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July 5th, 2017 News of the Day: Geely buys Terrafugia, Baidu announced 50 partners

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【Summary】News of the Day for July 5th, 2017.

Original Hillary    Jul 05, 2017 5:01 PM PT
July 5th, 2017 News of the Day: Geely buys Terrafugia, Baidu announced 50 partners

Geely buys flying car company Terrafugia

Geely, the parent company of German automaker Volvo, has just acquired the flying car company Terrafugia. The company, founded by MIT aerospace engineers, is one of the first to make a convincing flying car prototype called Transition. The aircraft has a cruising range of 400 miles and a top speed of 100 mph. The hybrid machine is also equipped with advanced autonomous technology, and has been approved by the General Aviation Administration as a Light Sport Aircraft.

Terrafugia is aimed to "create practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of personal freedom." As to why Geely as an automaker, acquired the company is yet to be known.

Baidu announced 50 partners in its self-driving development

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Baidu today announced 50 cooperating partners of its Apollo self-driving project at Baidu Create 2017. The notable manufacturers include Daimler, Ford, and 12 Chinese car makers, (BAIC BJEV, BAIC Group, Changan, Chery, Dongfeng Motor, FAW Group, Faw Jiefang, Foton, Great Wall Motors, JAC Motors, King Long, and NIO).

For tier 1 suppliers, Bosch and Continental Automotive are on the list. Some other key component providers are Nvidia, Microsoft Cloud, ZTE, Velodyne, and TomTom. Baidu also partnered with ridesharing companies in its Apollo project including UCAR and Grab Taxi.

In addition to the announcement, Baidu also claims that they are planning to get their autonomous vehicles on the road in China by 2019, and eyes on Google Waymo's self-driving package.

UVeye raises $4.5M to inspect underside of vehicle at security checkpoints

Israeli startup UVeye has just collected $4.5 million in seed funding, to develop computer vision and machine learning technology to help cars detect security threats. By scanning the underside of passing vehicles, UVeye's technology claims to be able to detect threats such as car bombs or drugs smuggling, which sometimes would be concealed to the human eye. The scanning works even if the car is moving. At speeds up to 28 mph, threats are still detectable.

The company adopts "strategically angled and synchronised hi-res cameras" to build a 360 degree digital model, and is able to process multiple images to create a 3D model of the undercarriage to avoid any security risks.

Lyft now completes one million rides a day

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Lyft as a strong rival to Uber in US, has just announced its completion of one million rides per day. This is compared to Uber's announcement in 2014 that it completed 1 million rides worldwide daily.

The ride-hailing startup now operates only in the U.S. market, and says it has seen 48 consecutive months of ride growth. The company is now on track to hit an annualized rate of 350 million rides.

"These important growth milestones are driven by relentless and multi-year focus on our mission of improving people's lives with the world's best transportation," Lyft co-founder John Zimmer told TechCrunch. "As we've reached service level parity, the Lyft experience has become a key differentiator."

Torc Robotics unveils driverless system for consumer cars

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Virginia based startup Torc Robotics has recently unveiled its self-driving test fleet- two modified Lexus RX vehicles, with 1,000 miles of logged drive testing already accumulated. The vehicles are equipped with Torc's in-house localization, mapping, navigation and object detection/tracking systems, and recently completed a round trip from Torc's Virginia headquarters to Ford's Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.

"We work with OEMs, tier 1s and tier 2s in the automotive space, taking our 10 years of experience and working with these organizations...we've tried just about every combination of technology, so we knows what works and what doesn't work." Torc CEO Michael Fleming told TechCrunch.

The company has years of experience in autonomy, and previously applied its self-driving technology to commercial, industrial, and the military fields.


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