19 Aug 2019

TechBits, August 19, 2019

1.BMW’s Increasing Investment in AI – Insights from an Interview with Sam Huang of BMW iVentures

  • It takes more than technology to make businesses work. In fact, one of the most precious resources, besides the humans that run the organization, is capital to fund growth. In the areas at the edge of innovation, especially artificial intelligence, this capital is being used to prove that existing technology is capable of driving real business return as well as advance the state of the art to push the technology in ways not possible today. 
  • It is no surprise, then, that major companies at the intersection of technology, manufacturing, and capital are seeing significant possibilities in artificial intelligence and investing both their time and resources to push the boundaries of AI’s capabilities. In a recent AI Today podcast interview, Sam Huang of BMW iVentures shared how the company is approaching AI and where it sees possibilities in investing in AI’s future

2. Small towns in India are powering the global race for artificial intelligence

  • Namita Pradhan sat at a desk in downtown Bhubaneswar, India, about 40 miles from the Bay of Bengal, staring at a video recorded in a hospital on the other side of the world.
  • The video showed the inside of someone’s colon. Pradhan was looking for polyps, small growths in the large intestine that could lead to cancer. When she found one — they look a bit like a slimy, angry pimple — she marked it with her computer mouse and keyboard, drawing a digital circle around the tiny bulge.
  • She was not trained as a doctor, but she was helping to teach an artificial intelligence system that could eventually do the work of a doctor.

3. Tesla pitches a solar rental program to boost its renewable energy business

  • Tesla is pitching customers on a new rental offering for solar power as a way to revive the flagging fortunes of its renewable energy business.
  • Once among the largest installers of renewables in the country through SolarCity, Tesla has seen its share of the market decline significantly since its acquisition of SolarCity three years ago. In the second quarter Tesla deployed only 29 megawatts of new solar installations, while the number one and two providers of consumer solar, SunRun and Vivint Solar installed 103 megawatts and 56 megawatts respectively.
  • That’s likely one reason why Elon Musk took to Twitter early Sunday morning to pitch the new solar rental program.




4. Reliance Jio propels growth of KaiOS in India

  • Devices powered by KaiOS have been in the market only since mid-2017. But thanks to the huge popularity of Jio phones from Reliance, this light Linux-based operating system today has a greater market share than iOS in India.
  • Built by San Diego, California-headquartered start-up KaiOS Technologies and led by CEO Sebastien Codeville, KaiOS is the third biggest operating system globally after Android and iOS.
  • Data from StatCounter show that while Android has over 91.5 per cent share in India, iOS has over 2.6 per cent share as of July 2019. KaiOS has over 4.3 per cent share in the country.
  • The emergence of KaiOS has led to the growth of a new category of devices — smart feature phones. For those who cannot afford a smartphone, these devices have proved to be a boon as they allow users to connect to the Internet, thereby bridging the digital divide.

5. UPS Joins Self-Driving Race By Investing In Autonomous Tech Startup TuSimple

  • UPS is jumping into the self-driving vehicle world by investing in TuSimple, a fast-moving developer of robot truck technology that the Atlanta-based shipping giant sees as offering opportunities to boost its on-road safety and efficiency.
  • The investment, the first by a major fleet operator into an autonomous truck company, closed this week and gives UPS a minority stake in the San Diego-based startup that also has operations in China. Neither company is disclosing the amount. The new funds follow a $95 million round announced in February that pushed TuSimple’s valuation to $1 billion. It will be used for “our general development efforts to a commercial Level-4 truck solution,” TuSimple CFO Cheng Lu says.

6. The Energy Revolution Happening At The End Of The World

  • Innovation and perseverance are two of the most important qualities that Dr. Laura Watts identifies as the driving forces behind the renewable energy revolution taking place in the Orkney Islands. The Scottish archipelago is on the leading edge of the world’s energy future and as Dr. Watts explores in her recent book, Energy At The End Of The World, the projects taking place in Orkney are at the cutting-edge of technology.
  • Many islands serve as incubators for innovation. Necessity is the mother of invention, and so many islanders have long had to make do in conditions that have pushed them to adapt. Scotland’s far north is home to some of the most extreme weather in Europe, which can also be seen as an opportunity. From the high winds to the large waves that sculpt Orkney’s coastline, the potential for renewable energy seems endless .

7. The World’s Largest Electric Ferry Has Completed Its Maiden Voyage

  • “E-Ferry Ellen”, the world’s largest all-electric ferry, has made its maiden voyage connecting the island of Aerø, population 6,000, to the rest of Denmark. The route is 22 nautical miles long.
  • The ferry, which now connects the Danish ports of Søby and Fynshav, was built at the shipyard on the island of Als through a partnership between Aerø Municipality and the European Union. The project is part of Danish Natura, which aims to provide environmentally friendly transport for local residents. It was initiated in 2015 and was funded by the EU through the Horizon 2020 and Innovation Program.

For previous edition of TechBits, click here. 

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