Uber’s big SoftBank deal has officially closed

 SoftBank’s $1.2 billion primary direct investment deal has officially closed, according to Uber itself, which confirmed the deal closure and provided the following statement to TechCrunch via a spokesperson:
We’re proud to have SoftBank, Dragoneer and the entire consortium in the Uber family. This is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers, strengthening… Read More

Drone comes to the rescue of two swimmers in Australia

 One day, they may yet turn against us, but for now, they’re still our allies: A drone rescued two teenage swimmers in distress off the course of New South Wales in Australia, according to a new report. The drone spotted two teenagers in trouble around a half-a-mile out from shore, and then dropped a flotation device it carries for the purpose to give them something to hang on to (via… Read More

Toyota and Lexus vehicles will finally start getting CarPlay this year

 Toyota has been a holdout from CarPlay, Apple’s in-dash infotainment system that works with your iPhone. The automaker and its luxury brand Lexus have yet to offer it in any models, despite most other car companies giving in on at least a few vehicles (which tends to later to broader rollout thereafter). The new 2019 Toyota Avalon will have CarPlay on board, however. The vehicle was… Read More

Nissan Xmotion concept blends sci-fi and serenity – and includes a fish friend

 Nissan has a brand new concept vehicle it unveiled at CES this year, called the ‘Xmotion.’ The crossover SUV concept vehicle features sleek exterior lines with sharp angles to accentuate details like the headlights, and inside blends touchscreen displays, innovative control mechanisms and spare accents to provide a look that’s both futuristic, and strangely rural and… Read More

Ottawa to invest $49 million in Linamar’s advanced auto parts manufacturing tech

OTTAWA — The federal government will announce a $49-million grant to help automotive parts maker Linamar Corp. develop its advanced manufacturing technologies.

Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains will make the announcement this morning in Guelph, Ont.

The project will be the first to receive cash through a federal program announced in last year’s budget to support research and development, the scale-up of high-potential companies and efforts to attract investment to Canada.

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Ottawa’s strategic innovation fund is open to all sectors and will allocate $1.26 billion over five years through a combination of grants and loans.

The federal government says the Linamar grant will create 1,500 jobs in Canada and help maintain more than 8,000 other positions.

Linamar has plans to open a new innovation centre in Guelph that’s dedicated to research and development, and the new funding will help advance the company’s work in areas such as artificial intelligence.

Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica begins testing in San Francisco

 Waymo is bringing its self-driving cars back to San Francisco streets for testing. TechCrunch has obtained pictures of the Waymo Chrysler Pacifica autonomous test vehicle on SF city roads, and Waymo confirmed that it is indeed bringing test vehicles back to one of the first spots where it ever tested AVs in the first place.
A Waymo spokesperson provided the following statement about its… Read More

GM and Cruise reveal their fourth-generation, steering wheel-free Cruise AV

 GM and Cruise are making progress on their plan to deploy autonomous vehicles on roads for the public: Today, it’s showing off its fourth-generation Cruise Autonomous Vehicle (AV), which comes just a few short months after it first revealed its third-generation vehicle. The fourth generation car is production-ready, according to GM’s Dan Ammann, who discussed the new vehicle on a… Read More

Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX in-car assistant and smart UI rocks

 It’s rare that I pay much attention to automaker infotainment and multimedia system updates at CES – usually there’s too much going on with autonomy, electrification and mobility services to give it much thought. This year, however, Mercedes-Benz had one of the most interesting announcements at the show with its new MBUX smart multimedia system and in-car voice activated… Read More