescope would be built specifically to study the Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B systems.
The families of three Americans murdered in ISIS terror attacks have filed suit against Twitter for allegedly knowingly providing support for the terrorist group and acting as a “powerful weapon for terrorism.”
The suit was filed over the weekend in a federal court in New York City on behalf of the relatives of three U.S. nationals who were killed by ISIS in the March 22, 2016, terrorist attacks in Brussels and the Nov. 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris. At least 32 people died in the Brussels attack and about 130 in the attack in Paris.
The suit alleges that Twitter has violated, and continues to violate, the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial and monetary damages to be determined at trial.
“Twitter’s social media platform and services provide tremendous utility and value to ISIS as a tool to connect its members and to facilitate the terrorist group’s ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies,” the suit alleges. “ISIS has used Twitter to cultivate and maintain an image of brutality, to instill greater fear and intimidation, and to appear unstoppable …”
The lawsuit also contends that specifically for the Brussels and Paris attacks, ISIS used Twitter to issue threats, as well as to announce and celebrate the attacks.
The lawsuit was filed by the family of siblings Alexander Pinczowski and Sascha Pinczowski, who were killed in Brussels, and the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in Paris.
Europe’s powerhouse automakers are rallying the full force of the continent’s industrial prowess to build a network of ultra-fast charging stations as they look to stoke demand for electric cars and break Tesla’s stranglehold on the market.
BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and Daimler plan to build about 400 next-generation charging stations in Europe that can reload an electric car in minutes instead of hours.
The long time it takes to charge batteries is one of the main disadvantages of electric cars compared to conventional cars with gasoline tanks that can be filled up in seconds.
Installing new, faster chargers would spur the overall market, and also help the traditional car manufacturers close the gap with Tesla, the Silicon Valley-based e-car leader, which maintains its own network of charging stations. Tesla’s chargers are the fastest in the industry, and are incompatible with existing electric cars made by rivals.
The carmakers are roping in experts from the European power and engineering industry, including Germany’s Innogy, E.ON and Siemens and Portugal’s Efacec, which are all working on the technology, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The new 350 kilowatt (kW) chargers would be nearly three times as powerful as Tesla’s.
“This is a structured and concerted effort across sectors to tackle the infrastructure issue in a real way,” one of the sources said.
A spokesman for Ford, speaking on behalf of the consortium, said talks with possible partners had started, adding he expected several energy providers to be part of the planned network, without elaborating further.
Tesla’s tech billionaire CEO Elon Musk has hinted that the company will not be outdone, tweeting that 350 kW chargers are a “children’s toy”. A Germany-based spokeswoman for the company declined to comment beyond Musk’s remarks.
LG says that all its products will ship with Wi-Fi connectivity from this year.
LG marketing VP David VanderWaal says that “starting this year” all of LG’s home appliances will feature “advanced Wi-Fi connectivity”.
One of the flagship appliances that will make good on this promise is the Smart Instaview Refrigerator, a webOS-powered Internet-connected fridge that among other things supports integration with Amazon’s Alexa service.
While this might be a good thing in cases of flagship devices but just sticking Wi-Fi in everything is going to create a security nightmare. After all how are LG or anyone planning to update their appliances? Most people who don’t use the Wi-Fi are never going to bother connecting to anything and that is just going to be an open port sitting waiting some hacker’s attention.
What is also a problem is that if your whole house gets a virus you are going to have a hell of a job finding out what the source was and what you are supposed to unplug.
Also, there is the small matter of some appliance makers might be a little naughty about using their smart devices to serve up ads or give audio or video recordings to law enforcement.
LG might be more likely than most to know what it is doing, but the life of a fridge or washing machine is a lot longer than a computer. Our fridge is 15 years old and works fine, what will be the state of computer security in 15 years’ time? Many are going to find that their fridge is running the security equivalent of Windows XP.