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This startup approaches autonomous vehicles differently, It’s currently preparing its American debut



This startup approaches autonomous vehicles differently, It's currently preparing its American debut

German startup Vay entered into rivalry with more well-funded and valuable American companies in the mobility technology sector on Wednesday when it introduced its so-called “teledriving” solution in the United States for the first time.

The company said that its new service is now available in Nevada, Las Vegas. To date, it has raised $110 million from investors, including Swedish investment behemoth Kinnevik, American fund Coatue, and French private equity fund Eurazeo.

Through Vay’s service, consumers in rural areas will be able to order automobiles directly from drivers. Once the journey is over, users can select via the Vay app to have one of the company’s teledrivers take over and park the vehicle. Vay then uses his teledriver to drive the automobile back.

The business has already tested driverless vehicles using remote controls on public highways in the United States and Europe. The technology has been successful in getting past regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Vay, on the other hand, says that drivers must pass stringent examinations and assessments in order to be approved as teledrivers on its network, and that its service is built with safety in mind.

“We develop our teledrive technology in order to fulfill applicable safety requirements and to provide customers a reliable mobility service,” Thomas von der Ohe, Vay’s CEO and co-founder, told CNBC.

“With teledriving, a human is in charge. This allows us to handle complex maneuvres such as unprotected left turns, emergency situations and road works based on human perception and decision-making ability.”

Von der Ohe stated that Vay made sure the Nevadan authorities were in favor of its technology prior to launching it, and that the system was designed in accordance with local regulations.

An another perspective on Tesla-style autonomous

Vay is significantly smaller than Tesla in terms of scale. However, it expects that as demand for alternative transportation alternatives rises, their take on “driverless” cars—where the vehicle is operated by an actual driver situated in a remote location somewhere else—will take off.

Vay is a car-rental service that enables customers to book a vehicle, have it remotely driven to them by one of its certified drivers, and then pick up the vehicle and drive it to their desired location.

The plan is for the Vay app user to choose on the app for a skilled “teledriver” to take over and park the car in a designated spot when they are finished with their journey.

According to Von der Ohe, who spoke with CNBC, the company’s solution outperforms those of robotaxis startups like Tesla, Google’s Waymo, and General Motors’ Cruise.

According to him, the previous year proved to be challenging for the robotaxi sector. GM, a significant participant in the San Francisco autonomous vehicle market, reduced its investment in its Cruise autonomous unit by 50% following several mishaps involving its robotaxis, one of which involved a collision with a fire engine.

“For robotaxis, 2023 was a difficult year,” von der Ohe said to CNBC. From a technical standpoint, running a robotaxi service is really challenging. There aren’t many businesses that can handle it,” he continued, mentioning Waymo as an uncommon illustration of a business that’s successfully implementing autonomous fleets.

According to von der Ohe, it doesn’t make financial sense either, adding, “If they become available, they have to be priced at Uber prices.”

“Right now, they’re far away from that efficiency in terms of operational costs and capex costs,” he said.

“These are challenges that they have we come at in a completely contrarian way. It’s not we say they’re doing it wrong or we do it better, we just do it different,” he said, adding that Vay will offer a service that’s a lot cheaper than ride-hailing.


Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program



As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI



As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram



In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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