Zalando tests logistics robot: Zalando is currently testing ways to intelligently use robotics in logistics at its site in Erfurt. In February 2018, Zalando invested in the German startup “Magazino”, which specializes in developing robots for intralogistics. Two specimens of Magazino’s “Toru” robot started their training at Zalando in Erfurt a few weeks ago. In a period stretching until May 2019, Zalando will test the robots and integrate them into its warehouse processes in the areas of storage and the picking of goods for orders. In contrast to other automation technologies, where only entire load carriers, such as pallets or crates can be moved, the Toru robots are equipped with intelligent camera technology and can thus recognize, grip and transport individual objects. Carl-Friedrich zu Knyphausen, Head of Logistics Development at Zalando, is responsible for the further development of intralogistics, and accompanied Toru’s first steps.
Microsoft announces possible AI cooperation with US military: Microsoft executives launched a spirited defense of their work with the US military on Friday in a blog post written by company president Brad Smith, who pledged to work with the Pentagon as it embarks on a multibillion-dollar effort to build advanced artificial intelligence capabilities into its operations. Employees at the company spoke out against Microsoft’s move to bid on the DoD’s JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) Project, challenging incumbent AWS, in an open letter this month. But Microsoft executives have explained why the firm will continue to supply its technology – including artificial intelligence – to the US Department of Defense, in an attempt to silence its critics.
Siemens to field-test autonomous driving: Siemens is launching a field test for autonomous driving at the Siemens campus in Munich, Germany. The company is initiating a research project and field test. The test route runs through the campus and enables traffic simulation in a variety of real-life situations. The project partners will work together testing the interaction between roadside infrastructure, cloud-based software services and autonomous electric vehicles. Two types of vehicles will be used to research the interplay of intelligent infrastructure and vehicles: a highly automated single-seat car and a shuttle bus.
Tim Cook visits virtual Berlin Wall: Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Europe for a week as he prepared for his role as keynote speaker at a data protection conference in Brussels. Cook spent several days visiting with app developers and content creators in Berlin and Paris. As he documented on Twitter, the Apple CEO met with developers of the augmented reality app mauAR. This app is designed to let iPhone users recreate the Berlin wall with augmented reality. While mauAR isn’t yet on the App Store, Cook touted it as a new way to learn from the past and said Apple looks forward to it launching on iOS. Cook continued his travels through Germany with a visit to Asana Rebel, another augmented reality application which focuses on yoga and wellbeing.
Wooden Smart Home display: Device screens are everywhere, but the $1,000 Mui integrates a display into what for many is already a familiar object – a piece of sanded wood. Mui looks like a slim and stylish wood panel until users swipe its touch-sensitive surface, which then glows to display information such as time, date and temperature. Out of the box, customers can use it as an alarm clock, timer, voice mail reader, and message display. While it’s active, interactive LEDs glow beneath the Mui’s surface. When not in use, all trace of technology disappears, showing only Mui’s warm, wooden facade. The point of Mui Lab’s approach is to limit the persistent, ever-present distraction today’s screens embody.
Bosch und Huawei: Bosch IoT Suite services launch on Huawei Cloud huawei.com
Regensburg: Nationwide IoT network started in Germany ip-insider.de
Munich: “Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence” officially opened faz.net
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
Rocket Internet, Vattenfall and Seven Ventures, the investment arm of Pro Sieben Sat 1, are investing more than 10 million euros in Berlin’s smart home startup Tink.
Users underestimate Smart Home security: On the sidelines of the Broadband World Forum in Berlin, Finnish security expert Mikko Hypponen of F-Secure urgently warned against hacker attacks on Smart Home devices. These attacks are often not directed against individual devices, but have the goal to hijack entire networks. Users would often not understand that an attack on the smart doorbell serves only as a gateway to infect the networked computers, for example, with ransomware. Hypponen fears: “We have not yet heard the wake-up call.” However, he pleads that users should not be afraid of attacks, but take responsibility for their data and their digital security.
Smart Speaker with display after all: Originally, voice-activated loudspeakers were supposed to make screens superfluous. But the new generations of devices from Amazon, Google and Co. are still equipped with displays. Manufacturers explain this with a supposedly added value for the customer. The screen makes the control of a Smart Home easier. In addition, video calls can be accepted and videos can be streamed using the device. Facebook’s “Portal” as well as its bigger brother “Portal +” even have a camera for video conferences, which follows the user through the room. In regards to the “Amazon Echo Spot 2017”, the technology magazine “The Verge” wrote that the device was “an insidious attempt to get users accustomed to cameras in the bedroom”. What is certain in any case is that manufacturers like Amazon, Google or Facebook are all working on automatic image recognition and machine vision technologies that can learn faster and better through more data input. Privacy advocates have warned against eavesdropping attacks by smart assistants for years, visual attacks could now follow suit.
PROJECT OF THE WEEK
Berlin’s Emil launches pay-per-mile car insurance: The new German startup Emil has launched what it claims is the country’s first pay-per-mile car insurance that measures miles in real-time. Aimed at drivers who do less than 6,200 miles per year on average, mileage is tracked via the Emil app and the supplied dongle that plugs into a customer’s car’s diagnostics port. The Emil stick is an IoT device with an integrated SIM card that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD-II diagnostics port, from where mileage data is sent to the startup’s servers. In addition, the Emil mobile app gives your car other ‘smart’ features, such as tracking the vehicle’s location, an overview of all trips (“driver’s logbook”), and remote diagnostics.
“We have a worldwide reputation for lean-thinking in our company, and we benefit from continuous improvements by adopting new technologies in our own logistics operations. The value of connectivity cannot be ignored in today’s challenging logistics systems, in helping to eliminate waste. Toyota wants to make a serious contribution to improve efficiency, and encourage leaner logistics operations across Europe.”
Senior Vice President Marketing and Sales at Toyota Material Handling Europe, Ralph Cox, has explained why Toyota has been equipping all orders with the “Smart Trucks” technology.
First AI artwork sold: Last Friday, a portrait produced by artificial intelligence was hanging at Christie’s New York opposite an Andy Warhol print and beside a bronze work by Roy Lichtenstein. On Thursday, it sold for well over double the price realized by both those pieces combined. The portrait was created by an artificial intelligence and was marketed by Christie’s as the first portrait generated by an algorithm to come up for auction. The painting is one of a group of portraits of the fictional Belamy family created by Obvious, a Paris-based collective consisting of Hugo Caselles-Dupre, Pierre Fautrel and Gauthier Vernier.