Elon Musk makes case for eschewing LIDAR as Tesla reports latest results

Elon Musk has said that LIDAR is a ‘crutch’ and affirmed that Tesla will not be planning to use the system going forward.

LIDAR, which stands for ‘light detection and ranging’, helps measure distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light, and measuring the reflected pulses. While other companies are using the technology – it is a part of the alleged claims in the current Uber versus Waymo court case, for instance – Tesla will continue to only use cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors to create autonomous vehicles.

Musk was responding to an analyst question on an earnings call, asking whether competitors are missing anything in their software stack that enabled Tesla to not use LIDAR, and whether regulation would come into place regarding use of the technology.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that the road system is geared towards passive optical [image recognition],” said Musk, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. “We have to solve passive optical image recognition extremely well in order to be able to drive in any given environment and the changing environment.

“At the point at which you have solved it extremely well, what is the point in having optical – meaning LIDAR – which cannot read signs,” he added. “In my view, it is a crutch that will drive companies to a local maximum that they will find very difficult to get out of.”

Regarding what the competition are doing, Musk added: “I find it quite puzzling that companies would choose to do an active proton system in the wrong wavelength. They’re going to have a whole bunch of expensive equipment, most of which makes the car expensive, ugly and unnecessary… and I think they will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.”

The company issued its fourth quarter and full year update for 2017, with revenue of $ 11.8 billion (£8.5bn) for 2017, up 55% year over year from organic growth. Tesla added that it expected 2018 revenue growth to ‘significantly exceed’ 2017 growth.

The focus for a lot of the message was on the long-awaited Model 3 – in more ways than one. Tesla delivered 1,542 Model 3 vehicles in the final quarter of 2017, with a Business Insider article saying that ‘production is on track, but it’s still a complete mess.’

“The launch of Model 3 [the most recent model] is what Tesla had been building towards from day one,” the company said. “We incorporated all the learnings from the development and production of Roadster, Model S, and Model X to create the world’s first mass market electric vehicle that is priced on par with its gasoline-powered equivalents – even without incentives.

“Now we are ramping up production significantly, and as we look ahead in 2018, we are on the cusp of a step change in the world’s transition to sustainability.”

Not everyone believes in the work Tesla is doing, however. A recent study from Navigant Research assessed the better part of 20 companies developing automated driving systems and put Tesla at the bottom of the pile.

You can read the full Tesla financial report here.

Postscript: While the vast majority of the focus was on Tesla, analysts could not resist comment on Musk’s successful SpaceX launch earlier this week. One told Musk the launch was ‘probably the sickest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.’

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WISeKey reports consolidated preliminary revenue of $14.4 million for Q3 2017

Cybersecurity and IoT solutions provider WISeKey International has estimated that its consolidated preliminary revenue for the third quarter of 2017 will be nearly $ 14.4 million.

The primary source of the revenue is strong demand for its IoT technology and cybersecurity software as a service (SaaS) products, and a larger client base resulting from strong synergies between these two main verticals. The semiconductor IoT Segment generated revenue of approximately $ 8.4 million while revenue from the cybersecurity SaaS Segment was $ 6 million in Q3.

The third quarter results show that customers are relying more on the WISeKey cybersecurity SaaS and semiconductor IoT segments. At present, more than 3500 organisations ranging from large multi-nationals, to small- and medium-size businesses, to non-profits all over the world are using the WISeKey Platform to secure their digital assets, the company says.

The integration of chips, smart metering and identification token technology provides the company with substantial synergistic cross-selling opportunities for several clients, including world leaders in IT infrastructure. Moreover, multinational companies are the ideal candidates for WISeKey Trust Model as they need to comply with International Standards on the deployment of their IoT infrastructure.

In terms of recent highlights for the company, last month WISeKey completed the integration of IoT-integrated circuit solutions and semiconductor business VaultIC, into its platform. The integration covered the transfer of products, technology, customer agreements, and certain patents from INSIDE Secure to WISeKey including the development and sale of secure integrated circuits designed to secure and power the growing IoT market. The vertical integration of WISeKey’s Root of Trust and Identity technology with VaultIC’s hardware and software, system certification, provisioning and up to management services, allows WISeKey to position itself as a provider of an end-to-end IoT platform for people and objects.

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Private Watson reports for duty as IBM provides cloud to U.S. Army


IBM announced on Wednesday that it has been awarded a two-year, nine-month contract to continue providing cloud services to the U.S. Army.

The $ 135 million contract is a follow-up from the previous agreement IBM signed with the U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) in September 2012. Under the previous contract, IBM said it helped the Army save $ 15 million in operational costs, due to a managed service agreement.

See also: IBM drops $ 200mm on new home for Watson

The new contract adds cybersecurity and cognitive computing to the package. IBM will apply the risk management framework (RMF) used by the entire U.S. federal government, which replace legacy IT security standards.

“Over the past four and a half years, LOGSA has benefitted from the business and technical advantages of the cloud,” said LOGSA Commander Col. John D. Kuenzli. “Now, we’re moving beyond infrastructure as-a-service and embracing both platform and software-as-a-service, adopting commercial cloud capabilities to further enhance Army readiness.”

Keeping an eye on assets

IBM’s Watson platform will be deployed to predict when a vehicle needs maintenance and will use an analytics tool to view unstructured, structured, and sensor data of other Army assets.

“The solution, part of the Watson IoT for Manufacturing and Industrial Products product suite, includes IBM Predictive Maintenance and Quality System, an integrated solution that monitors, analyzes, and reports on information gathered from devices and equipment and recommends maintenance procedures,” said IBM.

“It also includes Watson Explorer, a cognitive exploration and content analysis platform that enables users to securely capture and analyze both structured and unstructured data. With the platform, the Army will look to extract enhanced insights from its vehicle data and recommend optimal repair methods and procedures. By combining tactical vehicle sensor and maintenance data, the Army better understands the health of its vehicles and can take proactive repair measures.”

IBM has already tested Watson’s cognitive computing on 10 percent of the Army’s Stryker vehicle fleet. With the new contract, that percentage is set to increase.

The post Private Watson reports for duty as IBM provides cloud to U.S. Army appeared first on ReadWrite.


Intel to cut 140 staff across IoT divisions, reports claim

Intel is cutting 140 staff across its IoT divisions, reports claim

US chip-maker Intel is cutting 140 staff across its IoT divisions, according to reports in Silicon Valley Business Journal and The Times.

As many as 100 staff in the company’s Santa Clara headquarters, as well as 40 staff in Leixlip, Ireland, have been let go. All of the staff involved are said to have worked within Intel’s IoT divisions.

The reports follow Intel’s announcement in June that it has discontinued three of its IoT and embedded device market offerings. The Edison, Galileo and Joule compute modules and boards, which had been developed to bolster Intel’s IoT strategy, are no longer in production.

“There have been some changes in our workforce that are driven by the needs and priorities of the business, which we consistently evaluate,” an Intel Ireland spokeswoman told The Times.

“Efforts are being made to mitigate the impact by helping employees identify other suitable roles in the company.”

Read more: Lost jobs but happier customers — insurance embraces AI and IoT

An uncertain future

The news does come as a surprise, however, given that Intel announced back in April 2016 that it was laying off 12,000 employees as part of a $ 1.2 billion restructuring process that was apparently intended to tackle the rise of IoT, and the continuing slump in PC sales.

At the time, CEO Brian Kraznich, admitted “It’s time to make this transition and push the company all the way over”, with a renewed focus on supplying chips for smartphones, cloud computing, sensors and other IoT devices.

In Q1 of 2017, Intel’s IoT division generated $ 721 million in revenue, which marks an 11 percent increase year-on-year. These numbers equate to less than 5 percent of Intel’s sales, though, and the job cuts raise questions around the future of Intel’s IoT strategy.

Roughly 300 staff also took voluntary redundancy last year, though the chip-maker is yet to confirm the final number, alongside the staff cuts today. “We have not publicly disclosed the number of redundancies made as part of our global restructuring program, and do not plan to do so,” the company said.

Read more: Opinion divided on impact of AI on jobs market, says BT survey

The post Intel to cut 140 staff across IoT divisions, reports claim appeared first on Internet of Business.

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WISeKey reports continued growth with $20m revenue for first half of 2017

WISeKey International, the Switzerland-based cybersecurity and IoT firm, has announced ‘significantly increased’ revenue up to $ 20 million (£15.4m), unaudited, for the first half of this year as the company’s progress continues to improve.

The company’s previous revenues stood at $ 1.3m reported for the first half of 2016, and $ 11.6m consolidated revenues for the full year.

In order to evolve as a major player in IoT, cybersecurity, AI and blockchain, WISeKey has aggregated over 46 patent families – with more than 200 patents in total – to its portfolio required to integrate the OISTE/WISeKey Root of Trust into IoT embedded devices with problem-solving AI solutions. The new patents consists a range of technologies for IoT and semiconductors, particularly those that help make enterprise-level computing services more trusted, reliable and secure.

WISeKey has also established a Centre of Excellency in India, USA, Argentina, Switzerland and China. Via these Centres of Excellence, the company has collaborated with local participating firms, on building points of view, proof of concepts, policies, educational materials including addressing all the distributed ledger capabilities across different Blockchain schemes (public, consortium and private), with industry verticalisation and domain specialisation.

Regular readers of this publication will be aware of the company’s trajectory. In April WISeKey launched a global scalable framework called the WISeKeyIoT – which offers digital public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates for connected devices. The certificates are protected in certified tamper resistant silicon chips, as well as an outsourced or on-premises certificate management system, with device life cycle control functions and security enforcement entities.

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