Connect with us

Uncategorized

Apple Maps to gain Waze-like features for reporting accidents, hazards and speed traps

Published

on

Apple Maps is inching into more Waze-like territory with an update that will give drivers the ability to report road hazards, accidents, or even speed traps. The new features are live now in the iOS 14.5 beta, which is now open to public beta testers as well as developers, but won’t roll out to the general public until later this spring, Apple says.

To use the new features, drivers will be able to report road issues and incidents by using Siri on their iPhone or through Apple’s CarPlay. For example, during navigation, they’ll be able to tell Siri things like “there’s a crash up head,” “there’s something on the road,” or “there’s a speed trap here.” They’ll also be able to correct stale accident or hazard alert information by saying things like “the hazard is gone” or the “incident is no longer here.”

While using Siri makes the reporting experience safer, the updated app will also allow users to swipe up on the map to tap a report button to alert others to accidents, hazards or speed traps, as well.

The update could present a challenge to Google-owned navigation app Waze, which has long been a popular tool for staying alerted to road conditions, hazards, accidents and police presence. In Waze, users can interact by touching the screen or issuing commands through Google Assistant, but voice support for iOS users, naturally, is more limited. Today, Waze supports the use of Siri Shortcuts, which have to be manually configured and added to Siri, for example.

The new Apple Maps features could also make Apple’s app more appealing to users who feel their user data is safer within Apple’s ecosystem, thanks to the work Apple has done to position itself as the company that cares more about consumer privacy.

Notable, too, is the addition of speed traps, which represents a shift in direction for Apple Maps. Historically, Apple has been opposed to including police warnings in its product. But that lack of support has contributed to Google’s ability to dominate the navigation and mapping market on mobile devices.

Apple’s decision here also follows an expansion of Waze-like features to Google Maps, blurring the distinctions between Google’s two navigation products even further. And as Google continued to roll out the ability to report accidents, traffic, speed traps and more to Google Maps users on iOS, it made it even harder for anyone who would have otherwise considered switching to Apple Maps to make the jump.

Apple, belatedly, has seemed to realize this as well.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

Continue Reading
Comments

Uncategorized

Qualcomm veteran to replace Alain Crozier as Microsoft Greater China boss

Published

on

Microsoft gets a new leader for its Greater China business. Yang Hou, a former executive at Qualcomm, will take over Alain Crozier as the chairman and chief executive officer for Microsoft Greater China Region, according to a company announcement released Monday.

More to come…

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Autonomous drone maker Skydio raises $170M led by Andreessen Horowitz

Published

on

Skydio has raised $170 million in a Series D funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Growth Fund. That pushes it into unicorn territory, with $340 million in total funding and a post-money valuation north of $1 billion. Skydio’s fresh capital comes on the heels of its expansion last year into the enterprise market, and it intends to use the considerable pile of cash to help it expand globally and accelerate product development.

In July of last year, Skydio announced its $100 million Series C financing, and also debuted the X2, its first dedicated enterprise drone. The company also launched a suite of software for commercial and enterprise customers, its first departure from the consumer drone market where it had been focused prior to that raise since its founding in 2014.

Skydio’s debut drone, the R1, received a lot of accolades and praise for its autonomous capabilities. Unlike other consumer drones at the time, including from recreational drone maker DJI, the R1 could track a target and film them while avoiding obstacles without any human intervention required. Skydio then released the Skydio 2 in 2019, its second drone, cutting off more than half the price while improving on it its autonomous tracking and video capabilities.

Late last year, Skydio brought on additional senior talent to help it address enterprise and government customers, including a software development lead who had experience at Tesla and 3D printing company Carbon. Skydio also hired two Samsara executives at the same time to work on product and engineering. Samsara provides a platform for managing cloud-based fleet operations for large enterprises.

The applications of Skydio’s technology for commercial, public sector and enterprise organizations are many and varied. Already, the company works with public utilities, fire departments, construction firms and more to do work including remote inspection, emergency response, urban planning and more. Skydio’s U.S. pedigree also puts it in prime position to capitalize on the growing interest in applications from the defense sector.

a16z previously led Skydio’s Series A round. Other investors who participated in this Series D include Lines Capital, Next47, IVP and UP.Partners.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Space startup Gitai raises $17.1M to help build the robotic workforce of commercial space

Published

on

Japanese space startup Gitai has raised a $17.1 million funding round, a Series B financing for the robotics startup. This new funding will be used for hiring, as well as funding the development and execution of an on-orbit demonstration mission for the company’s robotic technology, which will show its efficacy in performing in-space satellite servicing work. That mission is currently set to take place in 2023.

Gitai will also be staffing up in the U.S., specifically, as it seeks to expand its stateside presence in a bid to attract more business from that market.

“We are proceeding well in the Japanese market, and we’ve already contracted missions from Japanese companies, but we haven’t expanded to the U.S. market yet,” explained Gitai founder and CEO Sho Nakanose in an interview. So we would like to get missions from U.S. commercial space companies, as a subcontractor first. We’re especially interested in on-orbit servicing, and we would like to provide general-purpose robotic solutions for an orbital service provider in the U.S.”

Nakanose told me that Gitai has plenty of experience under its belt developing robots which are specifically able to install hardware on satellites on-orbit, which could potentially be useful for upgrading existing satellites and constellations with new capabilities, for changing out batteries to keep satellites operational beyond their service life, or for repairing satellites if they should malfunction.

Gitai’s focus isn’t exclusively on extra-vehicular activity in the vacuum of space, however. It’s also performing a demonstration mission of its technical capabilities in partnership with Nanoracks using the Bishop Airlock, which is the first permanent commercial addition to the International Space Station. Gitai’s robot, codenamed S1, is an arm–style robot not unlike industrial robots here on Earth, and it’ll be showing off a number of its capabilities, including operating a control panel and changing out cables.

Long-term, Gitai’s goal is to create a robotic workforce that can assist with establishing bases and colonies on the Moon and Mars, as well as in orbit. With NASA’s plans to build a more permanent research presence on orbit at the Moon, as well as on the surface, with the eventual goal of reaching Mars, and private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin looking ahead to more permanent colonies on Mars, as well as large in-space habitats hosting humans as well as commercial activity, Nakanose suggests that there’s going to be ample need for low-cost, efficient robotic labor – particularly in environments that are inhospitable to human life.

Nakanose told me that he actually got started with Gitai after the loss of his mother – an unfortunate passing he said he firmly believes could have been avoided with the aid of robotic intervention. He began developing robots that could expand and augment human capability, and then researched what was likely the most useful and needed application of this technology from a commercial perspective. That research led Nakanose to conclude that space was the best long-term opportunity for a new robotics startup, and Gitai was born.

This funding was led by SPARX Innovation for the Future Co. Ltd, and includes funding form DcI Venture Growth Fund, the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, and EP-GB (Epson’s venture investment arm).

Continue Reading

Trending