Toyota gears up against Google, Ford, and Tesla with $100 million AI venture fund

Toyota gears up against Google, Ford, and Tesla with $100 million #AI venture fund

  • The new fund, officially a part of Toyota Research Institute, is called Toyota AI Ventures, and will concentrate its investments in four areas: artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous mobility, and data and cloud technology.
  • The effort should pit Toyota against a wide variety of big-name auto and tech-industry players, including Google, Tesla, Ford, and others.
  • Toyota AI Ventures, which is based in Silicon Valley, has already put money into three startups:  Israel’s Intuition Robotics, Silicon Valley’s Nauto, and England’s SlamCore.

The new fund, officially a part of Toyota Research Institute, is called Toyota AI Ventures, and will concentrate its inv

@chasethisnow: Toyota gears up against Google, Ford, and Tesla with $100 million #AI venture fund

The new fund, officially a part of Toyota Research Institute, is called Toyota AI Ventures, and will concentrate its investments in four areas: artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous mobility, and data and cloud technology. The effort should pit Toyota against a wide variety of big-name auto and tech-industry players, including Google, Tesla, Ford, and others.

Hotels have been pretty vocal about their aggravation over the rise of Airbnb, and some are putting their money where their mouth is. According to Bloomberg , some hotel-backed groups are running Airbnb sting operations in New York City, where it’s illegal to rent an entire unit for less than 30 days if the host isn’t present or if it’s being rented to more than two people. 

The group behind the sting operations is Share Better, which Bloomberg describes as “a partnership between hotel union and industry leaders aiming to expose illegal Airbnb activity.” They hire private investigators who book stays at Airbnb rentals in New York in the hopes of catching hosts ignoring the law and plan to spend $1 million of its members’ money to expedite the process of finding and removing illegal Airbnb listings. (They’re also helping run a parallel campaign in D.C. and advising one in L.A.)

While New York’s attorney general and the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement—which spends the bulk of its time cracking down on illegal rentals—are probably happy for the help, Airbnb and the hard-hustling hosts aren’t too thrilled by the move. “The hotel industry and its lobbyists are using Share Better to spy on New Yorkers,” Josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of New York public policy, told Bloomberg. “The city should reject these second-rate KGB spy tactics and work with Airbnb to sensibly regulate home-sharing.” Read the full story over at Bloomberg while rethinking your New York City vacation plans.

[Photo: anestiev via Pixabay]  ML

Get ready for a bigger HomeKit marketing push in Apple Stores. TechCrunch reports that 46 of Apple’s retail stores now offer interactive smart home demo stations, with virtual homes on big-screen displays, and iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches to control various appliances. It’s a sign that Apple is getting more serious about selling people on HomeKit as the ecosystem grows. Now all the company needs is a HomePod demo station to match. JN

Grab your water wings and SPF (er, maybe not) because we’re all going snorkeling on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In the past, visiting the massive coral reef required a ridiculously long flight, expensive plane ticket, and a willingness to tolerate proximity to sharks. Now it only requires access to Twitter’s live-streaming platform, Periscope.

On Thursday, traveling Periscope enthusiast Mitch Oates will take a dive into the natural wonder, live-streaming the experience on Periscope. Viewers can ask him questions via Twitter, which he will answer in real time thanks to a Twitter-equipped scuba mask of some sort. The event will feature interviews with marine experts and conservation advocates including Andy Ridley, from the socially driven nonprofit Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, according to TechAU. The event is intended to draw attention to the very real threat of climate change and will include tips for people interested in helping protect the natural site.

The ultrafast, newfangled transportation startup Hyperloop One says it may actually work. The company has announced that, in May, it was able to do a full system test at its own test loop in Nevada, reports CNBC. The test lasted a little over five seconds, and the system was able to reach a speed of about 70 miles-per-hour, using its system of electricity and magnetic levitation. This is just the beginning, says Hyperloop One. It has plans to do more tests and hopefully reach speeds near 250 miles per hour. The company has promised to by fully operational by 2020, but its so-called “Kitty Hawk” moment has proved elusive. 

If you’re a Nike fan, you’ll likely remember the Flyknit Racer shoe that launched at the 2012 London Olympics. Nike’s scientists had engineered a new high-tech yarn made out of an incredibly strong but lightweight synthetic fiber. 

After the shoe launched, designers in the women’s training division began wondering whether Flyknit could be used to help solve the problems that women commonly experience with high-support sports bras: chafing, constriction, sweatiness. They developed a prototype and then put the new bra through 600 hours of rigorous biomechanical testing. They had female athletes wear the bra while attached to sensors that identified areas of high heat, sweat, cooling, and movement, to fine-tune the bra to the  needs of customers. 

The final bra, which is called the FE/NOM Flyknit bra, launches today. It weighs only 73 grams, which is 30% less than any other bra in the Nike range. It is knit as a single piece of material and contains only one seam, whereas other high support Nike bras can have over 40 parts and dozens of seams. It is designed to be soft and airy, but supportive, so that the bra does not distract from your sport.

One of the biggest icebergs on ever recorded was just created after a chunk of ice the size of Delaware broke away from Antarctica this week. The 1-trillion-ton mass is basically a giant piece of an ice shelf called Larsen C, and researchers had known for a while that it was under duress. In November, NASA’s IceBridge mission took photos of what scientists called a “massive rift” in the peninsula.

Not many job seekers want to discuss what they made at their last job, according to the latest Glassdoor survey of 2,224 U.S. workers over 18. More than half (53%) said employers should not ask candidates, but among them, significantly more women (60%) than men (48%) believe they shouldn’t have to reveal their current or past salary history when negotiating a job offer.  

Recently, the cities of Philadelphia, New York City, and San Francisco, and the states of Massachusetts, Delaware, and Oregon have passed laws to make it illegal for employers to ask about salary history in an effort to tackle the gender wage gap perpetuated by the fact that 68% of women don’t negotiate pay. LD

The lawsuit was brought by seven people he blocked on Twitter and filed by Columbia University’s free speech group, the Knight First Amendment Institute, reports the BBC. When someone is blocked by a user on Twitter, that person can no longer see the tweets of the blocker. The lawsuit says that means the president is trying to “suppress dissent” in a public forum, which violates their First Amendment right to free speech. Jameel Jaffer, the executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, told the BBC that Trump’s rampant obsession with Twitter means the social network has become “an important source of news and information about the government”:

The hackers hit Sabre Hospitality Solutions, a reservation service used by Trump Hotels, to gain access to payment card information used by guests to book rooms, Gizmodo reports. Some of the hotels include the Central Park, Chicago, Las Vegas, D.C., and Vancouver properties. The unauthorized access happened between August 10, 2016 and March 9, 2017, and saw the payment card number, card expiration date, and, in some cases, card security codes, names, emails, and phone numbers accessed. Trump Hotels has published a letter detailing what to do if you are worried your details may have been accessed.  MG

Toyota gears up against Google, Ford, and Tesla with $100 million AI venture fund