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MIT spinout NuTonomy just beat Uber to launch the world’s first self-driving taxi

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Uber has taken the plaudits for its audacious plan to deploy driverless cars as soon as this month, but the U.S. giant has been beaten to the punch for actually introducing autonomous vehicles by a far lower-profile company that is working on the other side of the world in Singapore.

NuTonomy, a three-year-old company that span out of MIT, announced that its first autonomous vehicles available for public hire have hit the roads of the Southeast Asian country today.

The name may not be familiar, but this development hasn’t come out of the blue. Cambridge, MA-based NuTonomy has been working with authorities in Singapore for some time as part of the country’s focus on surfacing new technology. Indeed, the Singapore Economic Development Board itself was one of a number of high-profile backers to take part in NuTonomy’s $16 million Series A financing round in May this year.

As we wrote then, the company plans to introduce a fully-autonomous “robo” taxi service by 2018. Today’s announcement is a major step towards that goal, but NuTonomy has been privately testing self-driving cars in Singapore since April. It is also conducting trials in London and Michigan, and counts Jaguar Land Rover among its partners.

Singapore is the real test bed thanks to the support of authorities in the country, who are switched on by the potential to embrace technology to reduce congestion and cars ownership.

The public trial is a world-first, but it is starting in a small, controlled environment.

Customers can use NuTonomy’s app to summon a ride for free, but it is limiting availability to a 2.5km square business district area in Singapore — “One North” — with just a handful of cars, all of which are a Renault Zoe or a Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Like Uber, the setup does require some human presence. Each car will include a NuTonomy engineer who will “observe system performance and assume control if needed to ensure passenger comfort and safety.”

The trials are likely to be hugely impacting for NuTonomy with the data captured from public rides going towards hitting that target of a fully self-driving car fleet by 2018.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick refused to be drawn on timeframes for when Uber will expand its self-driving car push. That’s where NuTonomy has a huge advantage in Singapore, a country that is just 720 km square with a government that pushes technology through a smart city program which includes open data, APIs and more.

“NuTonomy’s first-in-the-world public trial is a direct reflection of the level of maturity that we have achieved with our AV software system. The trial represents an extraordinary opportunity to collect feedback from riders in a real-world setting, and this feedback will give NuTonomy a unique advantage as we work toward deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2018,” NuTonomy CEO and co-founder Karl Iagnemma said in a statement.

To speed its development, Uber snapped up self-driving tech startup Otto in rare acquisition that could be worth as much as $600 million. Given that Otto only launched publicly in May, that’s a pretty quick and enthusiastic pick-up from Uber, to say the least. It makes you wonder if Kalanick and co made efforts to acquire NuTonomy, given that knowledge of its technology has been in the public domain for some time and it has clearly made progress, too.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/xxDaxaRUU7c/


MIT spinout NuTonomy just beat Uber to launch the world’s first self-driving taxi

0 comments


Uber has taken the plaudits for its audacious plan to deploy driverless cars as soon as this month, but the U.S. giant has been beaten to the punch for actually introducing autonomous vehicles by a far lower-profile company that is working on the other side of the world in Singapore.

NuTonomy, a three-year-old company that span out of MIT, announced that its first autonomous vehicles available for public hire have hit the roads of the Southeast Asian country today.

The name may not be familiar, but this development hasn’t come out of the blue. Cambridge, MA-based NuTonomy has been working with authorities in Singapore for some time as part of the country’s focus on surfacing new technology. Indeed, the Singapore Economic Development Board itself was one of a number of high-profile backers to take part in NuTonomy’s $16 million Series A financing round in May this year.

As we wrote then, the company plans to introduce a fully-autonomous “robo” taxi service by 2018. Today’s announcement is a major step towards that goal, but NuTonomy has been privately testing self-driving cars in Singapore since April. It is also conducting trials in London and Michigan, and counts Jaguar Land Rover among its partners.

Singapore is the real test bed thanks to the support of authorities in the country, who are switched on by the potential to embrace technology to reduce congestion and cars ownership.

The public trial is a world-first, but it is starting in a small, controlled environment.

Customers can use NuTonomy’s app to summon a ride for free, but it is limiting availability to a 2.5km square business district area in Singapore — “One North” — with just a handful of cars, all of which are a Renault Zoe or a Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Like Uber, the setup does require some human presence. Each car will include a NuTonomy engineer who will “observe system performance and assume control if needed to ensure passenger comfort and safety.”

The trials are likely to be hugely impacting for NuTonomy with the data captured from public rides going towards hitting that target of a fully self-driving car fleet by 2018.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick refused to be drawn on timeframes for when Uber will expand its self-driving car push. That’s where NuTonomy has a huge advantage in Singapore, a country that is just 720 km square with a government that pushes technology through a smart city program which includes open data, APIs and more.

“NuTonomy’s first-in-the-world public trial is a direct reflection of the level of maturity that we have achieved with our AV software system. The trial represents an extraordinary opportunity to collect feedback from riders in a real-world setting, and this feedback will give NuTonomy a unique advantage as we work toward deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2018,” NuTonomy CEO and co-founder Karl Iagnemma said in a statement.

To speed its development, Uber snapped up self-driving tech startup Otto in rare acquisition that could be worth as much as $600 million. Given that Otto only launched publicly in May, that’s a pretty quick and enthusiastic pick-up from Uber, to say the least. It makes you wonder if Kalanick and co made efforts to acquire NuTonomy, given that knowledge of its technology has been in the public domain for some time and it has clearly made progress, too.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/xxDaxaRUU7c/


Fujifilm debuts improved X-A3 mirrorless and fast, weather-proof 23mm lens

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It’s a good day for photographers who favor the Fujifilm system. The camera company announced an update to its X-A series mirrorless cameras and solid new lens today.

The X-A3’s main update is the sensor, a new 24.2-megapixel model — up from 16 on the X-A2. Unfortunately, although the megapixel count is similar, it isn’t the same sensor or image processor as you’d find in the X-Pro2 and X-T2, Fuji’s high-end mirrorless offerings. It does, however, have expanded focus modes and, of course, a few million more pixels on it.

To videographers’ delight, the X-A2 will also now shoot at 60p, 50p, and 24p in addition to the standard 30p. No 4K, though; you’re limited to 1080/720 vertical pixels.

fujirearview

This camera is at the low end of the interchangeable lens pile, meaning it’s aimed at a more casual crowd — the kind that appreciates a good selfie. To that end, the rear LCD flips up, and the camera begins hunting for eyes to focus on. You can also set it up so you hit the shutter button but the shot only fires when you and your friends all get near each other and smile.

This is all on the well-established and charming retro-style, dial-covered body that Fujifilm has excelled in creating over the last few years. There’s an improved faux leather finish now, too.

fujilensYou’ll be able to pick up the X-A3 for $600 with the standard 16-60mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens, or less without. Get the black one.

If you already have a decent camera body, though, you might be tempted by the lens Fuji announced today. It’s a $450 23mm F/2 that, unlike many of its brethren at that focal length and speed, is also weather sealed.

Keep in mind that there’s not much point to that unless your camera is sealed, too — something that doesn’t happen until the X-T series in the Fujifilm lineup.

Featured Image: Fujifilm

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/ixd28R3eICw/


Fujifilm debuts improved X-A3 mirrorless and fast, weather-proof 23mm lens

0 comments


It’s a good day for photographers who favor the Fujifilm system. The camera company announced an update to its X-A series mirrorless cameras and solid new lens today.

The X-A3’s main update is the sensor, a new 24.2-megapixel model — up from 16 on the X-A2. Unfortunately, although the megapixel count is similar, it isn’t the same sensor or image processor as you’d find in the X-Pro2 and X-T2, Fuji’s high-end mirrorless offerings. It does, however, have expanded focus modes and, of course, a few million more pixels on it.

To videographers’ delight, the X-A2 will also now shoot at 60p, 50p, and 24p in addition to the standard 30p. No 4K, though; you’re limited to 1080/720 vertical pixels.

fujirearview

This camera is at the low end of the interchangeable lens pile, meaning it’s aimed at a more casual crowd — the kind that appreciates a good selfie. To that end, the rear LCD flips up, and the camera begins hunting for eyes to focus on. You can also set it up so you hit the shutter button but the shot only fires when you and your friends all get near each other and smile.

This is all on the well-established and charming retro-style, dial-covered body that Fujifilm has excelled in creating over the last few years. There’s an improved faux leather finish now, too.

fujilensYou’ll be able to pick up the X-A3 for $600 with the standard 16-60mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens, or less without. Get the black one.

If you already have a decent camera body, though, you might be tempted by the lens Fuji announced today. It’s a $450 23mm F/2 that, unlike many of its brethren at that focal length and speed, is also weather sealed.

Keep in mind that there’s not much point to that unless your camera is sealed, too — something that doesn’t happen until the X-T series in the Fujifilm lineup.

Featured Image: Fujifilm

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/ixd28R3eICw/


Canon presents strong case with the EOS 5D Mark IV’s 34MP sensor and 4K

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One of the most beloved camera series out there, the Canon EOS Mark 5D was due for a refresh. Announced today, Mark IV of the EOS 5D brings a 30.4 megapixel full frame sensor,with 4K video capability, so this is truly an elite camera. Some of the specifications that have come to our attention include a full-frame 30.4 megapixel CMOS sensor with ISO range 100–32,000; still expandable up to 50–102,400.

Being a camera that’s suitable for many different shooting scenarios, Canon include specs such as 7 fps continuous shooting, a 3.2-inch touch screen and WiFi capabilities.

hr-5d-markiv-ef24-105-3q-cl-1For the first time on a EOS 5D, Canon included 4K video recording at 30fps, while 1080p HD at 60 fps remains as a staple feature. Canon cameras are well known for their video capabilities, and if put through its paces, can produce shoots of merit — I’d have to evaluate Mark IV, of course.

Perhaps some of the most interested additions to the EOS 5D is going to be the 61-point AF system, which is insane to even think of. Paired with dual pixel focusing technology (the same tech licensed to Samsung for its Galaxy S7 family of cameras). Meanwhile, Canon’s DIGIC 6+ Image processor runs the show with a cunning 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor.

It’ll come out in September for $3,499, body-only. If a lens kit is more to your fancy, then Canon will eventuality sell you a EF24-70mm f/4L lens for $4,399 early next month, or with a EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens for $4,599 in late October.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/nI7HbNgT8qk/


Canon presents strong case with the EOS 5D Mark IV’s 34MP sensor and 4K

0 comments

One of the most beloved camera series out there, the Canon EOS Mark 5D was due for a refresh. Announced today, Mark IV of the EOS 5D brings a 30.4 megapixel full frame sensor,with 4K video capability, so this is truly an elite camera. Some of the specifications that have come to our attention include a full-frame 30.4 megapixel CMOS sensor with ISO range 100–32,000; still expandable up to 50–102,400.

Being a camera that’s suitable for many different shooting scenarios, Canon include specs such as 7 fps continuous shooting, a 3.2-inch touch screen and WiFi capabilities.

hr-5d-markiv-ef24-105-3q-cl-1For the first time on a EOS 5D, Canon included 4K video recording at 30fps, while 1080p HD at 60 fps remains as a staple feature. Canon cameras are well known for their video capabilities, and if put through its paces, can produce shoots of merit — I’d have to evaluate Mark IV, of course.

Perhaps some of the most interested additions to the EOS 5D is going to be the 61-point AF system, which is insane to even think of. Paired with dual pixel focusing technology (the same tech licensed to Samsung for its Galaxy S7 family of cameras). Meanwhile, Canon’s DIGIC 6+ Image processor runs the show with a cunning 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor.

It’ll come out in September for $3,499, body-only. If a lens kit is more to your fancy, then Canon will eventuality sell you a EF24-70mm f/4L lens for $4,399 early next month, or with a EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens for $4,599 in late October.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/nI7HbNgT8qk/


Pokémon Go is boosting competitor in-app purchase revenue, too

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While Pokémon Go is definitely the primary benefactor of its own success, that doesn’t mean it’s hurting its competition in the mobile gaming space. New data from mobile commerce provider DOCOMO Digital has found that in fact, the Google Play Store’s top four grossing apps have seen a 10 percent increase in overall revenue from their games in Europe since the debut of Pokémon Go.

Niantic claims the crown of highest earner, of course, and initially did cause a bit of a dip in spend among the completion. But spending quickly returned to pre-Pokémon levels – and then leapt ahead, rising higher than they had been before the game’s launch.

image01

Mobile revenue income from Google Play Store. Source: DOCOMO Digital MNO partners in Europe

The Niantic competitors DOCOMO Digital looked at for the snapshot included King, the firm behind Candy Crush, and Supercell, as well as Peak Games and Google. Across the board, developers saw lift, and the takeaway is that games like Pokémon Go which convince users to spend results in a net positive effect on user attitude towards spending in general. In other words, once people starting buying Pokéballs, they were far more comfortable with the idea of buying digital goods in general.

What’s bizarre, though, is that DOCOMO Digital didn’t see the same effect when they looked back at the launch of other big in-app purchase games, like Clash Royale and Candy Crush Saga. The games themselves enjoyed spending spikes, in those cases, but others did not. The firm attributes Pokémon Go’s unique effect in this regard to how big it got so quickly, which resulted in a much bigger door opening effect for users enabling direct carrier billing. Once it was enabled for a large group of uses new to the payment method, many of those started employing it elsewhere, too.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/x0AmAU3IC4Q/


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