Kiwibot Acquires Taipei Chipmaker Amidst US-China Tensions

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Bay Area/Colombia-based delivery robotics firm Kiwibot this week announced that it has acquired Auto Mobility Solutions. The Taipei firm produces chips specifically for the world of robotics and autonomous driving. Kiwi founder and CEO Felipe Chávez Cortés does, however, tell TechCrunch that rising tensions between the U.S. and China are a key motivator for the purchase. Prior to this, the U.S. government had set its sights on various Chinese tech giants, including Huawei and DJI. Taiwan’s tenuous geopolitical situation, coupled with its vastly outsized share of the semiconductor market, has placed it at the center of the conflict.

Phantom Auto, a Remote Driving Startup, Announces Closure

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Phantom Auto, a remote driving startup that launched seven years ago amid the buzz of autonomous vehicle technology, is shutting down after failing to secure new funding, TechCrunch has learned. Phantom Auto, which had cut staff last year, employed a little more than 100 people as of this week. Phantom Auto’s demise is the latest in a long line of startups that popped up as the autonomous vehicle technology industry gained attention and investment from investors. Phantom Auto was founded in 2017 and initially focused on applying its teleops technology to autonomous vehicles on public roadways such as robotaxis and self-driving trucks. Phantom Auto pivoted in 2019 and started shopping its remote driving system to logistics, specifically forklifts and yard trucks that have no autonomy as well as autonomous sidewalk delivery robots.

“Vroom Slows Down Online Used Car Sales to Accelerate Auto Financing and AI Expansion”

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Vroom hits the brakes on its online used car business to go full throttle on auto financing and AIVroom is shutting down its online used car marketplace and shifting all of its resources and capital into two business units focused on auto financing and AI-powered analytics. The company said it is suspending all used car transactions through and plans to sell off its used vehicle inventory to wholesalers. Vroom was part of a wave of U.S. startups that launched about a decade ago all aiming to disrupt used car sales and the traditional dealership model. The drop in valuation continued into 2022, pushing Vroom shares to under $2. Vroom shares closed at $0.53 on Monday and then dropped to $0.25 after the company announced its plans to shutter the e-commerce business.

“Unlock the Auto Scroll feature on TikTok – A Step-by-Step Guide”

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TikTok has been experimenting with an auto scrolling mechanic for months now, allowing you to watch TikTok hands-free. To use the auto scroll feature, you hold down on a video on TikTok’s For You page – similar to if you want to repost a video – and click the auto scroll button. If you land on a photo post, however, the scrolling will stop until you swipe through all the photos. To turn off the feature, hold down on your phone screen again and select “Manual scroll.”Since auto scrolling is still being tested, the feature is only available to a select number of TikTok users. TikTok’s auto scroll has been highly requested among users, with many searching for hacks online to make their daily TikTok viewing experience more efficient.

Polestar CEO Ensures Continuance of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Integration

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But don’t expect the EV maker to drop Android Auto or Apple CarPlay as a result. GM, for instance, decided not to make the new 2024 Chevy Blazer EV compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Meanwhile, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is a secondary interface that lies on top of an operating system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are apps that runs on the user’s phone and wirelessly communicates with the vehicle’s infotainment system. Automakers have been scrambling to achieve the so-called “software-defined vehicle” and have largely used Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as a stop gap.

Geographic Navigation Powered by Google will Provide Live Battery Range Details for Electric Car Users, Beginning with Ford.

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Google announced Tuesday at CES 2024 a new feature for EV drivers that will track and display real-time battery information in Google Maps. The new Android Auto feature will rollout today on Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning. Google built-in adds Chrome, Weather ChannelGoogle also added new trip planning capabilities, the Chrome browser and the Weather Channel app to Google built-in. The company said that starting today drivers of vehicles with Google built-in can send the trip they’ve planned on their smartphone using Google Maps directly to their car. Cars with Google built-in will also get, starting today, PBS KIDS and Crunchyroll and the Weather Channel app.