The Trinet

Andre Stalz:

The internet will survive longer than the Web will. GOOG-FB-AMZN will still depend on submarine internet cables (the “Backbone”), because it is a technical success. That said, many aspects of the internet will lose their relevance, and the underlying infrastructure could be optimized only for GOOG traffic, FB traffic, and AMZN traffic. It wouldn’t conceptually be anymore a “network of networks”, but just a “network of three networks”, the Trinet, if you will. The concept of workplace network which gave birth to the internet infrastructure would migrate to a more abstract level: Facebook Groups, Google Hangouts, G Suite, and other competing services which can be acquired by a tech giant. Workplace networks are already today emulated in software as a service, not as traditional Local Area Networks. To improve user experience, the Trinet would be a technical evolution of the internet. These efforts are already happening today, at GOOG. In the long-term, supporting routing for the old internet and the old Web would be an overhead, so it could be beneficial to cut support for the diverse internet on the protocol and hardware level. Access to the old internet could be emulated on GOOG’s cloud accessed through the Trinet, much like how Windows 95 can be today emulated in your browser. ISPs would recognize the obsolence of the internet and support the Trinet only, driven by market demand for optimal user experience from GOOG-FB-AMZN.
 Perhaps a future with great user experience in AR, VR, hands-free commerce and knowledge sharing could evoke an optimistic perspective for what these tech giants are building. But 25 years of the Web has gotten us used to foundational freedoms that we take for granted. We forget how useful it has been to remain anonymous and control what we share, or how easy it was to start an internet startup with its own independent servers operating with the same rights GOOG servers have. On the Trinet, if you are permanently banned from GOOG or FB, you would have no alternative. You could even be restricted from creating a new account. As private businesses, GOOG, FB, and AMZN don’t need to guarantee you access to their networks. You do not have a legal right to an account in their servers, and as societies we aren’t demanding for these rights as vehemently as we could, to counter the strategies that tech giants are putting forward.

Auto•No•Mo’•Us: Addressing the Totality of the Driverless Car

Car and Driver:

The fully computer-driven car is supposedly imminent. Is driving dead? We take a close look.

Building a car for the smartphone generation

Ken Moriyasu:

The German executive has had a soft spot for China ever since visiting the country 20 years ago to study the language. His wife is Chinese, and he is never shy to show how fluent he is in Mandarin. Yet he was well aware of China’s shortcomings — including its dangerous levels of air pollution.
 Listening to the three air purifiers humming in his office every hour of every day, Kirchert had little doubt that a day would come when Beijing would not be able to tolerate more gasoline engines on its streets — especially given Beijing’s support for cleaner cars.
  So when he met his former colleague Carsten Breitfeld in Hong Kong one day at the end of 2015, it did not take long before the two began talking about the potential of electric cars. Breitfeld is a world-renowned expert in electro-mobility and headed BMW’s plug-in hybrid i8 program as the German automaker’s vice president.
 By the spring of 2016, the two had launched an electric vehicle startup, Future Mobility (now called Byton), in China.

The Blame Game: Mobileye’s Mathematical Formula for AV Safety Proves Only That Self-Driving Cars Are Not Inevitable Without Some Help From The Law

autonomous law :

Understanding the law is an essential piece of AV programming, but it is not a valid safety standard, let alone a minimum one. It is not enough not to cause accidents — not unless AVs are the only cars on the road. AVs must equally be able to avoid collisions, even when not their fault. What Mobileye has actually proposed is a liability standard, and it is far below current strict product liability standards, and even reasonable care. (PART FOUR.)
 Most significantly, the white paper reveals a crack in the veneer of inevitability that the industry has thus far projected, and the crack goes straight to the core of its viability. Mobileye is afraid that without forward-looking rules-based safety (rather than historical data- and performance-based safety), AVs will never be able to scale to the tens of millions of cars, and may wind up being “simply a very expensive science experiment.”

Global app revenue and downloads hit record levels in Q3

Sarah Perez:

App downloads and revenue hit record levels in the third quarter of 2017, according to a new report out this morning from App Annie. Downloads across the two major app stores, Apple’s App Store and Google Play, reached nearly 26 billion worldwide – up 8 percent over the same time last year. That figure doesn’t include reinstalls or app updates, only new downloads. In other words, it paints a picture of the app economy’s true growth, rather than including downloads from people who were just grabbing a new version of an existing app, or re-downloading an app they had previously installed.
 In addition, app revenue reached a record of nearly $17 billion, App Annie said.

In the future, owning a car could cost twice as much as taking driverless taxis everywhere

Alison Griswold:

How much cheaper will it be to hail a driverless taxi than to own a car in the future? A lot, according to the financial services firm UBS.
 UBS forecasts that taking “robotaxis”—i.e., self-driving taxis—will be half as expensive per kilometer as owning a car in the future. The firm expects to see widespread adoption of robotaxis in urban areas starting around 2030. It estimates that the typical household could save €5,000 a year (about $5,875) by switching to robotaxis in the future.
 UBS thinks the shift toward electric vehicles alone will reduce the fees robotaxi companies charge by 15%-20%. It expects the “robo” part—aka, getting rid of human drivers—to cut user costs by another 25%. UBS is also counting on competition to drive down prices.

Tesla is expanding its insurance program to the US and Canada

Fred Lambert:

Last year, we published an exclusive report revealing that Tesla was working on a new car insurance program, which it started offering to its customers in Australia and Hong Kong. Tesla executives have since been talking about working more closely with insurance companies as self-driving technology improves.
 Now we learn that Tesla is preparing to launch the same program in North America.
 It’s called InsureMyTesla and it features custom insurance plans for the automaker’s electric vehicles underwritten by insurers partnering with Tesla.
 In Hong Kong, Tesla is partnering with AXA General Insurance and in Australia, the automaker released its new plan with QBE Insurance.
 Now Electrek has learned from sources that Tesla partnered with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Aviva to offer the service in the US and Canada respectively. They are getting ready to launch the programs and start marketing them to customers.

Automotive Subscription Services May Aid in EV Adoption and Software Updates

Sam Abuelsamid :

The idea of getting customers to subscribe rather than purchase products outright has been an appealing one for companies in many markets. From the provider’s perspective, creating a recurring revenue stream is good for business and helps to add some predictability for planning purposes. For certain businesses such as software, recurring subscription revenue can be hugely important to help fund ongoing development and product improvement.
 For automakers that have endured some spectacular market cycles over the years, the prospect of stable monthly revenue is particularly enticing. As automobiles become more software-defined, the prospect of continuous recalls to update bugs and security vulnerabilities is something of a nightmare scenario if automakers can’t charge customers for those fixes.

Cummins acquires electric drivetrain startup Brammo to help bring its electric truck to market

Fred Lambert:

Only a few weeks after unveiling their first prototype electric truck, Cummins, better known for their diesel engines, announced that they acquired the battery pack/electric drivetrain manufacturer Brammo to strengthen their electrification effort.
 Brammo has been building electric drivetrains and battery packs for years, but it was better known for its performance electric motorcycle, the Brammo Empulse R, until it sold its motorcycle business to Polaris which incorporated it into its Victory Motorcycles brand.

Auto Industry Braces for Electric Shock

Morgan Stanley:

With advances in technology and growing consumer acceptance, the automobile industry’s electric-powered future is in sight. But what are the business implications for manufacturers as the world flips the switch from combustion to battery?
 Spurred in part by existing and proposed emissions legislation that could sharply increase the cost of manufacturing internal combustion engines, as many as one billion battery electric vehicles (BEVs) could be on the road throughout the world by 2050. Under that scenario, by mid-century BEVs would comprise as much as 90% of all vehicle sales.
 According to a new Morgan Stanley report, the effects of this shift will be dramatic for automakers but they will be far from the only industry disrupted, with opportunities and challenges throughout the automotive supply chain. How this transition plays out will have significant impact on component suppliers, semiconductor manufacturers, commodities, chemical producers and players in capital goods.

Volvo shows plans for Polestar brand to take on Tesla

Peter Campbell::

Volvo will use its new Polestar brand to take on Tesla’s Model 3 with a long-range electric car offered under a subscription service in 2019.
 The Swedish carmaker has spun out Polestar into a separate electrified marque to focus on high performance cars and drive the group into fully electric vehicles.
 On Tuesday the company announced plans for the first three vehicles under the name, and details of a new all-inclusive pay-monthly service that it believes reduces the “hassle” of car ownership.

Technology companies may have to say whether they are data peddlers or data stewards

Rana Foroohar:

“We’re entering an era in which data can be used to solve all sorts of the most pressing problems, but only if there’s trust in how that data has been handled,” Ms Rometty told me in a phone interview last week. “We see ourselves as stewards of clients’ data. And we don’t need to be regulated to do the right thing. We’ve been doing the right thing for a hundred years.”
 The comment was a clear swipe at Google and Facebook, both of which have been fined by national privacy watchdogs for their data collection methods, as well as a reference to new UK and EU regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation, that will make it tougher for companies to process, sell, or allow third-party access to personal data without consumers’ explicit consent. But it was also a new kind of marketing pitch: in a world in which most economic value is going to intellectual property, we are not only going to protect that value, we are going to offer a greater share of profits from it to clients.
 How would this work in practice? IBM, which serves mainly other businesses and governments, is now pitching the fact that they won’t keep any proprietary data in their servers for more than a specified contract period, and that the informational wealth garnered from using artificial intelligence to analyse that data would be owned by the clients themselves. For example, if a national health service gave IBM health records, the company could not then monetise information about the fact that certain populations in certain parts of the country have higher than average cancer rates.

Uber’s Competitive Obsession Led to an Unraveling

Eric Newcomer:

In contrast, Uber Technologies Inc. was built on competitor obsession. The startup created tools to scrape data from other ride-hailing companies; Uber employees went slogging to recruit away drivers; when Uber weighed which laws to bypass, it looked to which ones competitors were breaking. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive officer, has exhibited deep paranoia—even his closest advisers have acknowledged as much privately. This is a man who is said to have believed that Uber’s India competitor, Ola, might have framed an Uber driver for rape, a crime for which the driver was convicted.
 Kalanick admired Jeff Bezos and even crafted a list of corporate culture values for Uber in the model of Inc. But Kalanick had a slightly different order of priorities. He put “champion’s mindset” higher on the list than “obsession with the customer.”

Driverless Cars Are Giving Engineers a Fuel Economy Headache

Gabrielle Coppola and Esha Dey

Judging from General Motors Co.’s test cars and Elon Musk’s predictions, the world is headed toward a future that’s both driverless and all-electric. In reality, autonomy and battery power could end up being at odds.
 That’s because self-driving technology is a huge power drain. Some of today’s prototypes for fully autonomous systems consume two to four kilowatts of electricity — the equivalent of having 50 to 100 laptops continuously running in the trunk, according to BorgWarner Inc. The supplier of vehicle propulsion systems expects the first autonomous cars — likely robotaxis that are constantly on the road — will be too energy-hungry to run on battery power alone.

Why 2017 will go down as the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine

Peter Holley:

Electric vehicles no longer seem like a futuristic fever dream, but they remain a rarity on most American city streets, accounting for less than 1 percent of the nation’s auto sales, according to the automotive website
 Yet, when future auto historians look back, they may pinpoint 2017 as the year electric vehicles went from a promising progressive fad to an industry-wide inevitability.
 Related: [Death of gas and diesel begins as GM announces plans for ‘all-electric future’]
 The tipping point, experts say, follows three developments, each rippling outward with economic and cultural consequences.

Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

Eric Newcomer:

Shortly after taking over Uber Technologies Inc. in September, Dara Khosrowshahi told employees to brace for a painful six months. U.S. officials are looking into possible bribes, illicit software, questionable pricing schemes and theft of a competitor’s intellectual property. The very attributes that, for years, set the company on a rocket-ship trajectory—a tendency to ignore rules, to compete with a mix of ferocity and paranoia—have unleashed forces that are now dragging Uber back to down to earth.
 Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

Will Automation put an end to the American Trucker?

Dominic Rushe:

eff Baxter’s sunflower-yellow Kenworth truck shines as bright and almost as big as the sun. Four men clean the glistening cab in the hangar-like truck wash at Iowa 80, the world’s largest truck stop.
 Baxter has made a pitstop at Iowa 80 before picking up a 116ft-long wind turbine blade that he’s driving down to Texas, 900 miles away.
 Baxter, 48, is one of the 1.8 million Americans, mainly men, who drive heavy trucks for a living, the single most common job in many US states. Driving is one of the biggest occupations in the world. Another 1.7 million people drive taxis, buses and delivery vehicles in the US alone. But for how long? Having “disrupted” industries including manufacturing, music, journalism and retail, Silicon Valley has its eyes on trucking.
 Google, Uber, Tesla and the major truck manufacturers are looking to a future in which people like Baxter will be replaced – or at the very least downgraded to co-pilots – by automated vehicles that will save billions but will cost millions of jobs. It will be one of the biggest changes to the jobs market since the invention of the automated loom – challenging the livelihoods of millions across the world.

Drivers Can Get Porsches on Demand With a $2,000-a-Month Subscription

Gabrielle Coppola:

The first subscription tier starts at $2,000 a month and allows users to summon a 718 Boxster, Cayman S, Macan S or Cayenne on demand. For $3,000 a month, drivers get access to 22 different Porsche models. Registration, insurance and maintenance costs are covered, though subscribers still have to pick up the tab for fuel. They can swap for as many different models as desired during the month.
 Porsche is looking for a way to reach younger consumers whose shopping and transportation habits have been shaped by Silicon Valley giants like Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc. It’s following in the footsteps of General Motors Co.’s Cadillac, which launched its Book subscription service in January, and Care by Volvo, which combines lease, insurance and maintenance into one monthly payment.

GM Cruise Snaps Up Solid-State Lidar Pioneer Strobe Inc

Mark Harris:

General Motors announced on Monday that it had acquired Strobe Inc., a small California startup that has been developing a sub-$100 solid-state lidar for self-driving cars.
 The terms of the deal were not announced but, given that Strobe was seeking only US $15 million in a funding round as recently as May, it is unlikely to be anywhere near the reported $680 million Uber paid for some of Waymo’s lidar team as part of its ill-fated Otto purchase.
 Strobe looks to be a much better deal all around. The 12-person company is only three years old, and uses innovative frequency-modulated lidar technology first invented by its founder, Lute Maleki, at his previous firm called OEwaves.

Ford taps Silicon Valley startup to build transportation software

Paul Lienert:

Ford CEO Jim Hackett mentioned the automaker’s investment in Autonomic during a presentation to investors last week. The 15-month-old company is developing “an open platform for transportation” on which Ford plans to build new in-vehicle and mobility-related services with a variety of partners, Hackett said.
 If Ford elects to build its own ride-hailing or fleet management businesses, the Autonomic software platform could enable digital payment processing and customer identification, as well as directing the flow of data between the vehicle and the customer, according to a source familiar with the automaker’s plans.
 Using the Autonomic software platform as a base, along with data from the vehicles, Ford and its partners then could build and charge consumers for products and services, said Marcy Klevorn, Ford president of mobility.
 Klevorn cited FordPass as an earlier example of a software platform that has enabled Ford to provide digital services to subscribers, from parking to payments.

Tesla’s ‘Hiccups’: Devil in the Details

David Smith:

CEO Elon Musk has said Tesla faces six months of “production hell” as it ramps up production of its much-awaited Model 3, but the devil may have arrived early.
 Musk introduced the Model 3 on July 28 amid much hoopla at its Fremont, CA, assembly operations. Dressed casually and smiling broadly, Musk unveiled 30 Model 3s and said production would begin in August with 100 cars rolling off the line, rising to 1,500 in September and steeply upward to 20,000 in December.

Sears Was the Amazon of Its Time—Until It Made Preventable Mistakes

Derek Thompson::

But Sears faced another existential crisis in the 1970s and 1980s, and that time, it failed to adjust. The decline of manufacturing (and manufacturing jobs) hit both its most devoted consumers and the value of its real estate near steel towns. The blue-collar families Sears counted on to buy “utilitarian Sears pants and dresses … were a fading force in the marketplace,” Raff and Temin write. What’s more, other stores had chased Sears into America’s middle-class suburbs—sometimes, they even snuggled up to Sears locations in the same strip malls—erasing the company’s geographical edge.
 This second existential crisis called for a second strategy shift. But, lacking the vision of General Wood, Sears’s leadership made several grave errors that doomed the company.
 First, Sears determined that it didn’t need to do anything to change its business. It simply needed more businesses. After all, its leaders must have thought, if a company that started selling only watches could get into car parts, and a hardware company could get into insurance, why couldn’t a watch-and-cars-and-hardware-and-insurance company get into, well, anything? Since it was the 1980s, anything, in this calculation, meant “financial services.” As the company’s head of strategy said in 1980, “There is no reason why someone shouldn’t go into a Sears store and buy a shirt and coat, and then maybe some stock.”
 Eager to become America’s largest brokerage, and perhaps even America’s largest community bank, Sears bought the real-estate company Coldwell Banker and the brokerage firm Dean Witter. It was a weird marriage. As the financial companies thrived nationally, their Sears locations suffered from the start. Buying car parts and then insuring them against future damage makes sense. But buying a four-speed washer-dryer and then celebrating with an in-store purchase of some junk bonds? No, that did not make sense.
 But the problem with the Coldwell Banker and Dean Winter acquisitions wasn’t that they flopped. It was that their off-site locations didn’t flop—instead, their moderate success disguised the deterioration of Sears’s core business at a time when several competitors were starting to gain footholds in the market.
 Many decades after Sears had left Montgomery Ward, its old competitor, in the rural dust, another retailer was budding in small-town America. Its name was Walmart. Located on cheaper rural land than Sears, often paying cheap wages, and selling cheaper goods for cheaper prices, Walmart’s innovation seemed to be, well, a talent for cheapness. But its secret weapon was information technology. Walmart managed its supply chain with extraordinary precision. Its distribution centers were ingeniously located in central locations to optimize for efficient delivery to its stores.

Automakers Plan Electric Car Blitz as Tesla Burns Billions

David Welch:

Here are two facts that defy logic: By the end of the year, electric-car maker Tesla Inc. will have burned through more than $10 billion without ever having made 10 cents. Yet companies around the world are lining up to compete with it.
 Almost 50 new pure electric-car models will come to market globally between now and 2022, including vehicles from Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG. General Motors Co. raised the stakes Monday by pledging to sell 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023, including launching two new EVs in the next 18 months. Even British inventor James Dyson is getting into the game, announcing last week that he’s investing two billion pounds ($2.7 billion) to develop an electric car and the batteries to power it.
 The reasons for chasing Tesla are part city hall, part show business. Regulators in Beijing have laid out a plan to mandate electric vehicle production in China, while California requires carmakers to build more EVs or be forced to buy credits from rivals. At the same time, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and his sleek cars have captured the imagination of Americans to the point where consumers and investors are throwing money at his Silicon Valley company.

06.10.2017 Tesla problems with model 3 production

Wilfried Eckl-Dorna:

The warning of his boss was as clear as it was painful: “In the coming six months, we will go through the production hollows,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the end of July. Mus handed over just the first 30 copies of his new model3 model car, with which the Californian car manufacturer wants to conquer the mass market.

Autoproduktionsprofi Peter Hochholdinger, the Tesla middle of 2016 from Audi , Musks’ clairvoyant clause might have remained in the memory. In spite of all the preparations, in spite of the decades of experience of Hochholdinger in large-scale production, Tesla had to publish troubling figures recently: just 260 copies of Tesla’s Model 3 were delivered in the third quarter – not even 4 cars per workday. If you want to roll up the world market like Musk, there should be a few more cars on the road. 1500 it should actually be according to Tesla announcements.

PSA launches mobility venture ‘Free2Move’ in U.S.

Katie Burke:

PSA Group officially returned to the U.S. late Tuesday at an event here, but it is not coming back as a traditional automaker.

The French vehicle manufacturer launched its mobility services platform, Free2Move. The app connects car-sharing, ride-hailing, bike-sharing, public transit and other transportation services, allowing customers to plan short and medium-distance trips from one app.

The automaker, which makes Peugeots and Citroens, announced in April that former TrueCar and Nissan exec Larry Dominique would lead the company’s re-entry into the North American market.

“I’m confident Free2Move will play a significant role in the way we all consume transportation in North America,” Dominique said. “The brand has already proven itself around the world as an equal to Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall.”

“while Google faces the problem of the web itself degrading, which makes search less useful”

John Gapper:

The first question concerns barriers to entry. Small publishers, lacking the marketing and data analytics resources of bigger ones, have been at a disadvantage in building paid businesses. That is one reason why so many have instead stuck with ad-funded news.
 If Google or others provide technology and data analysis fairly cheaply, they will level the playing field. It will become easier for an array of niche publishers to find their markets amid the clutter. So far, there have been few subscription entrants similar to The Information, a technology news publisher founded by a former Wall Street Journal reporter. This may change.

“Nokia Moment”

Edward Taylor:

Breitfeld sees the German carmakers’ answer to the expected surge in electric car demand – putting an electric motor in a conventional car – as a mistake. He believes it leaves the industry vulnerable to a ‘Nokia moment’: when a new player uses a transformational design to seize control of an established market, as Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone stole a march on Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia a decade ago.
 “Tesla was pathbreaking with its electric car, and that’s what everybody is seeking to develop now. The next step is the connected car, which gives consumers a completely new digital experience. That’s equivalent to a step from the Nokia to a smartphone,” Breitfeld said.
 Breitfeld is so convinced of this that he left his job at BMW in 2015, where he was part of a small team working on clean sheet electric cars – a project that caught the attention of Apple.
 BMW and Apple explored a partnership on cars in 2014, but ultimately went their separate ways.
 Since then German carmakers have worked hard to marginalise the influence consumer electronics and technology companies could have over their vehicles, jointly buying digital mapping firm HERE as a way to reduce the industry’s dependence on maps provided by Apple and Google (GOOGL.O).
 Breitfeld says this defensive approach means carmakers are failing to take advantage of consumer electronics innovations.
 By contrast, Byton vehicles are designed to take advantage of the “passenger economy”: watching movies, chatting with friends or surfing the Internet while in your car.
 “Apple created a platform and profits from every transaction made with their objects. We will offer content for our consumers,” Breitfeld said of his strategy to make money from selling movies and other entertainment or services.
 “For this you need a completely different architecture and computing power,” Breitfeld said.

Carsten Breitfeld links.

Tfl plans to make £322m by collecting data from passengers’ mobiles via Tube Wi-Fi

Tom Cheshire::

Transport for London (TfL) plans to make £322m by collecting Tube users’ location data and potentially selling it to third parties, Sky News can reveal.
 At the end of 2016, TfL ran a pilot which tracked the Wi-Fi signals from 5.6 million phones as people moved around the London Underground, even if they weren’t connected to a Wi-Fi network.
 TfL publicly stated that the purpose of the scheme was to use the aggregated, anonymised data “to better understand how people navigate the London Underground network, allowing TfL to improve the experience for customers”.
 It is now in consultation about tracking passengers on a permanent basis. The only way to opt out of the scheme would be to turn your Wi-Fi or phone off.
 Wi-Fi tracking is used around the UK, especially on high streets and shopping centres, to track customers as they move around a store, for example.