KeepTruckin raises $190 million to invest in AI products, double R&D team to 700

Mapping platform

KeepTruckin, a hardware and software developer that helps trucking fleets manage vehicle, cargo and driver safety, has just raised $190 million in a Series E funding round, which puts the company’s valuation at over $2 billion, according to CEO Shoaib Makani. 

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Supposing the FBI secretly ran a fleet of AI Self-Driving Cars to track and ultimately nab unsuspecting Criminals

FBI Agent in front of a picture board

Gotcha! Self-Driving Cars And Snagging Crooks.You might have seen the recent headlines blaring that the FBI secretly duped hundreds of alleged criminals by providing in the open marketplace one of those seemingly secure communications apps akin to a WhatsApp, Signal, Wickr Me, Viber, or similar encryption messaging platforms. Would-be and actual crooks apparently could not resist the allure of using a form of communication that they apparently thought was completely safeguarded from the authorities and altogether foolproof.

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Uber veteran launches her ‘AI Mindset’ Self-Driving startup with $83.5 million round

Waabi CEO Raquel Urtasan

Computer scientist Raquel Urtasan, an artificial intelligence expert who led a team of Toronto-based engineers for Uber’s self-driving vehicle program, is launching tech startup Waabi with an $83.5 million funding round and a new “AI mindset” approach to commercializing automated driving.

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MIT Researchers Leverage Machine Learning for better Lidar (with video)

Car with LIDAR

Lidar (short for light detection and ranging) is an increasingly common technology – it’s embedded in iPhones and Teslas – that uses lasers to measure distances, allowing accurate remote mapping of small and large spaces. In satellites, for instance, lidar is used to measure elevation; in self-driving cars, it’s used to map the road, obstacles, and so on. Now, researchers from MIT are leveraging machine learning to allow more detailed processing of lidar data in real-time. 

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Rebranded Toyota Ventures invests $300 million in emerging tech and carbon neutrality 

Toyota ventures

Toyota AI Ventures, Toyota’s standalone venture capital fund, has dropped the “AI” and is reborn as, simply, Toyota Ventures. The fund is commemorating its new identity by investing an additional $300 million in emerging technologies and carbon neutrality via two early-stage funds: the Toyota Ventures Frontier Fund and the Toyota Ventures Climate Fund. 

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Goldman Sachs leads $202M investment in project44, doubling its valuation to $1.2B in a matter of months

Goldman Sachs - Project44

Project44 announced it has raised $202 million in a Series E funding round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Emergence Capital. Girteka and Lineage Logistics also participated in the financing, which gives project44 a post-money valuation of $1.2 billion. That doubles the company’s valuation at the time of its Insight Partners-led $100 million Series D in December, and brings its total raised since inception to $442.5 million.

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RapidDeploy raises $29M for a cloud-based dispatch platform aimed at 911 centers

Rapid Deploy

RapidDeploy, which provides computer-aided dispatch technology as a cloud-based service for 911 centers, has closed a round of $29 million, a Series B round of funding that will be used both to grow its business, and to continue expanding the SaaS tools that it provides to its customers. In the startup’s point of view, the cloud is essential to running emergency response in the most efficient manner.

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Toyota subsidiary acquires Lyft self-driving division for $550M

Lyft

Woven Planet, a newly established Toyota subsidiary, today announced plans to acquire the self-driving division of Lyft, Level 5, in a deal worth $550 million. The companies say that the purchase will bring together roughly 1,200 scientists and software engineers from Level 5, Woven Planet, and researchers from Toyota Research Institute already working together with Woven Planet.

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Oxbotica raises $13.8M from Ocado to build autonomous vehicle tech for the online grocer’s logistics network

Ocado smart platform

Ocado, the UK online grocer that has been making strides reselling its technology to other grocery companies to help them build and run their own online ordering-and-delivery operations, is making an investment today into what it believes will be the next chapter of how that business will grow: it is taking a £10 million ($13.8 million) stake in Oxbotica, a UK startup that develops autonomous driving systems.

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Domino’s, Nuro to begin autonomous pizza deliveries in Houston

Nuro Dominos robotic pizza delivery

Starting this week, some Domino’s customers in Houston can have a pizza delivered without ever interacting with a human. The pizza delivery giant said Monday it has partnered with autonomous delivery vehicle startup Nuro to allow select customers to have their pizzas dropped at their door via Nuro’s R2 robot.

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On-demand logistics and fulfillment startup Flowspace raises $31M

Flowspace

On-demand warehousing fulfillment startup Flowspace today announced that it raised $31 million in a series B equity funding round. Los Angeles, California-based Flowspace says that the round, which was led by BuildGroup, will enable it to expand its network of fulfillment centers to build on pandemic-driven growth. The company says that the number of orders shipped on its platform increased 10 times during the past year.

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Machine Learning for advanced batteries

ML Energy Storage

NREL uses machine learning (ML)—the next frontier in innovative battery design—to characterize battery performance, lifetime, and safety. Alongside NREL’s extensive computer-aided engineering, ML can be used to accelerate the understanding of new materials, chemistries, and cell designs.  These complex computer algorithms improve battery lifetime predictive modeling and microstructure diagnostics within NREL’s advanced battery research. NREL provides several open data sets to this information and is collaborating with other institutions to standardize battery data.

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Tesla Working on Full Self-Driving Mode, Extending AI Lead 

Tesla Model car

Tesla’s goal to release its level 5 Full Self Driving (FSD) mode autopilot capability in 2021 was deemed unrealistic by the CEO of competitor Waymo in a recent interview.  Tesla is the only autonomous vehicle manufacturer using real-time cameras, rather than pre-mapped Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) to guide vehicle movement. Tesla also…

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Locus Robotics raises $150 million to scale its warehouse robotics platform

Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics, a Wilmington, Massachusetts-based warehouse robotics startup, today announced it has raised $150 million in series E funding at a $1 billion post-money valuation. The company says the funding will allow it to accelerate product innovation and global expansion. Locus expects that in the next four years, over a million warehouse robots will be installed and that the number of warehouses using them will grow tenfold.

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Recogni raises $48.9 million for AI-powered perception chips

Prism Chip

Recogni, a startup designing an AI-powered vision recognition module for autonomous vehicles, today announced it raised $48.9 million. The company says the funds will help it bring its perception product to market while expanding the size of its engineering and go-to-market teams.

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