SpaceX successfully launches Iridium-5 Falcon 9 mission

SpaceX has successfully launched its Iridium -5 mission, which carries 10 satellites to add to Iridium’s NEXT global communications constellation. This is the fifth set of 10, out of a total of 75 that SpaceX is launching for client Iridium, and today’s launch used a first stage Falcon 9 booster originally employed last October for the third Iridium NEXT satellite launch. The launch included reuse of a flight proven rocket, but it did not include a recovery attempt for the first stage booster this time around. SpaceX is attempting to recover one half of the fairing used during the launch, which is the protective metal shielding that covers the cargo as the rocket blasts through the atmosphere en route to space. The fairing alone is worth around $6 million, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has indicated that it would be relatively easy to refurbish this part for repeat flight, provided
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The SteelSeries Arctis Pro lineup is a new high-water mark in comfort and quality

SteelSeries has two new Arctis Pro gaming headsets out, and they pack a lot of tech and versatility into a comfortable, visually attractive package. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and Arctis Pro + GameDAC are both incredibly capable headsets that deliver terrific sound, and depending on your system needs, should probably be your first choice when looking for new gaming audio gear. The Arctis Pro Wireless is, true to its name, wire-free, but also promises lossless 2.4GHz transmission to ensure lag-free audio, too – a must for competitive gaming. The combination of the wireless functionality, the long-wearing comfort of the suspension system headband and the included transmitter base that can hold and charge a swappable battery as well as display all key information on an OLED readout makes this a standout choice. There are some limitations, however – compatibility is limited to either PS4 or PC for this one,
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Watch SpaceX launch Iridium-5 aboard a re-used Falcon 9 rocket live

SpaceX is launching its next mission for client Iridium this morning, with an instantaneous launch window for the mission opening at 7:13 AM PDT (10:13 AM EDT). The Iridium -5 mission will take off from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and there’s a backup window set for March 31 at 7:08 AM PDT (10:08 AM EDT). The mission will carry a fifth set of 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit designed for inclusion in Iridium’s NEXT global commercial satellite network. Iridium’s NEXT mission is what it terms one of the most ambitious and biggest “tech upgrades” in history, as it replaces satellites in its own existing constellation one-by-one with upgraded models. The Falcon 9 first stage booster used for this mission is a flight-proven one that previously flew during the Iridium-3 mission last October, when the third set of 10 satellites went up for Iridium. SpaceX won’t be
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SF Motors reveals first two EVs, aims to ship its first SUV by next year

SF Motors has revealed its first two models, electric vehicles aiming for 2018 production and 2019 street dates. The electric vehicle technology company with a headquarters in Silicon Valley, as well as a globe-spanning R&D footprint and manufacturing facilities in both China and the U.S., and it’s aiming to distinguish itself rom the established market with unique powertrains, autonomous features and shared technology development. Their first two cars are the SF5 and SF7, a smaller and a mid-sized all-electric SUV. The SF5 is aiming to have a pre-order date of 2018, and will also aim to ship in 2019 to customers if all goes to plan. They’ll feature “proprietary” powertrain technology that will achieve 1000 horsepower and a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of under 3 seconds. Range is rated at over 300 miles by EPA standards, SF Motors says, thanks to a “patented” battery system that emphasizes safety
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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang clarifies Uber is not using its Drive platform

While Uber makes use of Nvidia hardware in its own self-driving automotive technology, it does not employ Nvidia’s Drive autonomous computing platform, which includes the GPU maker’s own real-time sensor fusion, HD mapping and path planning. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang shared this information today during a Q&A session attended by reporters at the company’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose. “Uber does not use Nvidia’s Drive technology,” Huang said. “Uber develops their own sensing and drive technology.” Huang also reiterated comments made during an earlier Q&A that Nvidia ceased its own testing on public roads (its fleet comprises only about 5 or 6 vehicles in total at any given time, the company points out) out of an abundance of caution, and simply because it’s good engineering practice to pause and reflect when a new variable is discovered in any engineering problem. The Nvidia CEO also clarified that Nvidia stopped
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Uber blocked from testing self-driving cars on Arizona roads

Uber has been barred from testing its self-driving cars on public roads in Arizona following the accident last week involving one of its testing vehicles that killed a pedestrian crossing the street in its path. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey released a letter sent to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in which he described the accident as captured by onboard cameras as “disturbing and alarming.” The governor, who has been a strong proponent of self-driving testing in the state up until this point, advocating for Uber and other companies to bring their programs to Arizona roads, also directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to “suspend” Uber’s self-driving testing access. Uber had already suspending testing of its autonomous test vehicles not only in Arizona, but in all markets following the crash and pending the results of its investigation. The ride-hailing company had begun operations in Arizona in 2016, following its launch of
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Lynk & Co reveals the 02 crossover SUV and details European rollout plans

Geely’s Lynk & Co is one of the more interesting young automotive brands, with an approach to sales and marketing that more closely resembles modern gadget and lifestyle brand go-to-market strategy than traditional automaker sales. The Lynk & Co 01 SUV, designed to sit somewhere between Geely’s line on one end and Volvo’s vehicles on the other, debuted last year; now the company is revealing its 02, a more compact crossover SUV, again designed with mobility, connectivity, and the potential for shared use in mind. The 02 was designed and engineered in Sweden, Lynk & Co says, by a team of international talent. It has a sportier look and feel when compared to the 01, but also clearly shares design traits with the original Lynk & CO. vehicle. The car is intended to capitalize on the rapidly growing crossover SUV model, which is particularly strong in Europe, where Lynk
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Aurora hires SpaceX’s Jinnah Hosein, opens SF and Pittsburgh offices

Self-driving technology company Aurora has made some key moves on its leadership team and overall company growth: It’s bringing on SpaceX’s now former head of software engineering, Jinnah Hosein, to lead its own software engineering team in a VP role. The autonomous software provider is also opening up two new offices, including one in San Francisco, and another in Pittsburgh, in addition to its existing HQ in Palo Alto. Bringing on Hosein is a huge move for Aurora, which will now have some additional senior leadership taken to help direct and organize its growing engineering team, according to Aurora co-founder Chris Urmson . Hosein’s background includes his time as VP of Software Engineering at SpaceX, where he spent the past four years and oversaw projects including the recent successful Falcon Heavy launch. Before that, he was Director of Software Engineering at Google working on Google Cloud, site reliability and other software
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FedEx reserves 20 Tesla Semi all-electric big rig trucks

FedEx is the latest major logistics company to lock in an order for Tesla’s forthcoming Semi electric Class 8 trailer trucks. The shipping provider has ordered 20 of the vehicles, according to a press release from FedEx itself, which will go into service in its FedEx Freight department. The FedEx order is dwarfed by rival UPS’s initial commitment: Big brown laid down reservations for 125 of the Tesla trucks late last year, shortly following the vehicle’s initial unveiling. FedEx Freight CEO Mike Ducker said in a statement that the company’s investment in this initial reservation is part of its overall efforts to reduce its impact on the environment, however, so it seems likely if this works out it could commit to more. Tesla has a lot of cumulative orders for its Semi, though each only represents a small pilot relative to the size of the business of the companies
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Elon Musk’s next Boring Co. merch will be big Lego bricks made from tunnel rock

Elon Musk’s The Boring Company is indeed living up to its namesake and boring tunnels, but its primary source of revenue still seems to be selling stuff branded with its logo. First there was the hat, then the ‘not a flamethrower,’ and now Musk has said that the company will produce and sell large, “lifesize” interlocking bricks created using rock collected while the company’s boring machines dig out tunnels under the earth. These will be “super strong,” but with their middles hollowed out to make them lighter and easier to actually move around and use. They’re “rated for California seismic loads,” too, according to Musk, which sounds like he thinks people could use these to actually build dwellings.

First up for sale will be a kit with an ancient

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Elon Musk’s Boring Co. flamethrower ships in time for summer BBQs

Elon Musk raised a significant chunk of money for his tunnel boring venture, the aptly named Boring Company, via sales of a heavily marked up ‘flamethrower’ with Boring Co. branding. Those pre-sales are all concluded, but now people who put down cash to reserve one are finding out when they can get their flame on. In an email to pre-order buyers, The Boring Company noted that the technically “not-a-flamethrower” production run should be wrapping up this spring, which means deliveries can be expected at least in time for “summer party” time. That’s good because people definitely need this fire generating device in time for the dry summer months, when forest fire risks are highest. Another tidbit from the note to buyers: Customers can expect terms and conditions to be signed off ahead of shipments, which should be heading out in the next couple of weeks according to the company. The
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AeroMobil’s new electric flying car concept is a sporty 4-seater

Flying cars are more down to earth than ever – at least, in that their physical design is moving closer to something resembling a car. The AeroMobil 5th generation all-electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) concept is no exception, with styling that makes it look sort of like a near-future SUV or crossover, with a wide nose but a sleek, low design that suggests sporty performance. The AeroMobil 5.0 VTOL joins the previously revealed 4.0 STOL (short take-off and landing) vehicle that the company showed off last year. The plan is to put both models into service, with the STOL handling short hops between cities, while this 5.0 vehicle would get people around within metropolitan environments, since they’re more flexible in terms of take-off and landing spots. Both are capable of both flying and driving, depending on the needs of the situation, and the VTOL has the
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Uber debuts Uber Freight Plus to lower operating costs for carriers

Uber is sweetening the pot for its Uber Freight offering aimed at commercial trucking. The company is launching Uber Freight Plus today, a program designed to help alleviate costs around some of the more expensive aspects of owning and operating a transport vehicle, including fuel, tire and maintenance discounts, as well as new purchase bonuses for buying either brand new or used trucks. The Uber Freight Plus program will provide up to $0.20 per gallon discounts off of the retail price at big, name brand fuel chains across the U.S., and around $0.15 per gallon in rebates at some smaller independent stops in California, Texas and Illinois. Operators will save an average of $130 per tire on replacements, and they can save up to $16,000 (in ‘customer value’) on new trucks, or as much as $4,000 on used vehicles. For maintenance, Uber says members will
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Toyota pauses automated driving testing on U.S. roads following Uber accident

Automaker Toyota has temporarily ceases its public road testing of its fully autonomous ‘Chauffeur’ system in the U.S. after an accident earlier this week saw an Uber self-driving test vehicle strike a pedestrian, which ultimately resulted in her death. Police have stated that initial findings suggest the accident would’ve been extremely difficult to avoid regardless of whether a human or an AV system was in control at the time, because of how quickly the victim crossed in front of the moving vehicle (outside of a crosswalk), but Toyota has indicated to Bloomberg that it’s stopping testing for now due to the potential “emotional effect on [its] test drivers.” Toyota spokesperson Brian Lyons noted that the automaker couldn’t speculate on the cause of the crash or its implications for the future of the self-driving industry, which is a fairly standard line I’ve heard across automakers and others involved in
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8bitdo’s wireless adapter adds flexibility to Xbox, PlayStation and Switch controllers

Game controller compatibility is a labyrinthine nightmare most of the time: Some controllers work with some platforms some of the time, but it’s very hard to keep track of how and when. 8bitdo’s latest accessory adds some simplicity to the mix, enabling use of Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch controllers with Switch, Windows and macOS systems quickly and easily. Yes, that means you can play your PC or Mac games with your favorite Xbox One X/S or DualShock 3/4 controller, or even use a Joy-Con. It also means that you can use a DualShock controller to play Breath of the Wild on the Switch, ion that’s what you want to do. The USB dongle also works with Android TV hardware, and with Raspberry Pi-based devices. It supports DualShock 4 vibration and 6-axis motion control on Switch, and it works lag-free for low latency gaming requirements. It’s also a tiny
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Insta360 One gets a massive upgrade with FlowState stabilization

One of the better 360-degree cameras out there just got a lot better: The Insta360 One, a standalone 4K 360 camera with a built-in iPhone or Android hardware connector now supports FlowState onboard stabilization. This provides much better automatic stabilization than the Insta360 One supported at launch, and enables a bunch of new editing and formatting features that really improve the value proposition of the $299 gadget. As you can see above, FlowState allows you to do a lot more with your footage after the fact, including creating smooth pans across footage for exporting to more standard vertical and wide-angle formats (since it’s very rare that people actually watch all that much true 360-degree footage). The changes make Insta360’s device a lot more like the Rylo camera in use, and more suitable for action sports and other adventure-friendly uses. Users can now add transition points in the mobile
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Japan’s government is providing nearly $1B to boost homegrown space startups

Japan wants to formally encourage domestic startups to pursue the growing opportunities in commercial space. The Japanese government has earmarked around $1 billion in public funds to startups working on space solutions. At the same time, the government revealed that it’s working on a legal path towards establishing commercial development on the moon. This is a big injection in the private space race, and the funds will be allocated both as investments and as loans, spanning five years and beginning during this fiscal year. The goal is to boost the Japanese space business, hoping to help amplify its growth and propel it to a 2.4 trillion yen ($22.5 billion) market by the beginning of the 2030s, per the Nikkei. Startups that qualify will be able to receive aid of up to 10 million yen per company, or around $100,000 U.S., for things like research costs and
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Ford’s new SmartLink connected upgrade for older vehicles will be available mid-2018

Ford is finally detailing availability of its FordPass SmartLink accessory, an OBD II plug-in device with Verizon 4G LTE on board which can add connected car features to model year 2010 to 2017 Ford vehicles that don’t already have native connectivity built in. The FordPass accessory will be available across the U.S. sometime in the middle of this year, with dealer enrolment now open. Dealers will provide the device to end users, providing installation for the add-on hardware, which will then cost users $16.99 per month for 24 months to get telematics services including remote key fob (via smartphone), car location and vehicle health alerts. The Verizon 4G LTE hotspot feature is an additional cost, but users will get a free trial for 30 days or until they reach 1GB of data usage. This is a way for Ford to build up its data business even on existing
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Waze Carpool expands to the entire state of Washington

Google -owned Waze is growing the footprint of its Waze Carpool product with a market expansion today to cover all of Washington state. That means Carpool is now available in California, Texas, Isreal and Washington following today’s launch. Waze also recently revamped its Carpool experience, which now includes new options for choosing what rides to tag along with, driver gender filters and other convenience tools that are designed to make the experience feel safer and more comfortable overall. Waze says this expansion shows that it’s increasing its commitment to the Carpool side of its project offering, since it’ll now reach an additional 375,000 commuters in Seattle alone. The company also has the support of local government in Seattle, with officials expressing their support for new solutions hoping to mitigate traffic in a press release announcing the launch. The Waze Carpool app is different from other offerings including Uber Pool,
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Uber self-driving test car involved in accident resulting in pedestrian death

An autonomous Uber test SUV driving in Tempe, Arizona was involved in a fatal collision last night, and the Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time the accident occurred, according to Tempe Police (via Daisuke Wakabayashi). The Uber SUV was driving northbound, and a woman crossed in its path outside of a crosswalk, at which point she was struck by the vehicle. She was later taken to hospital, as first reported by local Arizona ABC news affiliate ABC 15, where she died as a result of her injuries. As is required for Uber’s autonomous test vehicles operating on public roads, the AV had a safety driver at the wheel. Safety drivers are in place in order to be able to take control of the autonomous test vehicle in case the self-driving system should fail or appear to be at risk of endangering others on the road.
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