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Author: Tan KW   |   Latest post: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 8:52 PM

 

Apple gains footing in court feud with ex-executive turned rival

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 8:52 PM


A former top chip engineer at Apple Inc may have a hard time shaking off a breach-of-contract lawsuit the iPhone maker filed against him after he quit and launched his own processor company.

Gerard Williams III helped lead development of the chips used to power iPhones during his decade as a platform architect with Apple before he founded Nuvia Inc last year. Williams contends a provision in the contract he had with Apple conflicts with a California law that allows workers to develop new businesses while they are employed elsewhere.

But in a tentative ruling rejecting his request to toss the suit, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark Pierce said the law doesn’t permit an employee "to plan and prepare to create a competitive enterprise prior to termination if the employee does so on their employer’s time and with the employer’s resources.”

The judge also dismissed a claim by Williams that Apple invaded his privacy by reviewing text messages he wrote to coworkers that were critical of the company. Williams sought to have those texts excluded as evidence in the suit. Pierce disagreed. "There are no allegations in the complaint establishing that the text messages were obtained as the result of eavesdropping upon or recording a confidential communication, ” he wrote.

Pierce sided with Williams in rejecting Apple’s bid for punitive damages, saying the company hasn’t shown that the engineer intentionally tried to harm his former employer by being disloyal.

While the ruling doesn’t address the merits of Apple’s claims, it will allow the company to proceed with pretrial information-sharing if the judge makes it final.

Claude Stern, an attorney for Williams, plans to contest the judge’s findings at a hearing on Jan 21 in San Jose. Stern said he’ll argue that Williams can’t be sued simply for coming up with an idea for a new business while at Apple, as opposed to taking inventions he worked on that belong to his previous employer.

The attorney also noted the judge’s conclusion that Apple’s intellectual property agreement with Williams "arguably” violates California law by forbidding him from soliciting the company’s employees even after he left his job.

"Gerard steadfastly denies any of the allegations in the complaint, ” Stern said in a phone interview.

Williams left Apple in February before starting Nuvia that same month with other former Apple developers. He was "chief architect” for Apple’s chips for its mobile devices. His new company is developing processors for use in data centres. In November, Nuvia exited stealth mode and announced funding worth US$53mil .

 - Bloomberg

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Facebook’s ‘failed’ Libra cryptocurrency is no closer to release

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 6:12 PM


Facebook Inc’s Libra cryptocurrency starts 2020 looking no closer to release, with authorities in its base in Switzerland raising fresh questions about its suitability as a global currency.

Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer said on Dec 27 in Bern that the country can’t approve Libra in its current form, telegraphing to Facebook that the product it wants to launch in Geneva isn’t going get a green light from regulators anytime soon.

Maurer went further in an interview with Swiss broadcaster SRF that same day, saying the project "has failed” in its current form because the basket of currencies Libra proposed to back the digital currency haven’t been accepted by the issuing national banks.

The blunt language marks a dramatic change in tone from the warm welcome Swiss regulators gave to Facebook in June when it chose Geneva as the project’s base. Back then, the social-networking giant paid homage to the city’s pedigree as a hub of international cooperation while Swiss officials raved about the "positive” signals it sent about Switzerland’s role in an "ambitious international project”.

But after the Securities & Exchange Commission, US and European politicians lined up to express concerns about currency sovereignty, Facebook’s recent record on misuse of data, and Libra’s potential as a magnet for financial criminals, Swiss officials began to change their tune.

"As long as the SEC is concerned about Libra, saying it’s based on relatively new and unproven technology and could rival the US dollar, other governments including the Swiss will take a wait and see approach, ” said Nils Reimelt of Capco Digital, a financial services consulting company in Zurich.

Libra also made a strategic error in not reaching out to Swiss bank regulator Finma about applying for a banking license before announcing its Geneva plans, Reimelt said. The Libra Association then decided to not include the safe-haven Swiss franc in the basket of currencies backing the cryptocurrency, creating further uncertainty, according to Reimelt.

Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan voiced those concerns in a speech in September, without mentioning Libra explicitly. "If stable coins pegged to foreign currencies were to establish themselves in Switzerland, the effectiveness of our monetary policy could be impaired.”

Money laundering

Finma joined Jordan in sounding a note of caution, saying in September that Libra would be have to adopt "bank-like” rules on risk and apply the "highest international anti-money laundering standards”.

Some governments and regulators have raised questions "that we take very seriously and are working hard to provide thoughtful answers”, the Libra Association said in a statement. "We are committed to a continuous and constructive dialogue” with them and "our objective remains to find the best way to launch a fast, secure and compliant international payment system.”

Bertrand Perez, Libra’s chief operating officer is set to speak Jan 20 at the Geneva Blockchain Congress. Facebook planned to launch Libra in 2020 but has since backed off on timing, with Perez saying in September that its introduction depends on discussions with regulators.

"This is why indeed we cannot say that we won’t launch in 2020, or that we are certain to launch on a particular date in 2020, ” he said.

After Maurer’s December salvo, the Swiss government on Jan 15 issued a more subtly-worded memo, insinuating that it might be more open to a rethink of the project. It will continue to monitor Libra, the council said,"in particular the form which Libra may take in the future".

"Switzerland is generally open to projects that reduce the cost of cross-border payment transactions and seek to promote financial inclusion, ” the government said.

That’s a clear signal to Libra, says Capco’s Reimelt, that "governments want to stay in control and Libra has to tweak their model and align to regulations to not become a threat.”

 - Bloomberg

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Tencent says to step up investment overseas and in smart retail

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 4:21 PM


BEIJING: Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings said it will step up its investment overseas and in industries such as "smart retail", having already invested in more than 800 companies.

Those firms include 70 listed companies and over 160 are valued at more than US$1bil , according a speech made by Tencent President Martin Lau at a conference last week which the company posted on its social media account on Jan 20.

Tencent is known to have stakes in firms such as food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, e-commerce site Pinduoduo and video game companies such as Riot Games and Supercell.

But the company, worth US$490bil and the second-biggest company in Asia by market value after arch-rival Alibaba Group Holdings, rarely gives an overview or discloses details of its investment activities.

"Previously our traditional investment sectors were mostly focused on video games content and frontiers of science and technology," Lau told a gathering of more than 500 Tencent-backed companies.

"However, with the development of Tencent's WeChat mini-app ecosystem and payment platform, we will pay more attention to smart retail and payment platforms in future," he said.

 - Reuters

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Tesla moves a step closer to opening first European factory with German property deal

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 4:20 PM


BERLIN: US electric car pioneer Tesla has agreed to buy a property on the outskirts of Berlin, bringing it a step closer to opening its first European factory, local authorities said on Jan 19.

The US carmaker last November announced plans to build a giant factory in Gruenheide, in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, giving it the coveted "Made in Germany" label just as local rivals prepare to launch competing models.

Tesla's board of directors approved a purchase agreement with the state of Brandenburg on Jan 18 to acquire a 300-hectare property, Brandenburg government spokesman Florian Engels said in a statement. The state parliament's finance committee had already approved the sale on Jan 9.

A Tesla spokeswoman confirmed the deal.

The agreement states a preliminary property price of €40.91mil which can be amended if an external review provides a different value, Engels said.

The property is in a designated industrial area and is being checked for weapons from World War II as there are most likely unexploded US bombs still in the ground, he added.

Politicians, unions and industry groups have welcomed Tesla's move which is expected to create up to 7,000 jobs in Brandenburg.

But some 250 locals took to the streets to protest on Jan 18, fearing the factory could endanger the water supply and wildlife in the surrounding forest.

 - Reuters

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[转贴] 四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 4:20 PM


车东西(公众号:chedongxi)
文 |  James

车东西1月15日消息,近年来,全球各大车企都在不断研发ADAS(L1/2级自动驾驶)系统,其中一个重要的环节就是车道保持辅助和车道偏离警告系统。

不过,不同车企的驾驶辅助系统在功能和使用方面都各不相同,这些系统究竟可以怎样辅助驾驶,又是否可以提升行驶安全呢?近日,外媒Digital Trends对本田、英菲尼迪、奔驰特斯拉等车企的车道保持辅助和车道偏离警告系统进行了横向评测,方便大家了解不同车企安全辅助系统的作用与区别。

车东西对外媒Digital Trends的评测进行了编译,在不改变文章原意的前提下略有删改。

一、目前两种主要的车道辅助功能

车道保持辅助和车道偏离警告是近年来出现的汽车新功能,车道偏离警告系统可以在汽车偏离车道时向驾驶员发出警报,而车道保持辅助可以修正汽车行驶方向,防止汽车驶出车道。这些系统通常与车内其他安全系统共同工作,例如与自适应巡航系统和自动紧急制动系统配合,能够提升车辆行驶的安全性。

车道偏离警告系统运行时会实时扫描道路,识别车道的位置和方向。如果汽车偏离车道的位置,车辆可以发出蜂鸣声或显示警告信息提醒驾驶员,在驾驶员纠正行驶车道之后,提示才会停止。

车道保持辅助功能可以自动修正车道,因此是车道偏离警告系统的发展。这一功能有两种不同的实现方式,其中一种是在车辆一侧制动,由于左右轮胎的速度不同,可以使汽车转向。

另一种是直接介入车辆的转向系统,这种方式可以在偏离车道时对方向进行微调,也可以在出现失控危险时全面干预转向系统。某些自动转向系统可以辅助驾驶员在高速公路上平滑入弯,还有像特斯拉和奔驰提供的车道保持辅助功能可以直接帮助驾驶员改变车道。

不过,这些车道保持功能也并非完美,目前还不能完全代替驾驶员操作,所以在驾驶过程中仍要驾驶员保持专注。

二、本田车道偏移抑制系统

本田的大多数车型目前已经安装了车道保持辅助或车道偏离警告功能。此外,本田还开发了车道偏移抑制系统,这一功能同样可以对车道偏移进行监视,在驾驶员因不专注导致车道偏移时,同时通过方向盘震动和仪表盘警示灯提醒驾驶员。

通过车道偏移抑制系统,方向盘会自行工作修正车道。如果车道偏离过于严重,车辆可以制动保持原有车道。本田表示,车道偏移抑制功能是车道保持辅助功能的升级,同时可在任何时候工作,较车道偏离警告功能使用场景更加广泛。

四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉

▲本田的车道偏移抑制系统

本田的一些车型还配备了LaneWatch盲点显示系统,这一系统在副驾驶一侧的后视镜上安装了一个摄像头。当驾驶员在变线或者右转弯时,摄像头拍摄的内容会呈现在中控显示屏上。这一功能可以减少因后视镜角度小而造成车辆的视觉死角,可以辅助驾驶员提升行车安全。

三、英菲尼迪DAS线控转向系统

英菲尼迪的DAS线控转向系统将道路对方向盘的影响降到最低。使用DAS线控转向系统,在不平整的路面、倾斜路面或是大风天气都不会因为外界环境造成方向盘抖动或偏移。DAS线控转向系统还可以与车道保持辅助系统配合使用,帮助车辆修正路线,保持汽车行驶在车道中央。

四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉

▲英菲尼迪DAS线控转向系统示意图

此外,英菲尼迪还为部分车型配备了主动车道控制系统(ALC),可以保持车辆始终在车道中央行驶。不过,英菲尼迪的DAS线控转向系统和主动车道控制系统(ALC)二者并没有配合使用,而是两个独立的系统。

四、奔驰方向盘控制系统

奔驰为许多车型提供了车道保持辅助系统,这个系统可以对单个车轮制动。因为车轮转速的不同,汽车可以轻微转向驶回车道。

四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉

▲奔驰方向盘控制系统

此外,奔驰还拥有方向盘控制系统,可以使汽车保持在车道中央。这两个功能都可以在最高124英里的时速(约合198公里/小时)时介入辅助,对提升驾驶安全性有很大帮助。方向盘控制系统主要依靠车道识别保持车道中央行驶,同时也可以跟随前方的车辆。

奔驰的方向盘控制系统还能协助临近其他车辆的驾驶员。当配备方向盘控制系统的车辆驶入临近其他车辆的盲区时,车辆会允许方向盘控制系统介入,使车辆驶出其他车辆的盲区。

五、特斯拉Autopilot自动辅助驾驶系统

特斯拉的Autopilot自动辅助驾驶系统备受人们关注。目前,特斯拉已经具备自动辅助导航驾驶功能,车辆可以在到达路口之前提前变线。此外,自动辅助变道可以在高速公路上自动辅助变换车道。

四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉

▲特斯拉Autopilot自动辅助驾驶系统

对于这两项自动驾驶功能,特斯拉建议驾驶员应该紧握方向盘,随时准备人工干预。

目前,大多数车道保持辅助系统都是辅助驾驶员保持在车道上,但是特斯拉的Autopilot自动辅助驾驶系统还能在需要时改变车道。

结语:辅助驾驶 提升安全

车道保持辅助和车道偏离警告可以在多方面提升驾驶体验,也能在关键时刻保证驾驶安全。这两个技术已经发展了多年,不少车企也在不断开发迭代产品,功能更多而且安全性提升更多。

随着自动驾驶技术的不断提升,车道保持辅助也将成为自动驾驶的众多“能力”之一,而不是当作汽车的一个卖点。在未来,车辆安全辅助会更加全面,也更加人性化。

 

http://zhidx.com/p/189773.html

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'You're stealing our water': Germans protest against Tesla gigafactory

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 3:06 PM


BERLIN: Around 250 Germans on Jan 18 protested in the outskirts of Berlin where electric car startup Tesla is planning to build a gigafactory, saying its construction will endanger water supply and wildlife in the area.

The US carmaker announced plans last November to build its first European car factory in Gruenheide, in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

Politicians, unions and industry groups have welcomed the move, saying it will bring jobs to the region, but environmental concerns drove hundreds of locals to the streets on Jan 18.

"We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is stealing our water," protesters called.

Jan 18's protest came after a Brandenburg water association on Jan 16 warned against "extensive and serious problems with the drinking water supply and wastewater disposal" for the proposed factory.

Anne Bach, a 27-year-old environmental activist, said Tesla's plans published earlier this month showed it would need more than 300 cubic meters of water per hour which would drain the area's declining reserves.

"I am not against Tesla... But it's about the site; in a forest area that is a protected wildlife zone. Is this necessary?" Bach said.

"In such an ecological system like the one here and with the background that climate is changing, I cannot understand why another location was not selected from the beginning," said Frank Gersdorf, a member of "Citizens' Initiative Gruenheide against Gigafactory", a local group that organised Jan 18's protest.

Environmentalist protests in Germany have previously halted and delayed major companies' plans such RWE's lignite mining at the Hambach forest, near Cologne, which has become a symbol of the anti-coal protests.

Jan 18's protest, which Gersdorf and Bach said developed spontaneously from a 50-people forest walk demonstration, highlighted the deforestation of around 300 hectares to build the factory and its impact on wildlife, including birds, insects and bats.

People were also protesting against an expected "enormous" increase in traffic on a nearby highway and through the villages.

Next to the protest, on the other side of the street, around 20 people carried banners welcoming Tesla in their village, with children chanting,"We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is building our future."

Bernd Kutz, a Gruenheide local, said Tesla would bring improvement to the area, create jobs and give chances to young people.

"I am here because I don't understand those demonstrators who shout and show us the finger," Kutz said. "Why has it always to be negative?"

 - Reuters

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