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Nissan’s Pitch-R robot is here to put field stripers out of work



nissan robot

Reminiscing about warm summer nights at the ballpark always evokes thoughts of hot dogs, fresh cut grass, and watching field stripers meticulously line the diamond with chalk or spray paint. Soon, this nostalgia won’t exactly consist of middle-aged field stripers but rather, autonomous fleets of robots — if the car manufacturer Nissan has its way.

Called the Pitch-R, Nissan’s field-striping robot made its first appearance in May’s Champions League Final between soccer clubs Liverpool and Real Madrid in Kyiv, Ukraine. In just 20 minutes, the diminutive machine accurately and efficiently painted all the necessary lines needed for the match, producing a finished product capable of passing a rigorous pre-match inspection. Inspired by the company’s ProPILOT driver-assistance tech found in the new Nissan Leaf, the Pitch-R boasts four cameras, built-in GPS location tracking, and an advanced collision avoidance system.

Outfit with environmentally friendly and dissolvable white paint, the Pitch-R is able to work on either gravel, grass, or pavement and can stripe lines even if a playing surface is uneven or has various obstacles. After quickly analyzing its environment to assess where to accurately stripe, the battery-powered bot gets to work. No matter if it’s a field designed for five-a-side, seven-a-side, or 11-a-side matches, it’s capable of completing the job in 20 minutes or less.

Although it’s unknown if Nissan plans to put the Pitch-R into production, the company used the bright lights of the Champions League Final to further showcase what it calls Nissan Intelligent Mobility. According to the company, the project is designed to change “how cars are driven, powered, and integrated into society.” Similar to the way Tesla or Google are hoping to disrupt the auto industry with their own self-driving tech, Nissan Intelligent Mobility appears to be yet another stab at perfecting vehicle autonomy.

So, what does that have to do with a field-striping robot? On a much smaller scale than deploying a self-driving car on the highway, the Pitch-R allows Nissan to easily highlight its budding driver-assistance tech without running the risk of any serious damage. By putting a robot to work to accurately stripe a field used for one of the biggest soccer matches of the year, Nissan not only gets to test its tech in a fun way but does so with millions of people watching. The company says it’s the “first in a series of advanced prototypes being developed using Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies.”

“[The passion for soccer] drove our design and engineering team to create Pitch-R,” Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Nissan Europe’s vice president for marketing, said in a statement. “It injects the best of Nissan technology into an innovation which can benefit grassroots football and excite and engage young fans.”


Foto: Nissan

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Intel shares down after CEO Brian Krzanich resigns over relationship with employee





The surprise move comes after a board investigation found he violated the company’s nonfraternization policy for managers.

Brian Krzanich is out as CEO of Intel.

The chip giant on Thursday said that Brian Krzanich had resigned and that the board had named Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan as interim CEO. The board has begun a search for a permanent CEO, looking at both internal and external candidates.

The resignation comes after the board learned of a past consensual relationship with an Intel employee and an investigation confirmed that it violated Intel’s nonfraternization policy, which applied to all managers, the company said.

“We appreciate Brian’s many contributions to Intel,” Intel Chairman Andy Bryant said in the release. “The board believes strongly in Intel’s strategy and we’re confident in Bob Swan’s ability to lead the company as we conduct a robust search for our next CEO.”

Shares fell nearly 2 percent to $52.40 after the news.

The resignation marks an ignoble end for an executive whose chief legacy is the push to diversify one of Silicon Valley’s biggest and most powerful players. Krzanich, who took the reins five years ago after serving as the operating chief, was considered a safe pick. He steered Intel through questions about whether the company could remain dominant as the world went more mobile, investing in everything from drones to virtual reality.

Intel built the x86 chips that traditionally powered PCs, but the world was increasingly turning to smartphones that used so-called Arm chips from the likes of Qualcomm. Under Krzanich, Intel positioned itself for a fresh start with the advent of next-generation 5G wireless technology, and it has edged into the mobile world as a supplier for Apple’s iPhones.

Not all of his bets have paid off, including Intel’s hasty retreat from VR once the buzz over the technology died down.

The most recent headaches for Krzanich have come from having to deal with massive vulnerabilities (called Spectre and Meltdown) that potentially left chips from Intel, Arm and AMD open to hacking attacks. He’s long been a fixture as a CES keynote speaker, but security concerns dominated this year’s presentation.

But Krzanich will likely most be remembered for championing workplace diversity. He made it a central issue at his CES keynote address in 2015, pledging $300 million to support better representation in technology. His action was one of the boldest at a time when the noise over diversity was just starting to spike.

“This isn’t just good business,” Krzanich said in his speech. “This is the right thing to do.”

But Intel doesn’t have an obvious successor. The company has seen a slew of key executive departures over the last few years, including former CFO Stacy Smith, Diane Bryant, once the head of the data center group but now with Google, and former president, Renee James.

“Krzanich’s resignation comes at a difficult time for Intel,” Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsey said. “We fail to see a clear internal long-term successor given recent changes to senior management.”

Intel, which declined to comment further, is hoping for a smooth transition during the search for a new CEO. To reassure investors, the company said it expects to have a record second quarter with revenue of roughly $16.9 billion and earnings, excluding one-time items, of 99 cents a share, above its previous forecast. Intel will report full results on July 26.

from CNET website

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Uber booking has been removed from Google Maps for Android





Google Maps can no longer be used to book an Uber on Android. It brings the app in line with the iOS version, which lost the feature last summer, as noted by Android Police.

Google has had the ability to show price estimates and pickup wait times for ride-sharing apps for a while. Back in January 2017, Uber alone gained the ability to actually book rides in the Google Maps app by pulling up your account window and hailing your ride without ever leaving the app.

But for whatever reason, Google has officially removed the feature from the Android app, demoting Uber back to the same level as the other ride-sharing apps it supports, like Lyft and Gett. You’ll still be able to see the estimated cost of different Uber rides in Maps, but you’ll now have to go to the actual Uber app to finish the booking process.

It’s not entirely clear why Google is removing the feature. For what it’s worth, Alphabet’s venture capital business has made a large investment in Lyft. But the Google Maps help page regarding the function has been updated to explicitly note that “you can no longer book Uber rides directly in Google Maps. But you can still look up the route in the Maps app and then request the ride from the Uber app.” That applies to both the iOS and Android versions of the app, so it appears that this feature is gone for good.


By Chaim Gartenberg

from theverge website

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Cryptocurrencies Fall as Korean Exchange Says $32 Million of Coins Stolen





Cryptocurrencies dropped after the second South Korean exchange in as many weeks said it was hacked, renewing concerns about the safety of digital-asset trading venues.

Bithumb, ranked by as the world’s seventh-largest crypto exchange by traded value, said on Wednesday that hackers stole about 35 billion won ($32 million) and that Ripple was among the coins taken. The exchange halted cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals, said it will compensate victims and moved investor assets to a so-called cold wallet, which is disconnected from the Internet and less vulnerable to theft.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, dropped as much as 2 percent and was trading at $6,624 as of 7:24 a.m. in New York, bringing this year’s decline to 54 percent, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Ripple, Ethereum, and Litecoin also retreated, along with some Asia-listed stocks with exposure to digital currencies

Enthusiasm for virtual currencies has waned this year partly due to a string of cyberheists, including the nearly $500 million theft from Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc. in late January. Last week, a South Korean venue called Coinrail said that some of the exchange’s digital coins appeared to have been stolen by hackers, though it didn’t disclose how much.

While the latest theft has weighed on sentiment, investor reactions have been relatively subdued, said Ryan Rabaglia, head trader at cryptocurrency dealing firm Octagon Strategy Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The market has sort of become a bit more battle-hardened. It can weather the storm on these negative reports.”

The crypto-mania that spread worldwide last year was particularly intense in South Korea, with Bitcoin prices in the country at one point climbing to a 50 percent premium over those in America.

The fervor has since cooled amid a government crackdown, but South Korean exchanges are still among the world’s most active. The country’s policymakers are debating comprehensive regulations for cryptocurrencies, with proposals ranging from shutting down local exchanges to allowing them to operate under increased supervision.

The South Korean government said it started an investigation into the Bithumb hack and that it will review the security systems at 21 of the nation’s crypto exchanges.

The hacks in South Korea show “how ill-prepared a lot of the exchanges still are across large markets,” said Vijay Ayyar, the Singapore-based head of business development at Luno, a cryptocurrency exchange. “The overall market is seeing a lot of regulatory action and incidents like these will only hasten the process.”

from Bloomberg website

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