Teams autonomously mapping the depths take home millions in Ocean Discovery Xprize

There’s a whole lot of ocean on this planet, and we don’t have much of an idea what’s at the bottom of most of it. That could change with the craft and techniques created during the Ocean Discovery Xprize, which had teams competing to map the sea floor quickly, precisely, and autonomously. The winner just took home $4 million.

A map of the ocean would be valuable in and of itself, of course, but any technology used to do so could be applied in many other ways, and who knows what potential biological or medical discoveries hide in some nook or cranny a few thousand fathoms below the surface?

The prize, sponsored by Shell, started back in 2015. The goal was, ultimately, to create a system that could map hundreds of square kilometers of the sea floor at a 5-meter resolution in under a day — oh, and everything has to fit in a shipping container. For reference, existing methods do nothing like this, and are tremendously costly.

But as is usually the case with this type of competition, the difficulty did not discourage the competitors — only spurred them on. Since 2015, then, the teams have been working on their systems and traveling all over the world to test them.

Originally the teams were to test in Puerto Rico, but after the devastating hurricane season of 2017, the whole operation was moved to the Greek coast. Ultimately after the finalists were selected, they deployed their craft in the waters off Kalamata and told them to get mapping.

Team GEBCO’s surface vehicle.

“It was a very arduous and audacious challenge,” said Jyotika Virmani, who led the program. “The test itself was 24 hours, so they had to stay up, then immediately following that was 48 hours of data processing after which they had to give us the data. It takes more trad companies about 2 weeks or so to process data for a map once they have the raw data — we’re pushing for real time.”

This wasn’t a test in a lab bath or pool. This was the ocean, and the ocean is a dangerous place. But amazingly there were no disasters.

“Nothing was damaged, nothing imploded,” she said. “We ran into weather issues, of course. And we did lose one piece of technology that was subsequently found by a Greek fisherman a few days later… but that’s another story.”

At the start of the competition, Virmani said, there was feedback from the entrants that the autonomous piece of the task was simply not going to be possible. But the last few years have proven it to be so, given that the winning team not only met but exceeded the requirements of the task.

“The winning team mapped more than 250 square kilometers in 24 hours, at the minimum of 5 meters resolution, but around 140 was more than 5 meters,” Virmani told me. “It was all unmanned: An unmanned surface vehicle that took the submersible out, then recovered it at sea, unmanned again, and brought it back to port. They had such great control over it — they were able to change its path and its programming throughout that 24 hours as they needed to.” (It should be noted that unmanned does not necessarily mean totally hands-off — the teams were permitted a certain amount of agency in adjusting or fixing the craft’s software or route.)

A 5-meter resolution, if you can’t quite picture it, would produce a map of a city that showed buildings and streets clearly, but is too coarse to catch, say, cars or street signs. When you’re trying to map two thirds of the globe, though, this resolution is more than enough — and infinitely better than the nothing we currently have. (Unsurprisingly, it’s also certainly enough for an oil company like Shell to prospect new deep-sea resources.)

The winning team was GEBCO, composed of veteran hydrographers — ocean mapping experts, you know. In addition to the highly successful unmanned craft (Sea-Kit, already cruising the English Channel for other purposes), the team did a lot of work on the data processing side, creating a cloud-based solution that helped them turn the maps around quickly. (That may also prove to be a marketable service in the future.) They were awarded $4 million, in addition to their cash for being selected as a finalist.

The runner up was Kuroshio, which had great resolution but was unable to map the full 250 km2 due to weather problems. They snagged a million.

A bonus prize for having the submersible track a chemical signal to its source didn’t exactly have a winner, but the teams’ entries were so impressive that the judges decided to split the million between the Tampa Deep Sea Xplorers and Ocean Quest, which amazingly enough is made up mostly of middle-schoolers. The latter gets $800,000, which should help pay for a few new tools in the shop there.

Lastly, a $200K innovation prize was given to Team Tao out of the U.K., which had a very different style to its submersible that impressed the judges. While most of the competitors opted for a craft that went “lawnmower-style” above the sea floor at a given depth, Tao’s craft dropped down like a plumb bob, pinging the depths as it went down and back up before moving to a new spot. This provides a lot of other opportunities for important oceanographic testing, Virmani noted.

Having concluded the prize, the organization has just a couple more tricks up its sleeve. GEBCO, which stands for General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, is partnering with The Nippon Foundation on Seabed 2030, an effort to map the entire sea floor over the next decade and provide that data to the world for free.

And the program is also — why not? — releasing an anthology of short sci-fi stories inspired by the idea of mapping the ocean. “W lot of our current technology is from the science fiction of the past,” said Virmani. “So we told the authors, imagine we now have a high resolution map of the sea floor, what are the next steps in ocean tech and where do we go?” The resulting 19 stories, written from all 7 continents (yes, one from Antarctica), are available for download here.


Source: Tech Crunch

Slack narrows losses, displays healthy revenue growth

Workplace messaging powerhouse Slack filed an amended S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday weeks ahead of a direct listing expected June 20.

In the document, Slack included an updated at look at its path to profitability, posting first-quarter revenues of $134.8 million on losses of $31.8 million. Slack’s Q1 revenues represent a 67% increase from the same period last year when the company lost $24.8 million on $80.9 million in revenue.

For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, the company reported losses of $138.9 million on revenue of $400.6 million. That’s compared to a loss of $140.1 million on revenue of $220.5 million the year prior.

Slack is in the process of completing the final steps necessary for its direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, where it will trade under the ticker symbol “WORK.” A direct listing is an alternative approach to the stock market that allows well-known businesses to sell existing shares held by insiders, employees and investors directly to the market, instead of issuing new shares. The method lets companies bypass the traditional roadshow process and avoid a good chunk of Wall Street’s IPO fees.

Spotify completed a direct listing in 2018; Airbnb, another highly-valued venture capital-backed business, is rumored to be considering a direct listing in 2020.

Slack is currently valued at $7 billion after raising $1.22 billion in VC funding from investors including Accel, which owns a 24% pre-IPO stake, Andreessen Horowitz (13.3%), Social Capital (10.2%), SoftBank, T. Rowe Price, IVP, Kleiner Perkins and many others.

Source: Tech Crunch

Facial recognition startup Kairos settles lawsuits with founder and former CEO Brian Brackeen

Facial recognition startup Kairos, founded by Brian Brackeen, has settled its lawsuit with Brackeen following his ouster from the company late last year. In addition to forcing him out of the company he founded, Kairos sued Brackeen, alleging the misappropriation of corporate funds and misleading shareholders. In response, Brackeen countersued Kairos, alleging the company and its CEO Melissa Doval intentionally destroyed his reputation through fraudulent conduct.

Now, both Kairos and Brackeen are ready to put this all behind them. Both parties have dropped their respective lawsuits and reached a settlement, which entails continuing to recognize Brackeen as the founder of Kairos.

“We are pleased to be putting this episode behind us, and the opportunity to keep the business focused on growth,” Doval said in a press release. “We thank Mr. Brackeen for working towards a resolution, and wish him the best for his future endeavors.”

Brackeen tells TechCrunch he’s excited about the settlement and can now move on to become an investor at Lightship Capital, a new fund where he serves as managing partner. The fund is geared toward supporting underrepresented founders and does not require board seats to invest.

“I have become the investor I didn’t have enough of…founder focused, principled, and growth minded,” Brackeen said in an email to TechCrunch. “Our firm puts founder support at the front of our thinking because we know what happens to shareholder value when you don’t. That’s the blessing that’s come from this chapter in my life. On to the next!”

Source: Tech Crunch

Only 72 hours left to save an extra €200 on Disrupt Berlin 2019

The shot clock on serious savings is running out. You have just 72 hours left to sign up for the mailing list to receive €200 off the super early-bird price on any pass to Disrupt Berlin 2019. The official registration opens in three days, and once that happens, the clock runs out. Sad!

Here’s how our pre-registration deal works. Simply sign up for the Disrupt Berlin mailing list before registration officially opens and we’ll email you a discount code to use when it’s time to buy your passes. That translates into serious savings. You can buy an Innovator pass to Disrupt Berlin for as low as €245 + VAT. Are you a founder or co-founder of a company? Then you can score a Founder pass for as low as €145 + VAT.

We’re talking less than the price of a super early-bird ticket, and it’s the easiest money you’ll ever save. It’s also the easiest way to increase the already awesome ROI that comes from attending Disrupt Berlin.

You’ll join a diverse tech startup community of more than 3,000 attendees from more than 50 countries — it’s a global showcase of ideas, innovation and opportunity. Startup Alley, the exhibition hall, hosts hundreds of creative early-stage startups hell-bent on pushing the boundaries of technology. It’s the perfect place to explore, connect and find a promising startup investment, co-founder, customer, angel investor or media coverage.

You’ll also find the TC Top Picks in Startup Alley. This curated cadre — chosen by TechCrunch editors — represent some of the most innovative companies in their respective tech categories. Be sure to check them out.

And be sure to bear witness to Startup Battlefield. Over the years, this epic pitch-off has launched more than 850 companies, and that alumni community has collectively raised more than $8 billion in funding and produced 109 exits. You might recognize a few — like Vurb, Dropbox, Mint and Yammer. This Startup Battlefield will feature a fresh cohort of outstanding early-stage startups — we can’t wait to find them! They’ll compete head-to-head for $50,000 cash, the Disrupt cup and life-changing media and investor exposure.

Do you want to compete in the Startup Battlefield or be considered for the TC Top Picks program? Applications open later this summer, but you can get a head start by starting your application at

We haven’t even mentioned the speakers, panels, workshops, demos, Q&A Sessions and all the other quality programming you’ll experience at Disrupt Berlin. That’s another great reason to join the mailing list. You’ll get the latest news and announcements — that’s great intel for planning your Disrupt strategy!

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December, and registration officially opens in just 72 short hours. The clock is running — don’t miss your shot to save €200 — sign up for our mailing list today.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Source: Tech Crunch

Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky just raised another $200 million for his newest company, Tempus

When serial entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky grows a company, he puts the pedal to the metal. When in 2011 his last company, the Chicago-based coupons site Groupon, raised $950 million from investors, it was the largest amount raised by a startup, ever. It was just over three years old at the time, and it went public later that same year.

Lefkofsky seems to be stealing a page from the same playbook for his newest company, Tempus. The Chicago-based genomic testing and data analysis company was founded a little more than three years ago, yet it has already hired nearly 700 employees and raised more than $500 million — including through a new $200 million round that values the company at $3.1 billion.

According to the Chicago Tribune, that new valuation makes it — as Groupon once was — one of Chicago’s most highly valued privately held companies.

So why all the fuss? As the Tribune explains it, Tempus has built a platform to collect, structure and analyze the clinical data that’s often unorganized in electronic medical record systems. The company also generates genomic data by sequencing patient DNA and other information in its lab.

The goal is to help doctors create customized treatments for each individual patient, Lefkofsky tells the paper.

So far, it has partnered with numerous cancer treatment centers that are apparently giving Tempus human data from which to learn. Tempus is also generating data “in vitro,” as is another company we featured recently called Insitro, a drug development startup founded by famed AI researcher Daphne Koller. With Insitro, it is working on a liver disease treatment owing to a tie-up with Gilead, which has amassed related human data over the years from which Insitro can use to learn. As a complementary data source, Insitro, like Tempus, is trying to learn what the disease does in a “dish,” then determine if it can use what it observes using machine learning to predict what it sees in people.

Tempus hasn’t come up with any cancer-related cures yet, but Lefkofsky already says that Tempus wants to expand into diabetes and depression, too.

In the meantime, he tells Crain’s Chicago Business that Tempus is already generating “significant” revenue. “Our oldest partners, have, in most cases, now expanded to different subgroups (of cancer). What we’re doing is working.”

Investors in the latest round include Baillie Gifford; Revolution Growth; New Enterprise Associates; funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price; Novo Holdings; and the investment management company Franklin Templeton.

Source: Tech Crunch

What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019

Last year’s WWDC was a rare step away from hardware for the company, without a single device announcement. In fact, Apple’s gadget lines have largely been the subject of quiet releases over the past year. Ahead of the big Apple TV unveil, the company issued several press releases highlighting minor updates to flagship lines.

Just last week, it did the same for the MacBook, with a quiet announcement around the latest attempt to resolve longstanding issues with the malfunctioning keyboards. Next week’s developer show, on the other hand, is shaping up to be something altogether different. All signs point to a load of big announcements, including, potentially, some Pro hardware.

After a fairly slow I/O and Build, Apple could really make a splash here. The company’s not immune from larger industry trends, and is at a kind of crossroads at the moment. Its last financial call highlighted a shifting focus away from hardware, toward services and content. It makes sense — after all, smartphone sales have slowed across the board, just as the company started making massive investments in content through Apple TV+.

Of course, WWDC is, at its heart, a developer show. And while Monday’s kick-off keynote is very much for the public at large, the true nature of the show is highlighting what’s new with Apple’s various operating systems. Let’s start with the biggie.

iOS 13

The leaks have already started, and the big news so far is system-wide Dark Mode, following in the footsteps of MacOS. Easier on the eyes and battery, expect the update to take much the same form as it did on desktop, starting with Apple’s own apps, with more third-party partners arriving in the following months. Given how much more aggressive and engaged the iOS development community tends to be, however, I’d anticipate them falling in line a lot quicker this time out.

Bloomberg’s got a bunch of additional features for iOS 13, which has reportedly been operating under the codename “Yukon” (apparently Apple’s already at work on iOS 14, Azul, as well, which will have a 5G and AR focus).

Unsurprisingly, the Health app is getting a makeover. In fact, expect health to be a big focus for the company yet again at the event (see also: Apple Watch). Native support for Duet Display, like second screen iPad functionality, has been rumored to be in the works for a while. On a personal note, I can say it’s been a game changer for me, and native support will only make things better.

Mail, Maps and Home are said to be receiving updates as well. There will be bug fixes throughout, as well, said to make the system operate better on new and old systems alike. It’s a nice upgrade and, perhaps, tacit acknowledgment of the fact that consumers are simply holding onto their devices for longer these days.

MacOS 10.15Much like the smartphone, the PC is very much in a transitional space — though its identity crisis has been ongoing since it was completely overshadowed by the smartphone. For many Windows PC makers, that’s meant novel approaches like second screens, which were all the rage at Computex in Taipei this week.

For Apple, however, that means definitively reclaiming the throne of king of the creative professionals, after an influx of competition from the likes of Microsoft and Samsung. But to start things off, the company’s going to once again borrow liberally from iOS.

Last year the company showed off a trio of apps — News, Stocks and Voice Memos — as a preview of the upcoming ability to port iOS apps to the desktop. That attempt to foster Mac app development, codenamed Marzipan (Apple’s all in on the fun codenames this year) will take center stage. Other iOS cribbed features include Screen Time, iMessage effects and Siri shortcuts, along with updates to a handful of existing Mac apps.

Mac hardware

What’s really exciting here, however, is the long-awaited arrival of Mac Pro. I’m going to tell you to take this one with a grain of salt, just because, well, we’ve all been burned before. As previously noted, Apple hit pause on the category, which plans to completely revamp the high-end desktop. The iMac Pro has addressed the need for some, but for many pros with demanding workflows, there’s been a trash can-shaped hole in their heart.

Just about all signs appear to point to the the long-awaited refresh arriving next week. Ditto for a recently rumored 31.6-inch, 6K pro display, which would fit nicely alongside the Pro and the smoldering ashes of your checkbook.


Apple’s most recent event was all about Apple TV. The company had a LOT to show off on that front, and while the redesigned app has already arrived, expect the company to continue talking up Apple TV+, the forthcoming billion-dollar, cable-killing, premium-content offering from the company.

Last time Apple talked up the Apple Watch, it had some transit news to discuss. That goes live in New York tomorrow, by the way. This time out, expect a lot on the health front. That’s been the company’s focus for a while now, both as a way to distinguish the product from a flood of fellow wearables and to get it taken more seriously by the FDA and, by extension, healthcare providers. Menstrual tracking and a feature for keeping track of medications appear to be in the works.

So, too, are new Voice Memos, Calculator and Apple Books apps.

The party gets started Monday at 10AM PT / 1PM ET. We’ll be there with a live blog, breaking news and unicorn skull shards in tow.

Source: Tech Crunch

Uber lost another $1B last quarter

Uber posted losses of $1 billion on revenue of $3.1 billion for the first quarter of 2019 in what was the company’s first earnings report as a public company.

Amid both positive and negative stock predictions, NYSE: UBER fluctuated ahead of the news, ultimately closing down .25 percent at $39.90 per share.

Analysts anticipated an adjusted net loss per share of 76 cents on earnings of about $3.1 billion, according to FactSet. Uber, in its IPO paperwork, said it expected first-quarter losses to fall between $1 billion and $1.1 billion.

Uber has traded below its IPO price in the three weeks since its rocky debut on The New York Stock Exchange. The company priced its IPO at $45 per share in early May, raising $8.1 billion in the process. The following morning, the business opened at a disappointing $42 a share, sending shockwaves through the tech ecosystem, which had predicted an IPO pop on par with Lyft’s, at least.

Uber’s performance on the public market has been a letdown. Investors, even Wall Street experts, had anticipated an initial market cap in the ballpark of $100 billion. Instead, Uber currently sits at a valuation of about $67 billion, or $5 billion lower than the $72 billion valuation it earned with its last private financing.

Uber’s competitor Lyft, for its part, is trading well below its IPO price of $72 per share, closing down 2.5 percent Thursday at $56 apiece. Its market cap today is approximately $16 billion, or just above its $15.1 billion Series I valuation. Lyft posted its first earnings report just days before Uber completed its historic IPO earlier this month.

Lyft posted first-quarter revenues of $776 million on losses of $1.14 billion, including $894 million in IPO-related expenses. The company’s revenues surpassed Wall Street estimates of $740 million while losses came in much higher than expected.

“The first quarter was a strong start to an important year, our first as a public company,” Lyft co-founder and chief executive officer Logan Green said in a statement. “Our performance was driven by the increased demand for our network and multi-modal platform, as Active Riders grew 46 percent and revenue grew 95 percent year-over-year. Transportation is one of the largest segments of our economy and we are still in the very early stages of an enormous secular shift from personal car ownership to Transportation-as-a-Service.”

Lyft said adjusted net losses came in at $211.5 million compared to $228.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. It expects revenue of more than $800 million on adjusted EBITDA losses of between $270 million and $280 million for the second-quarter of 2019. For the entire year, Lyft projects roughly $3.3 billion in total revenue on adjusted EBITDA losses of about $1.2 billion.

Pinterest, another well-known unicorn to recently IPO, shared tepid financials it what was also its first earnings report as a public company. The visual search engine posted revenues of $202 million on losses of $41.4 million for the three months ending March 31, 2019. The numbers surpassed Wall Street’s revenue estimates of about $200 million and represented significant growth from last year’s Q1 revenues of $131 million. Losses, however, came in roughly three times higher than estimates of 32 cents per share.

Pinterest went public in April, rising 25 percent during its first day trading on the NYSE. The company is now trading well below its $45 IPO price, however, closing Thursday at $25.5 per share with a market cap of about $14 billion.

Uber and Lyft’s lukewarm IPOs have shed light on Wall Street’s uncertainty toward highly priced unicorns. Many are now questioning how future venture-backed companies, particularly those in unproven industries like ride-hailing or autonomous vehicles, will fare as public companies.

This post is updating.

Source: Tech Crunch

‘Gato Roboto’ and ‘Dig Dog’ put pixelated pets to work in gleeful gaming homages

Drawing inspiration from games of yore but with dog and cat protagonists that signal light adventures rather than grim, dark ones, Gato Roboto and Dig Dog are easy to recommend to anyone looking to waste a couple hours this weekend. Not only that, but the latter was developed in a fascinating and inspiring way.

Both games share a 1-bit aesthetic that goes back many years but most recently was popularized by the inimitable Downwell and recently used to wonderful effect in both Return of the Obra Dinn and Minit. This is a limitation that frees the developer from certain concerns while also challenging them to present the player with all the information they need with only two colors, or in Dig Dog’s case a couple more (but not a lot).

In the latter game, you play as a dog, digging for bones among a series of procedurally generated landscapes populated by enemies and hazards. Dig Dug is the obvious callback in the name, but gameplay is more bouncy and spontaneous rather than the slower, strategic digging of the arcade classic.

On every stage you’re tasked with collecting a bone that’s somewhere near the bottom, while avoiding various types of enemies and traps or, if you so choose, destroying them and occasionally yielding coins. These coins can be traded with a merchant who appears on some stages, offering various gameplay perks like a longer dash or higher jump.

Get it! Get the bone!

The simple controls let you jump, dig, and do a midair dash that kills enemies — that’s pretty much it. The rest is down to moment-to-moment choices: dig around that enemy or go through them? If I go this way will I trap myself in this hole? Is it worth attacking that bat nest for a coin or will it be too hard to get out alive?

Collected bones contribute towards unlocking new stages with different, more dangerous enemies and devious traps. It gives a sense of progression even when you only get a bone or two, as does your dog rocketing back upwards in a brief but satisfying zoomies celebration every time. So even when you die, and you will die a lot, you feel like you’re working towards something.

It’s a great time-waster and you won’t exhaust its challenges for hours of gameplay; it’s also very easy to pick up and play a few stages of, since a whole life might last less than a minute. At $4 it’s an easy one to recommend.

Interestingly, Dig Dog was developed by its creator with only minimal use of his hands. A repetitive stress condition made it painful and inadvisable for him to code using the keyboard, so he uses a voice-based coding system instead. If I had been told I couldn’t type any more, I’d probably just take up a new career, so I admire Rusty Moyher for his tenacity. He made a video about the process here, if you’re curious:

Gato Roboto, for Switch and PC, is a much more complicated game, though not nearly so much as its inspirations, the NES classics Metroid and Blaster Master. In Gato Roboto, as in those games, you explore a large world filled with monsters and tunnels, fighting bosses and outfitting yourself with new abilities, which in turn let you explore the world further.

This one isn’t as big and open as recent popular “metroidvanias” like Hollow Knight or Ori and the Blind Forest — it’s really much more like a linear action-adventure game in the style of metroidvanias.

The idea is that you’ve crash-landed on a planet after tracking a mysterious signal, but the spaceman aboard the ship is trapped — you play his cat, Kiki, who must explore the planet in his stead.

At first (or shall I say fur-st) you really are just a cat, but you’re soon equipped with a power suit that lets you jump and shoot like any other action game. However, you frequently have to jump out of it to get into a smaller tunnel or enter water, in which the suit can’t operate (and the cat only barely). In this respect it’s a bit like Blaster Master, in which your pilot could dismount and explore caves in top-down fashion — an innovation that made the game one of my favorites for the system. (If you haven’t played the Switch remake, Blaster Master Zero, I implore you to.)

Gato Roboto isn’t as taxing or complex as its predecessors, but it’s not really meant to be. It’s a non-stop romp where you always have a goal or an obstacle to overcome. The 1-bit graphics are so well executed that I stopped noticing them after a minute or two — the pixel art is very clear and only rarely does the lack of color cause any confusion whatever.

Like Dig Dog and Downwell before it, you can pick up color schemes to change the palette, a purely aesthetic choice but a fun collectible (some are quite horrid). The occasional secret and branching path keeps your brain working a little bit, but not too much.

The game is friendly and forgiving, but I will say that the bosses present rather serious difficulty spikes, and you may, as I did, find yourself dying over and over to them because they’re a hundred times more dangerous than ordinary enemies or environmental hazards. Fortunately the game is (kitty) littered with save points and, for the most part, the bosses are not overlong encounters. I still raged pretty hard on a couple of them.

It’s twice the price of Dig Dog, a whopping $8. I can safely say it’s worth the price of two coffees. Don’t hesitate.

These pleasant distractions should while away a few hours, and to me they represent a healthy gaming culture that can look back on its past and find inspiration, then choose to make something new and old at the same time.

Source: Tech Crunch

Ferrari’s first plug-in hybrid is here. And it’s faster than ever.

Ferrari has finally cracked open the door for electrification. The Italian supercar manufacturer unveiled the SF90 Stradale, its first plug-in hybrid.

Purists might turn their noses up to Stradale’s mere 15.5 miles of all electric range. But it’s a milestone for Ferrari nonetheless and marks a shift in the company’s views and portfolio.

Now, some of the important nuts and bolts. The Stradale has a V8 turbo engine that produces 780 cv (or about 769 horsepower), which the company says is the highest power output of any 8-cylinder Ferraris in its history. Another 216 hp is produced by three electric motors. The motors are located between the engine and 8-speed dual clutch transmission on the rear axle, and two on the front axle.

When combined, the vehicle can travel from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds.

You can check out the video below to see the supercar in action. Wait — and listen — for the moment when the driver switches to electric power.

The driver can place the Stradale in eDrive mode — Ferrari’s branding for all-electric mode. When the internal combustion engine is turned off, the two independent front motors can deliver a maximum speed of about 83 mph. That’s slow compared to car’s top speed of 211 mph, which is achieved when the combustion engine is activated. Reverse only uses eDrive mode.

The default setting for the Stradale is to run as a hybrid. The vehicle can also has a performance setting, a mode that keeps the internal gas engine running because the priority is more on charging the battery than on efficiency. This mode gives the driver instant and full power.

Then there’s the tech inside the vehicle. The aeronautically cockpit has a head-up display unit that projects information on the front windscreen and in driver’s field of view. Ferrari has adopted a “hands on the wheel” philosphy in its design. The touch controls are on the steering wheel, which includes a small touch pad on the right hand. Voice and cruise controls are on the left-hand spoke of the wheel.

Ferrari has also taken design cues from Formula 1. For instance, the rotary switch for cruise control is a solution derived directly from the Formula 1 car

Ferrari hasn’t released details on the price yet, nor has it provided information on when the Stradale is coming to market.

Source: Tech Crunch

Audi works with Fleetonomy to monitor and manage fleet utilization for its on demand program

Audi just completed a trial with Israeli company Fleetonomy as part of a potential wider rollout of the Israeli company’s fleet monitoring and management services designed to improve utilization.

Using Fleetonomy’s tools that provide predictive analytics of fleet utilization, Audi was able to improve the overall efficiency and utilization of its on-demand services.

Audi has always aspired to provide a great experience by advancing through innovation and technology. By taking an innovative multi-service approach, Fleetonomy’s platform showed great success in improving fleet efficiency while simultaneously reducing costs associated with utilization and operation according to fleet constraints,” said Nils Noack, Mobility Strategy, Audi Business Innovation GmbH. “We’re looking forward to exploring further the opportunity to leverage Fleetonomy’s AI-based fleet management platforms and to pushing Audi’s vision of innovative mobility services.”

Car companies around the world are rolling out on-demand or rental programs for their fleets as a way to replace traditional car ownership. Audi launched its on demand program back in 2015 and has a new version, Audi Select, which rolled out in 2018.

Using data from Germany and San Francisco,  Fleetonomy was able to predict demand and move supply of the Audi fleet around to rebalance vehicle availability in real-time, the company said.

“As the industry transforms, automotive manufacturers are expanding their role as providers of on-demand transportation services and are looking for efficient ways to manage their fleets according to dynamic demand and supply,” said Fleetnomy Co-Founder & CEO Israel Duanis, in a statement. “Fleetonomy provides unique fleet management solutions that help fleet operators automate, optimize and manage smart transportation services that meet current and future industry needs. We are very excited to have taken part in this project and are confident that Fleetonomy can positively influence overall efficiency, as well as enhance Audi’s smart transportation management capabilities in the future”.

Late last year, Fleetonomy snagged $3 million from investors including Vertex Ventures, with participation from Kardan Ventures and VectoIQ.

Now the company will look to expand on its success with other automakers as well as deepen its relationship with Audi.

Source: Tech Crunch