Posted on August 28, 2018 by staff

Daily Briefing: Toyota and Uber to build self-driving taxis


Toyota and tech giant Uber are working together to bring an autonomous ride-hailing service to market.

The deal will involve the mass production of self-driving vehicles that would be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network.

Separately, the Japanese car manufacturer has also agreed to invest $500 million in Uber, valuing the business at approximately $72 billion. A press release issued by the firms stated that self-driving tech from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles.

The fleet will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan model with pilot trials beginning in 2021.

Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation, described the agreement and investment as “an important milestone” in the firm’s transformation to a mobility company.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, added: “Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality.”

Musk abandons idea to take Tesla private

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is no longer taking electric vehicle maker Tesla private.

Musk announced on Friday that he was abandoning the plan because it was more time-consuming and distractign than anticipated and based on shareholder feedback.

In a blog post, he wrote: “Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was ‘please don’t do this’.”

Musk, who owns around a fifth of the company, shocked investors earlier this month when he announced on Twitter that he wanted to take Tesla private at a value of $72 billion.

Government unveils £1m diversity pot

In a bid to help people from underrepresented groups gain new digital and tech skills, the government has unveiled a new £1 million fund to boost diversity in the industry.

The Digital Skills Innovation Fund is now open for bids from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and combined authorities for initiatives which specifically aim to help people take up digital roles.

The funding will be used to help women, disabled people, people from minority backgrounds or those living in lower socioeconomic areas to succeed in digital roles such as data analysts, programmers, cyber security specialists, software developers and marketeers.

A new £400,000 Digital Inclusion Fund has also been launched to help older and disabled people acquire digital skills like booking GP appointments online and using apps to communicate with friends and family.

UK students win third place in ‘Robotics olympics’

A team of UK students has been hailed for “exceeding expectations” after finishing third in a STEM-inspired international robotics competition.

The FIRST Global Challenge in Mexico took place between 16th and 18th of August and featured teams from more than 165 nations, including 11 all-female teams.

Team UK’s Omar Ben-Gacem, Patrick Jordan, Ashleigh Rudesill, Zarina Choudhari-Stewart, Mackensie Kim and Dom Alberts designed and programmed their own robot, using a standard kit used by all teams, to carry out a series of challenges in the finals.

The tournament, dubbed the ‘Robotics Olympics’, was held in the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City and secured the presence of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Can Facebook compete with Snapchat?

Facebook is apparently struggling to compete with the likes of Snapchat to remain relevant to a younger generation.

Snapchat is expected to grow its demographic of 18-to-24-year-olds by over 350,000 this year, to just under five million, putting it ahead of Facebook for the first time in the UK, according to a new report by eMarketer.

By 2019 Snapchat is forecast to have almost five million regular users aged 18-24.