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June 30th, 2017 News of the Day: Korea's Kakao Raises $436M, Uber Updates Its New Self-driving Truck

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【Summary】News of the Day for June 30th, 2017.

Original Claire    Jun 30, 2017 1:42 PM PT
June 30th, 2017 News of the Day: Korea's Kakao Raises $436M, Uber Updates Its New Self-driving Truck

Chat app Kakao raises $437M for its ride-hailing service in Korea

Korea's top mobile messenger app Kakao announced today that it has spun out its mobility services unit as an individual entity, which received a $437 million investment from U.S. firm TPG, which was an early financial backer of Uber.

The spin-out is to foster "swift decision making and aggressive expansion," said Kakao, which merged with internet giant Daum in a multi-billion dollar deal in 2014.

Kakao Mobility is best known for its taxi service, which launched in Seoul two years ago. With the social networking app installed on over 95 percent of smartphones in Korea, Kakao expanded its service beyond messaging to ride-hailing. It now sees 1.5 million ride requests daily and now has services in Japan.

Elon Musk says the Boring Company's car elevator is operational

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Elon Musk updated on Twitter with a video today that the car elevator in his bold plan of the Boring Company will be "operating" next week.

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The video in twitter showed the newly installed steel structure that will form the base of the elevator.

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The car elevator in Musk's design is to ferry people or cars in underground tunnels for transportation.Elon Musk firstly revealed the Boring Company's existence at the end of April, envisioning the possibility of building overlayering tunnels underground to move people and cars on electric sleds at the speed of 125mph. The first tunnel will be built from Los Angeles International Airport to Culver City, and then Santa Monica, with the route ending in Westwood.

Toyota completed its in-home robot trial in North America

Japanese automaker Toyota has recently finished its first in-home trial in North America on its Human Support Robot platform (HSR). The HSR is one of Toyota's mobility assistance bots which intended to improve the quality of people's everyday life.

Check out the video below:

In addition to HSR, Toyota is also developing robotic leg brace to help people walk, a tech that helps those with vision problems to be more aware of surroundings, and robots that transfer patients from bed to chairs. The automaker now has its Toyota Research Institute which was founded in 2016 to focus on AI and robotics for mobility solutions.

Uber updates its self-driving truck fleet with new technology

Uber's Advanced Technology Group has a new version of its self-driving truck. The truck features a 64-channel spinning lidar array, which was never used on any of Otto's previous test trucks.

The Uber ATG truck, previously related to Uber's acquired company Otto, has now dropped all of Otto's branding. However, Uber ATG's truck product manager Alden Woodrow told TechCrunch that the former Otto team based in San Francisco is still leading the truck tech.

"Most of our engineering effort is still based in San Francisco for the trucks. But one of the great things about being part of this larger team is we have team in Pittsburgh that has a really world-class team and that has had several years' head start on developing similar technologies." he said.

He further added that the truck's refreshed technology is independent from some of the things at issue with the Waymo lawsuit, being "a totally separate product."

Tesla Model 3 to release more details this coming Sunday

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Elon Musk replied to a twitter follower today that he will share more details about the upcoming Tesla Model 3 launch on Sunday.

Media speculated that the news release on Sunday could be more about the car model's configuration process, such as choosing the color of the car and the size of the wheels for the first orders, as the company wants to reduce complexity for its production line.

The more affordable Tesla model is expected to deliver in July, and the first deliveries are more likely an initial low-volume production for insider customers and employees. Media reported earlier that the scaled production of Model 3 is set to be approximately 5,000 vehicles per week by September.

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