Nvidia gobbles up mapping startup to help automakers install its self-driving platform

Plus: Biden sets up AI task force, and Waymo expands autonomous trucking operation with new partnership


In brief Nvidia has snapped up computer vision startup DeepMap to help build the company's self-driving platform.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"The acquisition is an endorsement of DeepMap's unique vision, technology and people," Ali Kani, Nvidia vice president and general manager of Automotive, said in a statement. "DeepMap is expected to extend our mapping products, help us scale worldwide map operations and expand our full self-driving expertise."

Self-driving cars typically rely on pre-mapped roads to learn how to navigate different routes, and drive through various weather conditions. Training machine learning models on more accurate maps should lead to better autonomous driving performance.

These maps need to be updated frequently so the cars can deal with sudden changes, like roadblocks or lane closures ahead of time. It's risky to rely on self-driving systems to react on the fly; human drivers often have to take the steering wheel.

Nvidia Drive helps automakers install self-driving capabilities by providing the AI software and the hardware needed to run the algorithms.

The US government's National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force

The Biden administration has set up an AI-focused group of experts led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation to advance R&D efforts.

Twelve members from academia, industry, and government will be tasked with coming up with a strategy on procuring datasets for researchers to study across different areas from health to transport.

"In order to investigate a lot of their really great ideas in AI, they need access to powerful computing infrastructure and they need access to data," Lynne Parker, assistant director of artificial intelligence at the OSTP, who is chairing the task force, told the Wall Street Journal.

The team will be looking for ways to source sensitive government data in a secure and anonymous manner for researchers to use, and plan to issue biannual reports next year.

Andrew Moore, director of Cloud AI and Industry Solutions at Google, has also joined the team.

Keep on truckin', Waymo!

Waymo has teamed up with transportation and logistics company J B Hunt to move goods in autonomous trucks across Texas.

Trucks of Class 8 size, capable of hauling nearly 15,000kg, will be kitted out with the company's Waymo Driver software. It'll drive the trucks along the I-45, a commonly used freight corridor in the US, to shuttle back and forth between Houston and Fort Worth.

"This will be one of the first opportunities for J B Hunt to receive data and feedback on customer freight moved with a Class 8 tractor operating at this level of autonomy," J B Hunt chief sustainability officer Craig Harper said in a statement.

"While we believe there will be a need for highly skilled, professional drivers for many years to come, it is important for J B Hunt as an industry leader to be involved early in the development of advanced autonomous technologies and driving systems to ensure that their implementation will improve efficiency while enhancing safety."

It's not the first time Waymo has collaborated with a trucking biz. Last year, it announced it was working with Daimler Trucks. These partnerships are a win-win. Waymo gets to flesh out its AI software while its customers provide the vehicles. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022