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Daily Crunch: Spotify unveils an in-car entertainment system

Spotify wants to have a bigger presence in your car, Apple hints at iPad-centric announcements and Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop goes on sale. This is your Daily Crunch for April 13, 2021. The big story: Spotify unveils an in-car entertainment system Spotify’s new device is the oddly (but memorably!) named Car Thing. While there are plenty of other ways to listen to Spotify while driving, the company said this will provide a “more seamless” and personalized experience. Car Thing includes a touc...
Tags: Apple, Spotify, Hardware, Media, Microsoft, Tech, Automotive, Epic, Startup Alley, Facebook Instagram, Fortnite, Oversight Board, Daily Crunch, JP Morgan Mastercard UBS, LinkedIn Extra Crunch


Highlights from Berkeley SkyDeck’s virtual demo day

With 17 startups participating, Berkeley SkyDeck’s Demo Day isn’t the largest cohort we’ve seen by any stretch. The collection of companies is, however, defined by a wide range of focuses, from pioneering diabetes treatments to retrofitting autonomous trucking, curated by the SkyDeck’s small team and a number of advisors. Founded in 2012, the accelerator is focused on developing early-stage companies tied to the University of California system. Applicants must be affiliated with either one of th...
Tags: Startups, Hardware, Funding, Tech, Automotive, Venture Capital, Biotech, Robotics, Berkeley, University Of California, Los Alamos, Uc-berkeley, Skydeck, Kiwi, Ontario, UCSF


Starship Technologies CEO/CTO Ahti Heinla joins TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

For obvious reasons, food delivery was among the categories that soared during a year of Covid-19 related lockdowns. The question remains how these changes will impact both grocery and restaurant delivery long-term, but at the very least, it seems certain that the categories have hit an inflection point. This could also be the moment that delivery robotics finally come into their own, as more services look beyond human messengers to plan for future pandemics and other potential issues. It’s a mo...
Tags: Food, Transportation, Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Mobility, Food Delivery, Robotics, Robot, TechCrunch, Starship Technologies, Ahti Heinla, Starship, Ahti, Tc Sessions, TC Sessions: Mobility 2021


Australian lidar maker Baraja collects $31M B round to illuminate the future of autonomy

Lidar companies across the planet are going SPAC, but Baraja isn’t in a hurry to go public. The Australian lidar maker has raised a $31M B round to continue the deployment and development of its “unique and ingenious” imaging system, with participation beyond the usual VC suspects. Baraja’s lidar uses what the company calls SpectrumScan, letting physics do the hard work of directing the light. By passing its laser through a prism, different wavelengths of light go in different directions — and w...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, Gadgets, Hardware, Funding, Tech, Automotive, Cto, SPAC, RMA, Blackbird Ventures, Recent Funding, Baraja, Federico Collarte, Collarte, Cibby Pulikkaseril


Startups look beyond lidar for autonomous vehicle perception

Last CES was a time of reckoning for lidar companies, many of which were cratering due to a lack of demand from a (still) non-existent autonomous vehicle industry. The few that excelled did so by specializing, and this year the trend has pushed beyond lidar, with new sensing and imaging methods pushing to both compete with and complement the laser-based tech. Lidar pushed ahead of traditional cameras because it could do things they couldn’t — and now some companies are pushing to do the same wit...
Tags: TC, Gadgets, Transportation, Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Autonomous Vehicles, Dslr, Lidar, Daimler, McIntyre, Sense Photonics, Nodar, Nodar COO, Brad Rosen, Shauna McIntyre Sense


Improving sound for hardware giants, Sweden’s Dirac finds its niche in China

The rise of U.S.-China tensions has accelerated the bifurcation of global technology, with the two superpowers each working on their own tech systems. While the rift might be discouraging cross-border investment and business expansion between the rivals, the countries that are in-between — like those in Southeast Asia and Europe — are still finding opportunities. Sweden’s Dirac is such an example. The 15-year-old firm has been licensing sound optimization technology to mobile, home entertainm...
Tags: Asia, Europe, Japan, Hardware, Sweden, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Tech, Automotive, Shanghai, Xiaomi, Speaker, Manufacturing, Huawei, Self-driving Car


Virtual Mobility startup pitch night applications open

TechCrunch is on the hunt to feature 10 early-stage mobility startups at our virtual TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 pitch night. The pitch-off event, originally set for May, will now be held October 5th – the evening before Mobility 2020.  The top five companies from pitch night will take the stage at the main event with industry heavy hitters like  Boris Sofman of Waymo and Nancy Sun of Ike to Trucks VC’s Reilly Brennan. Now we are shining a light on game changing startups – hardware and software b...
Tags: TC, Hardware, Cars, Tech, Mobility, Reilly Brennan, Waymo, Boris Sofman, TC Sessions: Mobility 2020, Nancy Sun of Ike


Where these 4 top VCs are investing in manufacturing

Even though it’s a vast sector in the midst of transformation, manufacturing is often overlooked by early-stage investors. We surveyed top VCs in the industry to gather their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing manufacturing. Traditionally, manufacturing companies are capital-intensive and can be slow to implement new technology and processes. The investors in the survey below acknowledge the long-standing barriers facing founders in this space, yet they see large opportuniti...
Tags: Startups, TC, Science, Hardware, Tech, Remote Work, Automotive, Venture Capital, Manufacturing, Robotics, Eclipse Ventures, Dayna Grayson, Lior Susan, Extra Crunch, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Smart driving assistant Automatic is shutting down

Automatic, makers of a connected car dongle, emailed customers today to announce that the company will shut down all operations May 28. The company says it’s the casualty of the COVID-19 shutdown. “Like many other companies in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted our business,” it writes, “and we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Automatic connected car product, service, and platform.” The information, also posted to the company’s site, notes th...
Tags: Hardware, California, Tech, Automotive, United States, Automatic, Sdk, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Ford partners with Thermo Fisher on COVID-19 test kits, expands production to face masks, gowns

Ford has expanded its plan to produce critical medical equipment and supplies, including a new effort to make reusable gowns from airbag materials as well as a partnership with scientific instrument provider Thermo Fisher Scientific to ramp up production of COVID-19 collection kits to test for the virus. This broader plan highlights the latest effort by automakers and medical device manufacturers to help ease a shortage of equipment and supplies such as face shields, face masks, protective go...
Tags: Health, TC, Hardware, Supply Chain, Tech, Automotive, Ford, Michigan, 3m, Henry Ford, UAW, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Thermo Fisher, Kansas City Assembly Plant, Plymouth Mich, Vreeland


Ford partners with Thermo Fisher on COVID-19 collection kits, expands production to face masks, gowns

Ford has expanded its plan to produce critical medical equipment and supplies, including a new effort to make reusable gowns from airbag materials as well as a partnership with scientific instrument provider Thermo Fisher Scientific to ramp up production of COVID-19 collection kits to test for the virus. This broader plan highlights the latest effort by automakers and medical device manufacturers to help ease a shortage of equipment and supplies such as face shields, face masks, protective go...
Tags: Health, TC, Hardware, Supply Chain, Tech, Automotive, Ford, Michigan, 3m, Henry Ford, UAW, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Thermo Fisher, Kansas City Assembly Plant, Plymouth Mich, Vreeland


Ford, 3M, GE and the UAW to build respirators, ventilators and faceshields for coronavirus fight

Ford announced the details of its current manufacturing efforts around building much-needed medical supplies for front-line healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients on Tuesday. Its efforts include building Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) with partner 3M, including a new design that employs existing parts from both partners to deliver effectiveness and highly-scalable production capacity. Ford says that it’s also going to be building face shields, leaning on its 3D printing capabilities...
Tags: Health, Startups, TC, UK, Hardware, Ge, China, Spokesperson, Tesla, Companies, Automotive, United States, Ford, United Kingdom, President, Michigan


As autonomy stalls, lidar companies learn to adapt

Lidar sensors are likely to be essential to autonomous vehicles, but if there are none of the latter, how can you make money with the former? Among the industry executives I spoke with, the outlook is optimistic as they unhitch their wagons from the sputtering star of self-driving cars. As it turns out, a few years of manic investment does wonders for those who have the wisdom to apply it properly. The show floor at CES 2020 was packed with lidar companies exhibiting in larger spaces, seemingly ...
Tags: TC, Gadgets, Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Robotics, Lidar, Innoviz


Baraja’s unique and ingenious take on lidar shines in a crowded industry

It seems like every company making lidar has a new and clever approach, but Baraja takes the cake. Its method is not only elegant and powerful, but fundamentally avoids many issues that nag other lidar technologies. But it’ll need more than smart tech to make headway in this complex and evolving industry. To understand how lidar works in general, consult my handy introduction to the topic. Essentially a laser emitted by a device skims across or otherwise very quickly illuminates the scene, and t...
Tags: Startups, TC, Gadgets, Wtf, Hardware, Tech, Ces, Pink Floyd, Automotive, Lasers, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Lidar, Baraja, Federico Collarte, Collarte


Mophie’s newest battery pack ships with jumper cables to start your car

As of this week’s CES, Mophie can add cars to the growing list of things powered with its battery line. It was a matter of time, I suppose. Certainly the company’s not the first to offer this level of charge in a portable power bank, but the new Powerstation Go brings an extra level of juice to its offerings. The new brick is also unique in the Mophie line in its inclusion of mini jumper cables, which harness the weighty 44,400mWh of charge to jump start a car or SUV. Sounds like a pretty ha...
Tags: Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Mophie, Battery Pack, CES 2020


Echodyne steers its high-tech radar beam on autonomous cars with EchoDrive

Echodyne set the radar industry on its ear when it debuted its pocket-sized yet hyper-capable radar unit for drones and aircraft. But these days all the action is in autonomous vehicles — so they reinvented their technology to make a unique sensor that doesn’t just see things but can communicate intelligently with the AI behind the wheel. EchoDrive, the company’s new product, is aimed squarely at AVs, looking to complement lidar and cameras with automotive radar that’s as smart as you need it...
Tags: Gadgets, Transportation, Hardware, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Autonomous Vehicles, Radar, Robotics, Eben Frankenberg, Echodyne, Frankenberg


Sense Photonics brings its fancy new flash lidar to market

There’s no shortage of lidar solutions available for autonomous vehicles, drones, and robots — theoretically, anyway. But getting a lidar unit from theory to mass production might be harder than coming up with the theory in the first place. Sense Photonics appears to have made it past that part of the journey, and is now offering its advanced flash lidar for pre-order. Lidar comes in a variety of form factors, but the spinning type we’ve seen so much of is on its way out and more compact, rel...
Tags: Startups, Gadgets, Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Lidar, LUMINAR, Sense Photonics


FIR 187: It may be a Car but it Sounds like a Starship

With this September 2019 episode of The Hobson and Holtz Report or FIR 187, Shel and I discuss a handful of notable, even memorable, topics and include a segment we recorded two weeks beforehand in Winchester when we were together during Shel’s UK trip. Automotive is a star feature of our discussion with a detailed exchange of views and thoughts on news out of the US about regulatory developments regarding electric cars, specifically on the sound they make. Which is a thing that conce...
Tags: Business, UK, Technology, London, Hardware, Marketing, US, Trends, Brand, Communication, Public Relations, Blogging, Artificial Intelligence, Software, Automotive, House


Uber Completes $8.1B Public Market Debut in Spite of Tumultuous Past

Ride-hailing giant Uber secured $8.1 billion in new capital late Thursday as it priced an initial public offering that set its market capitalization at $82.4 billion, according to calculations by The New York Times and other news outlets.Uber announced late Thursday it will sell 180 million shares of common stock at $45 apiece when it completes the IPO. That price is near the lowest end of the range Uber set at $44 to $50 in the amended prospectus it filed on April 26.Uber (NYSE: UBER) will sta...
Tags: Google, Deals, Transportation, Mobile, Lyft, Uber, Hardware, Marketplace, Workplace, Internet, Entrepreneurship, Ipo, Funding, San Francisco, Trends, Tech


This self-driving AI faced off against a champion racer (kind of)

Developments in the self-driving car world can sometimes be a bit dry: a million miles without an accident, a 10 percent increase in pedestrian detection range, and so on. But this research has both an interesting idea behind it and a surprisingly hands-on method of testing: pitting the vehicle against a real racing driver on a course. To set expectations here, this isn’t some stunt, it’s actually warranted given the nature of the research, and it’s not like they were trading positions, jockeyin...
Tags: Gadgets, Transportation, Science, Hardware, California, Stanford, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Self-driving Cars, Robotics, Audi, Thunderhill Raceway Park, Spielberg, Stanford University, SHELLEY


This self-driving AI faced off against an champion racer (kind of)

Developments in the self-driving car world can sometimes be a bit dry: a million miles without an accident, a 10 percent increase in pedestrian detection range, and so on. But this research has both an interesting idea behind it and a surprisingly hands-on method of testing: pitting the vehicle against a real racing driver on a course. To set expectations here, this isn’t some stunt, it’s actually warranted given the nature of the research, and it’s not like they were trading positions, jockeyin...
Tags: Gadgets, Transportation, Science, Hardware, California, Stanford, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Self-driving Cars, Robotics, Audi, Thunderhill Raceway Park, Spielberg, Stanford University, SHELLEY


Mobileye CEO clowns on Nvidia for allegedly copying self-driving car safety scheme

While creating self-driving car systems, it’s natural that different companies might independently arrive at similar methods or results — but the similarities in a recent “first of its kind” Nvidia proposal to work done by Mobileye two years ago were just too much for the latter company’s CEO to take politely. Amnon Shashua, in a blog post on parent company Intel’s news feed cheekily titled “Innovation Requires Originality, openly mocks Nvidia’s “Safety Force Field,” pointing out innumerable ...
Tags: Travel, Google, TC, Gadgets, Transportation, Hardware, Intel, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Nvidia, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Robotics, SFF, Mobileye, Amnon Shashua


Gates-backed Lumotive upends lidar conventions using metamaterials

Pretty much every self-driving car on the road, not to mention many a robot and drone, uses lidar to sense its surroundings. But useful as lidar is, it also involves physical compromises that limit its capabilities. Lumotive is a new company with funding from Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures that uses metamaterials to exceed those limits, perhaps setting a new standard for the industry. The company is just now coming out of stealth, but it’s been in the works for a long time. I actually met ...
Tags: TC, Gadgets, Transportation, Accelerator, Wtf, Science, Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Bill Gates, Lasers, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Robotics, Lidar, Broadcom


After over a million pre-orders, Amazon’s Echo Auto has begun to ship

At Amazon’s event in September, the company announced the Echo Auto, an aftermarket product designed to bring Alexa to cars. But the device has remained in pre-order status, even as other products also unveiled at the same event — like the Fire TV Recast, AmazonBasics microwave and various Echo devices for the home — went on sale and shipped to customers. The Echo Auto, meanwhile, is still only available on an invite-only basis. But Amazon confirmed to TechCrunch that it has begun to ship the de...
Tags: Amazon, Auto, Echo, Europe, Hardware, Cars, Tech, Automotive, North America, Alexa, Bloomberg Amazon, CES 2019, Echo Auto, Amazon 's Echo Auto, Transportation at CES 2019, Steve Rabuchin VP Alexa


Qualcomm’s Cockpit Platform promises to make cars smarter

Qualcomm used its CES press conference today to announce the third generation of its Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform, its latest AI-centric platform for building in-car experiences that include everything from voice-driven interfaces to good-old navigation systems, all with modern visual interfaces. The platform now comes in three tiers — Performance, Premiere and Paramount — for entry-level, mid-tier and high-end platforms. The core is the same, though, and it’s built on top of the Sn...
Tags: Hardware, Tech, Automotive, Chips, Qualcomm, Paramount, Snapdragon, Qualcomm Technologies, Cockpit, Nakul Duggal, CES 2019, Cockpit Platform, Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform, Qualcomm Vision, Snapdragon Automotive Platforms


With today’s IPO sinking, a year of highs and lows for SoftBank

If there was a word that dominated startup and tech news coverage this year, it was SoftBank. The Japanese telecom conglomerate’s Vision Fund pushed out a prodigious amount of capital this year — quite literally billions of dollars — into companies as diverse as a molecular manufacturer (Zymergen) and a robotic pizza delivery business (Zume Pizza). It was a year of highs as its Flipkart transaction produced billions in returns, as well as a year of incredible lows, what with the crisis over Saud...
Tags: Apple, Amazon, TC, Uber, Asia, Japan, London, Hardware, Saudi Arabia, Finance, Government, Kingdom, Softbank, Tech, Walmart, Bloomberg


Despite objection, Congress passes bill that lets U.S. authorities shoot down private drones

U.S. authorities will soon have the authority to shoot down private drones if they are considered a threat — a move decried by civil liberties and rights groups. The Senate passed the FAA Reauthorization Act on Wednesday, months after an earlier House vote in April. The bill renews funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until 2023, and includes several provisions designed to modernize U.S aviation rule — from making commercial flights more comfortable for passengers to including n...
Tags: Security, Gadgets, Technology, Hardware, Privacy, Congress, Senate, White House, Islamic State, Tech, Law Enforcement, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Automotive, House, Aclu, Eff


Digital Alloys Adds $12.9M From VCs, Boeing for Metal 3D Printing

Metal-making 3D printer company Digital Alloys has raised a $12.9 million Series B round of funding from venture investors and businesses that hope to benefit from the company’s manufacturing technology.The new investment was led by G20 Ventures, while Boeing HorizonX Ventures, Lincoln Electric, and Khosla Ventures also participated. (Khosla led Digital Alloys’ $5 million Series A round of funding in 2017.) With the financing announcement, Digital Alloys said it had received two patents for its...
Tags: Startups, Hardware, Ge, Boston, Trends, Tech, Mit, Staples, Vc, Software, Automotive, 3d Printing, Manufacturing, Metal 3d Printing, Aerospace, Boeing


10 Must-Read Stories From Xconomy (and Elsewhere) This Week

Ah, Friday: The gateway to a relaxing weekend. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re starting your Friday off the right way with some casual reading.Here’s a peek at some of the fine work Xconomy editors have put out in the last week—and a few from other publications, too, that are very interesting reads. Enjoy.OUTBio, a Biopharma LGBTQ Group, Grows Fast & Ponders Its Future —Ben Fidler The history behind the founding of OUTBio, a networking organization for LGBTQ members of the biopharma ...
Tags: Translation, Startups, Technology, Hardware, Trends, Startup, Tech, Journalism, Best, Car, Gay, Automation, Gay Rights, Alzheimer's, National, Lgbtq


Uber in fatal crash detected pedestrian but had emergency braking disabled

The initial report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the fatal self-driving Uber crash in March confirms that the car detected the pedestrian as early as 6 seconds before the crash, but did not slow or stop because its emergency braking systems were deliberately disabled. Uber told the NTSB that “emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior,” in other words, to ensure a smooth ride. “...
Tags: TC, Gadgets, Transportation, Uber, Hardware, Government, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Arizona, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Volvo, Ntsb, National Transportation Safety Board, Christopher Hart



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