Global IoT round-up: Intel reveals its new self-driving car lab

5 May 2017

Self-driving BMW i8 Roadster using Intel technology. Image: Alexander Tolstykh/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, Intel unveiled where it plans to develop the latest autonomous driving technology, and Ulster University signed a deal with IoT provider Sigfox.

Earlier this week in the world of the internet of things (IoT), details emerged of Apple’s interest in taking on the smart home device market following the success of Amazon Echo and Google Home.

It is predicted that Apple will announce a Siri Speaker product at WWDC in June and that the as-yet-unnamed device will be more powerful than its noted rivals, have better sound quality and, in general, be an improvement.

In an industry report, KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that sales of smart home devices are expected to grow to such a degree that Amazon’s Echo range could outsell the iPad next year.

Intel opens new autonomous driving lab

Intel hasn’t been shy about wanting to be in the driving seat when it comes to autonomous driving tech.

In November of last year, it revealed that the tech giant was to spend $250m on the technology in the coming years. It was announced in January that the company had acquired a 15pc stake in Here to develop self-driving mapping technology.

Now, Intel has unveiled its Advanced Vehicle Lab – a physical hub for much of its R&D activities in Silicon Valley, and an addition to its other labs in Arizona, Germany and Oregon.

“[The labs] have been created specifically to explore and better understand the various requirements related to self-driving vehicles and the future of transportation, including sensing, in-vehicle computing, artificial intelligence, connectivity, and supporting cloud technologies and services,” Intel said.

Intel also said its Autonomous Garage Labs will work with customers and partners to come up with new ways of addressing the data challenge inside the vehicle, across the network and in the data centre.

Ulster University signs deal with IoT network, Sigfox

Ulster University has become the first university in the UK, and the only commercial organisation in Northern Ireland, to install the low-power IoT technology, Sigfox.

As part of the deal, Ulster University will receive a Sigfox base station for future research into wearable devices, remote data analysis, and connected health platforms to further improve patient outcomes within the global healthcare sector.

This will entail receiving a wide range of remote healthcare data, from blood analysis, diabetes and heart rate results, to livestock tracking and chemical detection.

“This emerging technology offers enormous opportunities for innovation and discovery at Ulster University,” said Dr Philip Catherwood of the university’s Engineering Research Institute.

“Ulster University’s engineering students will benefit from the new base station as we plan to deliver dedicated modules on this emerging network.”

Actility acquires Abeeway

Actility, a major provider of low power wide area networks (LPWAN) announced that it has acquired Abeeway, a geolocation system specialist.

The acquisition is Actility’s first following a $75m funding round – earmarked for the acceleration of international growth – backed by new and existing investors.

With offices in 10 countries, Actility’s core product is ThingPark, an IoT platform that enables scalable LPWA networks and interoperable IoT applications and services.

The acquisition of Abeeway, the company said, will allow it to add greater geolocation capabilities to the platform.

“We’ve been rapidly developing our ThingPark location platform to deliver powerful tools to service providers and our customers in the tracking ecosystem,” said Actility CEO Mike Mulica.

“We’re creating an IoT location platform that will enable a revolution in the logistics and supply chain sector. In fact, we think that geolocation and tracking are potentially the killer app for the whole of IoT.”

Ordering Domino’s can now be an IoT delight

Domino’s is one of the last companies you would ever think of when asked to name leaders in IoT innovation, but the past few years have shown the pizza company to be exactly that.

You only have to look at some recent examples to see it: you can now order Domino’s through a Messenger chatbot and, in some countries, a drone will deliver your pie.

Now, the company has revealed that it has teamed up with IFTTT, an organisation that offers people the ability to connect smart devices for free so that an event in one can trigger an event in another.

For example, when using Domino’s tracker, your front porch light could be turned on when your pizza is about to be delivered, letting the driver know where your house is.

So far, the service is only available to US residents over the age of 13, but it really is a sign of things to come.

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Self-driving BMW i8 Roadster using Intel technology. Image: Alexander Tolstykh/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic