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Nokia And Qualcomm 5G Trials Moving In The Right Direction

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nokia and Qualcomm have completed interoperability testing in the 3.5Ghz and 28Ghz spectrum compliant with the global 3GPP 5G NR Release 15 standard using the commercially available Nokia AirScale base station and device prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies.

Focusing on the commercialization of 5G technology, with New Radio as its foundation, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies testing at Nokia’s 5G center of excellence in Oulu, Finland, will provide the basis for 5G NR field trials with operators in 2018.

Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and operators* including BT/EE, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, KT, LGU+, NTT DOCOMO, Optus, SKT, Telia and Vodafone Group are already committed to working together in verifying and trialing 5G NR technology. This will be based on the successful interoperability tests of the flexible 5G NR interface from Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies which will support a wide array of 5G services and various deployment scenarios.

In line with Qualcomm Technologies and Nokia’s announcement in September 2017 to collaborate on 5G NR and with the success of these recent tests, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies continue working closely in driving the industry, leading to wide-scale 5G deployments in 2019 based on 3GPP standard-compliant 5G infrastructure and devices. This will enable timely commercial network launches in 2019, in particular in the United States, China, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, Nokia said: “These tests by Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies are important to the progress of 5G. Importantly, they demonstrate how we have quickly applied the 3GPP Release 15 specifications that were set in December and using our AirScale base station – which has been shipped to more than 100 customers – together with a prototype Qualcomm Technologies UE. Now, we can look forward to commencing standards-based, over-the-air 5G NR trials with operators.”

Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated, said, “The successful completion of an end-to-end interoperable connection based on the global 5G NR standard is a significant step on the path to launching 5G NR commercial networks and devices starting in 2019. We look forward to furthering collaboration on standard-compliant field trials with Nokia and global operators on the path to commercialisation.”

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Testing ‘Downvote’ Button

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It’s probably the easiest ways to express your opinion: like or dislike.

Yet for a more than a decade, Facebook only offered the happier option, the thumbs-up. That’s about to change.

The social networking giant is testing a new feature that lets some people register a negative reaction to comments with a button called “downvote.”

The goal, Facebook said, is to allow people to weigh in on comments people leave on public pages, like those for President Donald Trump. When selected, the button offers reporting options like “offensive,” “misleading” and “off topic.”

“We are not testing a dislike button,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts.”

Facebook is currently only testing this feature in the US, with a small number of people using its app on Android-powered phones.

The move marks yet another way Facebook is hoping to spur more interaction on its site, and keep its users happy. Offering easy ways for people to mark comments as “offensive” and “misleading” may help quell users’ concerns about harassment, as well as the impact of Russian propagandists who used the site to spread misleading information during the 2016 election.

Facebook’s efforts also answer people’s long-running response to the company’s mascot, the thumbs-up “like” button, which was rolled out in 2009. While the “like” feature allows users to express their approval over a post or a photo, some people complained it was too limiting.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” said Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A session in 2015. He said he realizes people may not want to “like” a current event such as the Syrian refugee crisis or a family member passing away. But at the time, he didn’t want users to merely vote up or down on people’s posts.

The answer was a set of emojis, which the company released in 2016. The reactions expanded options to a laughing face, an angry face, a “wow,” a sad face and a heart. “It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that’s that simple,” Zuckerberg said when announcing the initiative.

Unlike the “like” button or “reactions,” the downvote button isn’t about giving feedback to commenters but rather to Facebook. The intention is to give users a way to flag inappropriate, uncivil or misleading comments, Facebook said.

It doesn’t affect a comment’s ranking, and users won’t even see how many people downvoted a comment.

Facebook said there are currently no plans to expand the feature.

Ryzen Appears To Be Working For AMD

February 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Long-standing Intel competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), appears from its first quarter results to be gnawing at Chipzilla’s ankles.

The Sunnyvale firm seems to be worrying investors in Intel (INTC) by showing better technology than the Santa Clara firm seems to offer.

We won’t know for a little while what the takeup from vendors is likely to be, but early indications – which Fudzilla has reported for quite a while  are that major vendors – like Dell and HP for example – are voting “yes” for AMD by being in the supply chain, commonly called in vendorspeak “the channel”.

Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, said that her firm’s technology will marmelise Intel during 2018.

It is a question of margins, however.

Intel has a gross margin of nearly 64 percent on its products, while underdog AMD might manage 40 percent. But it is also a question of costs. Chipzilla has an enormous wage bill, while AMD – as always – has been a bit stingy, one might say careful, on every front.

That’s quite a sea change in fortunes – or misfortunes, as Intel might describe it.

Intel seems to have made miss upon miss over the last 10 years or so – particularly on the mobile front –  and has all the symptoms of a company retrenching from its formerly dominant position.  It has reduced staff, which has had an effect on its technology, has cut its PR, which has had an effect on its coverage, and has made several missteps which has forced it into second or third place in terms of “innovation”.

Still, Fudzilla has not really heard from AMD what its mobile strategy is.

Courtesy-Fud

Slack Envisions Less Reliance On Emails, More On Chat

January 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Slack has spoken of its high expectations for group chat channels, which it says will replace email as the primary means of workplace communication by 2025.

While channels are becoming a popular method for internal communication, Slack also wants to push them as way to interact with external companies – and stakeholders, too.

With that in mind, the team messaging company has expanded its shared channel feature – unveiled as a beta trial at its first conference in September last year – to enable private conversations between workers at separate organizations.  A third of its paying users have now signed up for the beta, Slack said.

Shared channels differ from guest account access, essentially creating a chat room for employees at two independent companies that regularly interact. The feature was initially made available to paid Slack customers for “public” discussions only, meaning that all users can view and join discussions in the shared channel.

Beginning today, Slack will also offer the option for private conversation. The feature, available as part of the beta release, will enable discussions between customers and partners that are confidential and not intended for view by all employees. As with standard private channels, users must be invited to view or join a shared channel. Content in these private chat rooms is also walled off from search by non-members.

“We can now enable shared channels to be private so that two companies working together can have added privacy within their company and control that privacy from either side,” said Slack Product Manager Sean Rose. “An example use case would be a company working through a new benefits system with an HR provider before they have announced it to the entire company.”

To manage the new channel options, Slack has added a channels Administration section to its workspace menus. This allows admins to view all of the external workspaces their workspace is connected to, as well as create new shared channels and view pending shared channel.

Privacy settings for the shared channels can vary on each side, so one organization could designate a conversation as a private while another makes it public.

Shared channels – public or private – are not yet available to Enterprise Grid customers, though they are expected to arrive soon. Slack did not provide a specific timeline for that rollout.

Shared channels do offer an alternative to email for businesses, said Alan Lepofsky, Constellation Research vice president, and principal analyst.

“Today, the ability for anyone to connect with anyone else, without knowing what tool they use, remains one of the strengths of email,” he said, adding that group messaging vendors such as Slack are “trying to emulate that ease of use, making it seamless for two organizations to connect and collaborate.

“Shared channels are an important step towards that, enabling two organizations that use Slack to connect to each other,” said Lepofsky.

While competitors such as Microsoft Teams rely on guest access, where external users must be invited, shared channels provide “more security and administration, as each organization manages their own members,” said Lepofsky.

In addition to the shared channel announcements, Slack has launched a new feature for its Enterprise Grid product; organization-wide channels that enable messages to be sent to all Slack users in a company.

“Organization-wide channels are a great way to reduce the use of email for corporate communications,” said Lepofsky. “Channels are more engaging, as employees can respond directly to the message, and they are available to new employees who join even after it was originally posted.”

AT&T Plans To Launch 5G Wireless Service Later This Year

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The next generation of cellular technology will deliver a massive boost in speed, more ubiquitous coverage and a responsiveness quick enough to handle remote surgery or autonomous vehicles. It’s supposed to the fuel that drives all other innovations at CES 2018. Despite the numerous company announcements and field trials from the wireless industry, we don’t seem to be that much closer to 5G, which is widely expected to roll out in a big way by 2019.

AT&T is hoping to speed up the timetable. The company said on Thursday that it plans to launch its mobile 5G network in a dozen markets in late 2018, along with a single device able to tap into that network. This is different from Verizon’s plan to offer 5G service as a replacement for home broadband service this year — AT&T’s 5G will look more like the typical cellular service you enjoy now.

If it meets its deadline, AT&T would be the first carrier in the US to launch a mobile 5G service, which has the ability to eventually transform our world through broader, faster and more reliable coverage. The promised speeds are far faster than what most people can get at home (download a season’s worth of “Stranger Things” in seconds), but 5G will also better power the growing family of connected devices in our lives. The launch of 4G gave us Uber, Snapchat and live-streaming video — 5G potentially opens the door even wider to new innovations.

That promise has the carriers engaged in a war of words over 5G. Verizon struck first in 2015 by saying it would the first to launch field trials of 5G, and is on track to deliver a type of fixed 5G service later this year. T-Mobile has mocked both Verizon and AT&T has fueling the hype and potentially disappointing customers. Now AT&T is looking up the timeline again.

AT&T, however, is light on details. Gordon Mansfield, vice president of radio access network and device design for AT&T, said that while there would be a single type of device able to tap into the 5G network, he wouldn’t comment on what the gadget would look like. Whatever the form, the device is expected to use 4G for most of its normal connection, and switch to 5G when the extra speed is appropriate — think a download, live-streaming video or another bandwidth-intensive app.

He also declined to say which markets would get 5G coverage. The company has rolled out the confusingly named “5G Evolution” markets over the past year — cities with the infrastructure for higher wireless speeds, but isn’t actually 5G. The company calls 5G Evolution the foundation for 5G, although Mansfield wouldn’t say if one of the 23 metro areas would be in the dozen 5G markets.

Here’s a list of the “5G Evolution” markets: Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Fresno, California; Greenville, South Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Louisville; Memphis; Nashville; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Tulsa and Sacramento, California.

AMD To Open Vulkan

December 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Vulkan Linux driver which was initially going to be closed-source and open-sourced when it was finished, is now totally open sourced.

AMD has released the source code to its official Vulkan Linux driver, just in time to make the Christmas best sellers’ list.

Apparently open-sourcing is going to occur, it will likely be within a few days and appears to have been timed around the date of the Adrenalin driver release.

The code is being opened under the “GPUOpen” umbrella and will be promoted as accelerating open-source Vulkan development on Linux, quick support for new AMD hardware, support for the Radeon GPU Profiler, easy integration of AMD’s own Vulkan extensions, and it will support third party contributions to their driver.

This will be AMD’s “official” Vulkan driver as found for Linux users already within the AMDGPU-PRO driver. It’s also the shared code base to its Vulkan Windows driver. It’s the full-fat Vulkan driver that AMD has been developing for the last two years.

The AMD Vulkan driver lives in its own code base and is not using or dependent upon Mesa/Gallium3D but rather just interfacing with libdrm / AMDGPU DRM / LLVM directly.

AMD hasn’t yet finalized on any new “name” for this driver besides “Radeon Open Vulkan” to better distinguish it from the RADV Vulkan driver.

The only downside is that this is not being set up to run on Microsoft Windows and is not open for Windows integration.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD’s RX 560 A Re-branded Card

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has admitted that the Radeon RX 560 which is in the shops now is essentially a rebranded older model.

Yesterday we revealed that AMD had changed the Radeon RX 560 so that it had a similar spec to older cards. Unfortunately, it had mixed the downgraded cards with the older ones which meant you had to be a real geek to spot the difference.

What made the whole thing worse was that it had carried out the change after all the reviews were out and it failed to tell anyone about it.

Now AMD has released a statement which confirmed that there were hobbled versions of the Radeon RX 560 with 14 Compute Unit (896 stream processors) and 16 Compute Units (1024 stream processors) released onto the market.

“We introduced the 14CU version this summer to provide AIBs and the market with more RX 500 series options”, AMD said.

However, now AMD said that it had “come to our attention that on certain AIB and etail websites there’s no clear delineation between the two variants.

“We’re taking immediate steps to remedy this: we’re working with all AIB and channel partners to make sure the product descriptions and names clarify the CU count so that gamers and consumers know exactly what they’re buying. We apologize for the confusion this may have caused.”

So basically, it is saying that there is a Radeon RX 560 which got all the reviews and a Radeon RX 560 which is a rebranded earlier model and it is difficult to tell them apart. It is having a word with its partners to make sure that they are branded correctly. No mention of giving people their money back if they bought the wrong card.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Brings ‘Digital Whiteboard’ To Windows 10

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft is adding its Whiteboard ‘digital canvas’ app to Windows 10, providing a new way for employees to collaborate on creative work and share ideas.

Whiteboard, aimed at Surface owners, makes use of the device’s stylus and touch inputs to share drawings. Users can jot down notes, make precise illustrations or search for images on the web from the app. It can also create tables, diagrams and flowcharts, which are updated in real time and automatically saved to the cloud.

“It’s designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices,” the Microsoft Whiteboard team wrote in a blog post.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction for a more modern and natural style of collaboration,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Whiteboard is specifically tied to Windows 10, “thus limiting its cross-platform appeal,” he said. “Still, I am pleased to see that Microsoft is so highly focused on improving the way people create and share information.

The preview has been available for a few months as a private beta, where it was used by customers for a variety of purposes such as real-time product design collaboration with clients.

The app is free for individual use, but requires an Office 365 subscription for multiple users. The plan is for Whiteboard to also replace a similar app that currently runs on Microsoft’s SurfaceHub digital whiteboard.

Richard Edwards, distinguished analyst at Freeform Dynamics, said that launching Whiteboard on Windows 10 gives Microsoft a number of opportunities: “It gives Surface owners a chance to show off the capabilities of their devices, it gives Whiteboard users a glimpse of what Microsoft Hub can bring to meetings [and] it brings the PC back into the meeting room, offering an alternative to Apple and Google devices,” he said.

“And if we factor in the imminent arrival of Always Connected PCs, then it becomes part of a much bigger come-back programm for the corporate – and maybe consumer – laptop.”

Lepofsky sees the launch as a part of the growth of digital canvas tools, allowing employees to share information easily and collaborate within a single document. “For far too long we have limited ourselves in the digital platforms to constraints from the physical world,” he said. “We don’t need to design for a rectangular piece of paper anymore.”

While he sees Whiteboard as promising, it will be important to see which partners are able to create integrations for the app.

Said Edwards: “How this app works alongside Office apps will determine its value an utility to business users.”

Telsa Electric Trucks Gets Vote Of Confidence From PepsiCo

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

PepsiCo Inc has reserved 100 of Tesla Inc’s new electric Semi trucks, the biggest known order of the big rig, as the maker of Mountain Dew soda and Doritos chips seeks to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions, a company executive said on Tuesday.

Tesla has been trying to convince the trucking community that it can build an affordable electric big rig with the range and cargo capacity to compete with relatively low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks.

 Early orders reflect uncertainty over how the market for electric commercial vehicles will develop. About 260,000 heavy-duty Class-8 trucks are produced in North America annually, according to FTR, an industry economics research firm.

PepsiCo intends to deploy Tesla Semis for shipments of snack foods and beverages between manufacturing and distribution facilities and direct to retailers within the 500-mile (800-km) range promised by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

The semi-trucks will complement PepsiCo’s U.S. fleet of nearly 10,000 big rigs and are a key part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by a total of at least 20 percent by 2030, said Mike O‘Connell, the senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay.

PepsiCo is analyzing what routes are best for its Tesla trucks in North America but sees a wide range of uses for lighter loads like snacks or shorter shipments of heavier beverages, O‘Connell said.

Tesla did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

 Tesla unveiled the Semi last month and expects the truck to be in production by 2019.

Verizon Launching 5G Wireless Network Next Year

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon confirmed that it will to launch wireless 5G service in up to five US cities by the end of next year.

Sacramento, California, is expected in the second half of the year to be the first city to get access to the 5G network, which promises to be 10 to 100 times faster than Verizon’s speediest existing cellular connections. Information on other market deployments is expected to be revealed later, the company said in a statement.

“Verizon estimates the market opportunity for initial 5G residential broadband services to be approximately 30 million households nationwide,” the company said.

5G networks were previously expected to arrive in 2019. The conventional wisdom is that the early examples will be for what’s called “fixed wireless” connections, bringing fast broadband to your house without the need to dig a pesky trench for a fiber-optic cable.

The announcement comes after Verizon, one of many companies trumpeting its work in 5G, completed trials of the technology in 11 US markets earlier this year. Verizon said the launch was made possible by its confidence in new technology powered by millimeter-wave spectrum — very high frequencies that can carry large amounts of data and transfer signals with minimal delay.

Verizon isn’t the only company racing toward 5G. AT&T has already tested 5G as a broadband replacement in an Intel office in Austin, Texas, and has tested its DirecTV Now video service over 5G in that city as well.

OnePlus Phones Have Dangerous Hacking Backdoor

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Hackers who obtained OnePlus phones can obtain virtually unlimited access to files and software through use of a testing tool called EngineerMode that the company evidently left on the devices.

Robert Baptiste, a freelance security researcher who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter after the “Mr. Robot” TV show character, found the tool on a OnePlus phone and tweeted his findings Monday. Researchers at security firm SecureNow helped figure out the tool’s password, a step that means hackers can get unrestricted privileges on the phone as long as they have the device in their possession.

The EngineeerMode software functions as a backdoor, granting access to someone other than an authorized user. Escalating those privileges to full do-anything “root” access required a few lines of code, Baptiste said.

“It’s quite severe,” Baptiste said via a Twitter direct message.

OnePlus disagreed, though it said it’s decided to modify EngineerTool.

“EngineerMode is a diagnostic tool mainly used for factory production line functionality testing and after sales support,” the company said in a statement. Root access “is only accessible if USB debugging, which is off by default, is turned on, and any sort of root access would still require physical access to your device. While we don’t see this as a major security issue, we understand that users may still have concerns and therefore we will remove the adb [Android Debug Bridge command-line tool] root function from EngineerMode in an upcoming OTA.”

SecureNow found the tool on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 5. Android Police reported it’s also on the OnePlus 3T. And Baptiste said it’s also on the new OnePlus 5T.

Baptiste had spotted evidence that EngineerMode was written by mobile chipmaker Qualcomm. But Qualcomm said Wednesday that’s not the case.

“After an in-depth investigation, we have determined that the EngineerMode app in question was not authored by Qualcomm,” the company said in a statement. “Although remnants of some Qualcomm source code is evident, we believe that others built upon a past, similarly named Qualcomm testing app that was limited to displaying device information. EngineerMode no longer resembles the original code we provided.”

Facebook Has A Unique Way To Fight Revenge Porn

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is prompting people to share their nude photos. But this isn’t what it sounds like.

The goal of the social network’s plan is to make sure people’s nude photos aren’t used for revenge porn by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The way it’ll work is people will share their photos with Facebook via its Messenger app and the company will then “hash” the images, which is a process that converts the photos into a unique digital code. Once Facebook has that code, it can block the images from ever being uploaded to its site. The company will store the images for a short time and then delete them.

The company is piloting the technology in Australia with a small government agency headed by e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly,” Inman Grant told the ABC.

Other tech companies have used similar types of hashing technology in efforts to rid the internet of child pornography. Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have used unique digital codes to detect exploitative images, some of which have led to the arrests of people distributing the photographs on the web.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

Apple May Not Use Qualcomm Chips For Next iPhone

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc has designed iPhones and iPads that is capable of discontinuing use of chips supplied by Qualcomm Inc, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The change would affect iPhones released in the fall of 2018, but Apple could still change course before then, these people said. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

 The dispute stems from a change in supply arrangements under which Qualcomm has stopped providing some software for Apple to test its chips in its iPhone designs, one of the people told Reuters.

The two companies are locked in a multinational legal dispute over the Qualcomm’s licensing terms to Apple.

Qualcomm told Reuters it is providing fully tested chips to Apple for iPhones. “We are committed to supporting Apple’s new devices consistent with our support of all others in the industry,” Qualcomm said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Apple could drop Qualcomm chips Monday.

Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon said Apple’s move is not totally unexpected.

Though Qualcomm has for several years supplied Apple’s modems – which help Apple’s phones connect to wireless data networks – Intel Corp (INTC.O) has provided upward of half of Apple’s modem chips for iPhones in recent years, Rasgon said. Intel in 2015 acquired a firm that would let it replace more of Qualcomm’s chips in iPhones, Rasgon said.

 Rasgon said it’s too early to say definitively whether Apple fully intends to drop Qualcomm next year because Apple can likely make multiple contingency plans for different supplier scenarios.

“Apple is big enough that they want to support multiple paths, they can do that,” Rasgon said. “Samsung (Electronics Co did this too. A couple of years ago, Samsung designed Qualcomm out, but Qualcomm didn’t even know until it was close to time to ship” Samsung’s phones, Rasgon said.

 

 

Walmart Piloting Self-scanning Robots In Some Stores

October 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Wal-Mart Stores Inc will debut shelf-scanning robots in approximately 40 stores to replenish inventory faster on its shelves and save store employees time when products run out.

The company has been piloting such robots in a handful of stores.

“If you are running up and down the aisle, and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well and they don’t like it,” Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King told Reuters.

The robots are about 2 feet in size and come with a tower on their backs that is fitted with cameras, which scan aisles to check stocks, missing items and if products have been left in the wrong place by customers.

They are 50 percent more productive, can scan shelves three times faster than their human counterparts and significantly improve accuracy levels, King said. Store employees are only able to scan shelves about twice a week.

Out-of-stocks are a big challenge for retailers, which miss out on sales every time a shopper is unable to find a product on store shelves.

Toyota Aims For Automous, Talking Cars By 2020

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toyota Motor Corp announced that it would begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with drivers, as the company competes with tech firms to develop new vehicles.

The car, whose concept model was unveiled earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be able to converse with drivers, while building up knowledge of users’ preferences, habits and emotions through deep learning, the company said.

“By using AI technology, we want to expand and enhance the driving experience, making cars an object of affection again,” said Makoto Okabe, general manager of Toyota’s EV business planning division.

Facing competition from rival automakers and tech companies to produce self-driving, intelligent cars, Toyota has committed $1 billion through 2020 to develop advanced automated driving and AI technology.

The Concept-i model, a battery-electric car which will have a cruising range of 300 kilometers (180 miles) on a single charge, will be able to estimate the emotions and alertness of drivers by reading their expressions, actions and tone of voice.

Using this information, the vehicle will be able to take over driving responsibilities when necessary — after assessing the driver is too tired to drive safely, for example — and also interact with the driver and passengers.

Facing a future where car ownership may be overtaken by new mobility services, automakers are ramping up investment to develop AI capabilities to enhance the driving experience.

 Ford Motor Co earlier this year invested $1 billion in Argo AI, a start-up set up by former employees of Uber Technologies’ self-driving car development team, to develop an on-demand self-driving car service. General Motors Co has also been investing in AI start-ups.

Honda Motor Co 7267.T. and Softbank Corp announced last year that they were teaming up to use humanoid robotic technology in cars to enable them to communicate with drivers.

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