Autonomous driving brings logistical changes: A new study has found that the costs of the logistics industry could be nearly halved by 2030 – thanks to robotic cars. The study by “Strategy &”, a strategy consultancy of the auditing and consulting firm PWC, shows how the automation of logistics processes and trucks can reduce costs by 47 percent. This change means that “well-known business models and traditional roles of freight forwarders, truck entrepreneurs or truckers” are changing, according to „Strategy&“ partner Gerhard Nowak. The study also assumes a huge increase in efficiency: Starting in 2030, autonomous trucks could be on the road for 78 percent of time available – currently it’s around 29 percent. The omission of rest breaks for truck drivers has played a huge part in this. Additionally, there is no need for a driver’s cab in trucks, which means saving around 30,000 euros per vehicle. In contrast, autonomous driving technology is more expensive than traditional cars, which means that the total price of trucks will only drop by about seven percent. Nowak is certain: “In just a few years, the commercial vehicle and logistics industries will merge into an ecosystem that will be managed digitally and efficiently.”
Amazon plans new Alexa-powered devices: Amazon is doubling down on its Alexa-powered devices, with plans to release at least 8 new voice-controlled hardware devices before the end of the year, according to CNBC. The devices include, among others, a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer, and an in-car gadget, people familiar with the matter said. All of the devices will be Alexa-enabled, meaning they can easily connect to the voice assistant. Some of the devices will also have Alexa built in. Amazon is expected to reveal some of these devices at an event later this month, according to an internal document describing the plans. These products mark Amazon’s first move into the home appliances space, putting it in direct competition with companies like Sonos and GE. “We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are,” Bezos said in a statement in July. “There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year.”
Globalfoundries and Fraunhofer expand cooperation: The chip manufacturer Globalfoundries and the Fraunhofer IPMS research institute are expanding their 13-year development cooperation in Dresden and will develop innovative materials, processes and components for the energy-saving technology FDSOI in the future. FDSOI is regarded as an energy-efficient as well as powerful and cost-effective technology; it is in particular demand in the growth markets Internet of Things and Automotive and is the focus of the joint work for the next two and a half years. The research agreement signed by both sides covers a double-digit million-euro volume.
German government conducts AI workshops: German ministries are conducting a total of six workshops as part of Germany’s AI strategy, which the German government hopes will make Germany the “world-leading location for AI”. External experts will discuss, amongst other things, how the economy can make better use of research findings on AI. There will be expert rounds in the Ministry of Research, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport. It is unclear, however, which representatives from business and science participate in the events – all of them are taking place behind closed doors. The Labor Ministry was the only one to publish a list of participants’ names. “This secrecy is unfathomable,” said Manuel Höferlin, digital policy spokesman for Germany’s FDP party. Normally there would be no problem with the German government getting specialist knowledge from the outside, said Höferlin, but of course the details would have to be made transparent, but that should be a foregone conclusion.
OnePlus is developing its own smart TV: China’s OnePlus is is getting into a new line of business: making TVs. CEO Pete Lau explained that the device will mark the five-year-old company’s next step to “building a connected human experience”. Best known for its phones, China’s OnePlus also has a small catalog of accessories like wireless earphones. Every hardware manufacturer is looking intently at ways to monetize the smart home space. Samsung and Huawei recently announced smart speakers, Apple and Google already have the HomePod and Google Home, respectively, and Microsoft and Sony are old incumbents with their Xbox and PlayStation consoles. OnePlus has decided to make its entry point into this market the TV itself, which has always been at the center of home entertainment, though often with the help of other connected devices.
Retrofit: Subsequent “Smartification” of old industrial equipment funkschau.de
Frankfurt: University of Applied Science launches Bachelor Degree Program “Electrical and Information Technology” faz.net
United Smart Cities: United Smart Cities and Deutsche Telekom sign extensive global partnership telekom.com
Digitization: Opportunities and risks in the job market wiwo.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
China’s Internet of Things (IoT) market has exceeded one trillion yuan for the first time.
Mobility of the future: The so-called Level 5 is considered to be the highest level for autonomous vehicles, the point at which they are completely independent on the road. “Welt” author Michael Kemme argues, however, that this is not the “peak of development” but rather the “base camp”. Together with electromobility, fully autonomous driving provides the foundation of new mobility solutions that make cities more liveable for everyone. For example, Level 5 autonomous electric vehicles could form a fully-automated, intelligent transportation fleet that handles demand and fleet planning as well as autonomous charging. The individual user therefore hardly has to worry about the energy supply. Various interlocking transport systems and services can also provide an increase in comfort and shorter travel times. The networked system can automatically determine the right means of transport for any route. Even services such as a mobile shopping service are conceivable, in which the customer orders via smartphone in the morning and picks up his goods in a convenient location on the way home at night. If autonomous driving is thought through to the end, it can “fundamentally change our cities for the better,” says Kemme. He believes that this is where the true potential of the technology lies.
Where is “the people’s internet”?: University of Darmstadt’s Philipp Thesen asks this question in a detailed article on artificial intelligence. He argues that the discussion about new technologies are not just technological: “It is also a political and cultural debate on how we humans want to live and work in the future.” The big internet companies have long ago created “digital twins” of users, but those only show a small part of a person, since companies are only interested in consumer behavior. The population is so critical of the rise of AI because they are not involved in its development. They are merely “passive objects that are constantly being scanned, evaluated and calculated”, reminiscent of dystopian Hollywood films. Thesen demands that developers “reconcile” humans with machines and deal separately with the effects of digitization on society.
PROJECT OF THE WEEK
Facebook’s AI “Rosetta” can analyze memes: Facebook has announced the deployment of a large-scale machine learning system named “Rosetta”, which it’s using to automatically and proactively identify inappropriate or harmful content in images on the social network. In other words, Facebook developed an AI that can tell if a meme is offensive. Memes are complicated cultural artifacts, which can be difficult to understand out of context. Despite the challenges they bring, some social platforms are already using AI to analyze memes. Facebook says it already uses “Rosetta” to help automatically detect content that violates things like its hate speech policy. With help from the tool, Facebook also announced this week that it’s expanding its third-party fact checking effort to include photos and videos, not just text-based articles.
“Insurance experts are looking to the future – which will hopefully also be helpful to the security sector – and calling on their members in Europe to prevent the existence of false security for policyholders. Important for qualified operators: There is a special warning against do-it-yourself installations.”
Sebastian Brose works for VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH as Head of Product Management in the Products and Companies division. Together with the European insurer association IE and the police, the company warns against security gaps in many current smart home offers, especially if the devices are installed by the users themselves.
Tesla stolen using only a smartphone: Using a bit of technology, an alleged car thief was able to get his hands on a Tesla Model 3 and drive away without needing a key. The vehicle was stolen from Trevls, a Minnesota-based electric vehicle-only car rental company. The police believe that “the man somehow manipulated the Tesla app to unlock and start the car, disabling the GPS before leaving town.” Computer forensics specialist Mark Lanterman commented on the case and said that he believes the suspected thief was able to make Tesla add the vehicle on his Tesla account. The automaker told “Electrek” that the alleged car thief likely had previously rented the vehicle and had an already-authenticated phone as a result.