Boring Company to unveil its first road-legal autonomous cars at public test

7 Dec 2018

Concept image of the Boring Company autonomous car. Image: Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company is to open its first public tests of the electric underground transport system, while IIoT heads down into the mines.

The Boring Company will conduct its first public trial of its electric transport system, which its founder Elon Musk said will take thousands of cars off the road and underground, starting with Los Angeles.

According to Engadget, the company will have its product launch on 18 December and it will demonstrate its “modded but fully road-legal autonomous transport cars and ground-to-tunnel car elevators”.

Last month, the Boring Company announced that its massive digger had broken through at LA’s O’Leary Station. Musk took to Twitter to say that the upcoming event will be “more than a tunnel opening”, after the original event was postponed by more than a week.

Sandvik and Nokia to deliver IIoT and 5G to the mines

Swedish engineering group Sandvik and Nokia Bell Labs have announced a new deal that will see the industrial internet of things (IIoT) descend into the depths of Earth, using LTE and 5G networks.

The deal will see Sandvik work with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud platform to test the latest in connectivity within a Sandvik test mine in Tampere, Finland. The platform will operate both underground and in open pit mines, and aims to facilitate the operation of autonomous vehicles, real-time monitoring of underground and outdoor premises, remote diagnostics, and predictive maintenance.

“Enhanced connectivity is critical for smarter and safer underground operations, and we’re proud to work with Nokia to develop these enhanced connectivity options for our test mine and mining industry going forward,” said Riku Pulli, vice-president of automation with Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology.

Start-up aiming to prevent voice fraud gets $90m

With so many smart speakers in the world now, trying to keep them all secure is going to be a major challenge. Yet one area that you might not think of as being a problem is voice fraud, where artificial intelligence replicating a human’s voice is just one issue, along with standard human mimicking.

Now, in a bid to tackle this future problem, a start-up called Pindrop has announced $90m in Series D funding. According to TechCrunch, the firm said it can identify even the most sophisticated impersonations by analysing almost 1,400 acoustic attributes in a voice. So far, the company has raised $212m to date, with a valuation somewhere in the hundreds of millions.

“We live in a brave new world where everything you thought you knew about security needs to be challenged,” said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, co-founder, CEO and CTO of Pindrop.

Global bike-sharing fleet reached 24.4m vehicles in 2017

New research from Berg Insight has found that the number of bicycles roaming the streets of the world under bike-sharing schemes is forecasted to grow from 24.4m in 2017, to 36.9m in 2023.

Astonishingly, of the 2017 number, 20m were deployed in China alone under the free-floating bike-sharing model, resulting in an oversupply of bicycles, and issues with vandalism. Now, as many as 50pc of these bikes have been scrapped. Despite this, the model has become the most common method of deployment, unlike station-based networks seen in Dublin and London.

“Station-based and free-floating bike-sharing constitute parts of a multimodal sharing economy that will have an important role to play in future cities,” said Martin Svegander, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic