Volkswagen Will Only Sell Its ID Electric Cars Online

A new ‘agency’ model should make buying an EV more straightforward. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! May 21, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Volkswagen is switching up the way it sells its electric vehicles. The company’s dealerships will no longer be the primary point of sale for the ID family of EVs. Instead, they will assume the role of an “agent” that facilitates the sale. If you’re in the market for a VW EV, you can now place an order directly with Volkswagen and choose your preferred dealer. Instead of giving you the hard sell when you walk into the dealership, the dealer will now be focused on organizing test drives, facilitating the transaction and making sure you get the keys to your new wheels without a hitch. The price of the vehicle, plus the dealership’s commission, is fixed, […]

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company Completes Excavation of Its Las Vegas Tunnels

The loop transit system is on track to open in January 2021. May 14, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Elon Musk’s Boring Company has finished excavating the second of two tunnels planned for the Las Vegas Convention Center’s underground loop transit system, according to The Verge. The city’s Convention Center (the LVCC) enlisted the company last year to develop the mile-long system, which could cost up to $52.5 million and is slated for completion in January 2021. It’ll be the Boring Company’s first foray into commercial transit. Related: Here’s What You Need to Know About Elon Musk The project — officially called the Convention Center Loop — will ferry people around underneath the venue via Tesla’s autonomous electric vehicles. It’s designed to move more than 4,000 people per hour across the facility, turning what is at least a 15-minute walk into a quick hop of less than two minutes. A […]

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FBI Sees Cybercrime Reports Increase Fourfold During COVID-19 Outbreak

The FBI says hackers have a special interest in COVID-19 research. April 20, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Instances of cybercrime appear to have jumped by as much as 300 percent since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the FBI. The bureau’s Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3) said last week that it’s now receiving between 3,000 and 4,000 cybersecurity complaints every day, up from the average 1,000 complaints per day the center saw before COVID-19 took hold. While much of this jump can be attributed to America’s daily activities increasingly moving online — newly remote workers unaware of basic security measures or companies struggling to keep externally-accessed systems secure, for example — the FBI says a lot of the increased cybercrime is coming from nation states seeking out COVID-19-related research. As reported by The Hill, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, Tonya Ugoretz, said that “Countries […]

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Netflix Signs John Boyega’s Production Studio to Expand African Content

The deal with the ‘Star Wars’ actor helps Netflix’s push into the African market. March 10, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Netflix is continuing its push to get more African content on its platform by partnering with Star Wars actor John Boyega and his company UpperRoom Productions. The indie production house will be responsible for developing non-English language films focused on West and East Africa, based on “stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and/or other elements in or around African countries.” Netflix shared its plans to offer more African shows back in 2018. Its latest African original, Queen Sono, dropped worldwide at the end of February, while another as-yet unnamed series set in Nigeria was announced at the same time. Meanwhile, two further originals, South African teen drama Blood & Water and animated series Mama K’s Team 4 are set to land later this year. Speaking to Variety, vice president of international film at Netflix, David […]

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Amazon’s Checkout-Free Tech is Heading to Other Retailers

A number of partners have already signed up for the ‘Just Walk Out’ system. March 9, 2020 4 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Checkout-free, cashless supermarkets — a novelty shopping experience or the future of bricks and mortar retail? According to Amazon — which turned the concept into a 10,400-square-foot reality — it’s the latter. After announcing its plans to license its automated checkout technology to other retailers, the company has revealed it has “several” signed deals with customers, and has launched a new website inviting inquiries from others interested in the “Just Walk Out” experience. Amazon has been operating a number of these cashless convenience stores in the US since 2018. Shoppers download the Amazon Go app, beep themselves into the store using a QR code, then simply pick up whatever they want and leave. The store’s item-tracking system knows what they’ve selected, and bills them automatically via the app. […]

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AI-Formulated Medicine to Be Tested on Humans for the First Time

It took less than a year to develop the drug, which is designed to treat OCD. February 3, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget A drug designed entirely by artificial intelligence is about to enter clinical human trials for the first time. The drug, which is intended to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, was discovered using AI systems from Oxford-based biotech company Exscientia. While it would usually take around four and a half years to get a drug to this stage of development, Exscientia says that by using the AI tools it’s taken less than 12 months. Related: What Every Entrepreneur Must Know About Artificial Intelligence The drug, known as DSP-1181, was created by using algorithms to sift through potential compounds, checking them against a huge database of parameters, including a patient’s genetic factors. Speaking to the BBC, Exscientia chief executive Professor Andrew Hopkins described the trials as a “key milestone in drug […]

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Tinder is Working on a Panic Button for Dangerous Situations

January 23, 2020 3 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Tinder is taking more steps to beef up user safety, rolling out features that give daters the option to receive check-ins, hit a panic alarm and even call authorities to their location. Its parent company, Match, has taken a stake in a location tracking and personal safety app called Noonlight, Wall Street Journal reports, and plans to test the features in the US from the end of January. If a date turns ugly, users will be able to trigger an alarm via the Noonight tool within the Tinder app. They’ll then be instructed to enter a code. If they don’t, they’ll receive a text from one of Noonlight’s dispatchers. If they don’t respond to that message, Noonlight will call them, and if there’s no answer, or the user confirms that they need help, Noonlight will get in touch with police. To […]

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Uber Experiment Lets California Drivers Set Their Own Fares

The bidding system allows them to increase fares up to five times the price set by Uber January 21, 2020 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Uber is testing another new feature in what is presumably a bid to help mitigate the restrictions of Assembly Bill 5, which requires the company to treat its drivers as employees, not independent contractors. Some drivers in California will now have the ability to set their own fares, which could be up to five times the amount normally set by Uber. From Tuesday morning, drivers operating around airports in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento will be able to take part in a bidding system that allows them to increase fares in 10 percent increments, up to a maximum of five times the usual Uber price. When a ride is requested, Uber will match the rider with the driver with the lowest […]

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Amazon Fresh Deliveries Are Now Free for Prime Members

Before, Prime members were required to pay $14.99 a month for Amazon Fresh. October 29, 2019 2 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Amazon is ditching its $14.99 a month Amazon Fresh fee for Prime members, which means Prime subscribers in the 2,000 US cities where the fresh food delivery service is offered can use it for free — and take advantage of new one- and two-hour delivery windows. You can sign up here but you’ll have to wait for an invitation — as Amazon says, “We expect this will be a popular benefit.” Related: Walmart’s New Delivery Service Will Put Groceries Directly in Your Fridge Amazon has been experimenting with its Amazon Fresh pricing for a while now. Initially costing $99 a year plus delivery fees, and then $299 a year including delivery fees, the service has been charged at $14.99 a month since 2016. Bundling it in with Prime represents pretty good […]

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British Airways Is Offering VR Entertainment on Flights

First class passengers between London and New York get their own cinema in the sky. August 14, 2019 1 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget British Airways is set to trial VR entertainment on select first class flights from London Heathrow to New York JFK. From now until the end of the year, customers on these flights will have their own 3D cinema in the sky, and will be able to watch a variety of films, documentaries and travel shows in 2D, 3D or 360° formats. The headsets come from VR company SkyLights and are fully immersive regardless of how the wearer is sitting — they’ll even work if they’re lying fully flat (which is another first class luxury in itself). The line-up also includes a range of expertly-selected therapeutic VR experiences, such as guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for those with a fear of flying. British Airways […]

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Ford Wants This Creepy Robot to Bring Its Autonomous Deliveries to Your Door

‘Digit’ is a two-legged robot designed to get your delivery from a car to your door. May 22, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Autonomous deliveries and self-driving vehicles may be the future, but there are still a few gaps that need to be addressed — namely that it’s not always possible for people to leave their homes to retrieve deliveries from the roadside (and if you’re hungover and ordering take out, you definitely don’t want to). Ford is working on a solution for this final stretch, though, and it’s come right out of a sci-fi movie. “Digit” is a two-legged robot created by Agility Robotics, designed to get your delivery from a car to your door. Announced earlier this year but now operational, the robot folds up in the back of a self-driving vehicle, ready to unfurl itself in a Lovercraftian manner when it arrives at the delivery destination. […]

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Amazon’s Warehouse Robots Won’t Replace Humans for at Least a Decade

Mainly because the technology isn’t ready yet. May 2, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Are you worried your job is going to be taken by a robot? You needn’t be if you work for Amazon, which has dismissed the idea of fully-automated warehouses becoming a reality any time soon. According to Amazon’s director of robotics fulfilment, Scott Anderson, such technology in its current form is “very limited.” In a tour of Amazon’s Balitmore warehouse for reporters on Tuesday, Anderson said that while the company is exploring a variety of automation technologies, there’s a misperception that the company will be replacing human workers with robots in the near future. However, it is on the agenda, with Anderson giving a timeline of “at least 10 years” before warehouses become fully automated — a measured approach at odds with the likes of Tesla, which recently scaled back its automation citing “overconfidence” […]

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FedEx Will Trial Autonomous Delivery Robots This Summer

The SameDay Bot will deliver smaller packages from select retailers. February 27, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget FedEx is making its first moves into autonomous delivery. The company announced today that it’s working on the SameDay Bot, a small vehicle that can travel independently along sidewalks and roadsides, helping retailers make same-day and last mile deliveries to their customers. The bot is being developed using the same technology used in mobility device iBot, and will feature pedestrian-safe tech, multiple cameras, LiDAR and machine learning to help it detect and avoid obstacles, and navigate uneven surfaces. FedEx doesn’t anticipate the bot replacing its existing same-day delivery services, but instead complementing them. Trials kick off this summer in a number of areas, including Memphis, Tennessee (pending city approval), and between FedEx Office locations. The company already has AutoZone, Pizza Hut, Target and Walmart on board for initial testing. FedEx is the latest […]

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Google Wins FCC Approval to Keep Developing Radar-Based Hand Sensor

Project Soli can operate at higher power levels than currently allowed. January 2, 2019 1 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team has been working on Project Soli since 2015. The gesture-based system uses broad beam radar to detect and capture hand movements, turning them into commands for mobile devices. Until now, though, the tech has been restricted, with some companies — including Facebook — claiming that the high frequency levels required might interfere with existing technology. Now, the FCC has granted a waiver that will allow Soli to operate at higher levels than currently allowed, and therefore continue development as Google originally intended. Related: What’s Happening on The Entrepreneur Index Right Now According to the FCC, Soli poses “minimal potential of causing harmful interference,” and it’s even been cleared for use on aircraft. Increasing Soli’s frequency band and power level — which Google says is consistent with […]

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MIT Researchers Create a Robot Houseplant That Moves on Its Own

This will all be fine. December 5, 2018 3 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Despite our best intentions, keeping a houseplant alive can be a struggle for a lot of us. But that vague wave of sadness you feel when you end up unceremoniously dumping your potted pal in the bin is about to reach a new and slightly disturbing level, as researchers from MIT have found a way to use robotics to tap into plants’ human-like characteristics. Meet Elowan, a “cybernetic lifeform” that connects a houseplant with a machine that responds to its basic need for light (and is presumably named after the sentient plant creatures in Starflight 3). When a regular plant needs light, it fires off internal electrical signals that cause it to bend and grow towards it. When Elowan needs light, these internal electrical signals are interpreted by a machine that then simply wheels the plant towards […]

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Elon Musk Is Sending Teams to Assist With the Thailand Cave Rescue

It’s hoped his resources could save the boys from months spent underground. July 6, 2018 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget Elon Musk has offered assistance in the rescue of the boys’ soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand. Engineers from SpaceX and The Boring Company will travel to the country on Saturday to help with what is becoming an increasingly perilous rescue effort. As CNN reports, conditions are becoming life-threatening, with a former navy diver involved in the operation losing his life after a sudden drop in oxygen levels underground. According to Musk, technicians may be able to utilize a Tesla-made battery pack to increase the pump rate of water out of the cave. He also discussed the possibility of inserting a nylon tube into the cave to fill it with air, “like a bouncy castle.” In a tweet, he said he was “happy to help if there is a way to do so.” […]

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Amazon’s Biggest Prime Day Sale Starts on July 16

You’ve now got 36 whole hours to bag a bargain. July 3, 2018 2 min read This story originally appeared on Engadget If you’re in the market for an Alexa-enabled product, it’ll soon be the time to buy. Amazon says this year’s Prime Day, starting on July 16, is its biggest ever, with double the deals on its own devices and $100 off Echo Show. There will be more than 1 million other deals up for grabs, too — so many that Amazon has extended the sale to 36 hours (compared to last year’s 30). Expect the usual deep discounts on Amazon brands, up to 50 percent off movies and TV shows on digital, DVD and Blu-Ray, plus free games on Twitch. The company is also slashing the costs of its media subscription services to entice new customers. Prime members that haven’t tried Amazon Music Unlimited can get four months for just $0.99, […]

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