IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 19th January 2017
Welcome to the IoT weekly round-up. This week, the connected world brings you flying cars! Well, almost. They’re going to be tested by Airbus this year, apparently. TomTom acquires Berlin-based start-up Autonomos to beef up its self-driving tech, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg defends Oculus Rift against allegations of stolen trade secrets, and Brexit takes its toll as Apple’s UK App Store prices rise by 25%.
Airbus will test self-flying taxis by the end of 2017
The flying car may be finally making its way out of fiction and into the test lab, if Airbus’ plans to trial a self-driven airborne taxi come to fruition. The company plans to test a prototype made for single-passenger travel by the end of the year, and has been developing an autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) concept to test viability. Requirements like an electric motor should lessen the ecological impact.
TomTom beefs up self-driving tech with Autonomos acquisition
Navigation company TomTom is setting its sights on self-driving technology by acquiring Autonomos, a Berlin startup founded by a group of computer science and AI academics. Autonomos will work on map-based products for autonomous driving applications, including HD mapping, navigation, traffic and other cloud services.
Chinese search giant Baidu opens augmented reality lab
Baidu announced this week that it is opening an AR lab to research how digital experiences can be more directly integrated with the real world. The announcement follows September’s unveiling of a $200 million venture fund focusing on AI and AR. Baidu’s AR platform “DuSee”, which overlays real world environments with AR animations, launched in August.
Kubo coding robot is available for preorder
Star of CES, Kubo, the robot that teaches kids how to code, is available for preorder. The robot uses its own programming language (TagTile), consisting of puzzle pieces that users can fit together to create particular instructions (left, right, forward, backward.) Kubo then drives over the puzzle in order to learn the command. Take the pieces away, and it will remember the rule even without them. A great way to teach kids to code without using screens.
App Store prices rise by 25% following Brexit vote
Apple is raising prices on its UK App Store in response to the sharp depreciation of the pound, following June’s vote to leave the European Union. The new prices show parity between the dollar and pound, so that an app costing $0.99 in the UK will now cost £0.99 in the UK too. Similar increases are expected across the iTunes Store and iBooks Store.
Mark Zuckerberg denies tech theft from Id Software in Oculus Rift lawsuit
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg testified in court in defense of the social media giant’s VR company Oculus Rift earlier this week. Chief plaintiff Zenimax media, which owns Id Software, alleges that Occulus founder Palmer Luckey and Id co-founder John Carmack stole trade secrets in order to tweak the software that operates Oculus. Zuckerberg denies the claims.