https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/unnamed.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/unnamed.jpg
Photographer: Natan Dvir/Bloomberg
If you don’t have a college degree, it won’t hold you back from working for Tesla, Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday.
Musk is using Twitter to recruit for Tesla’s artificial intelligence team.
“Join AI at Tesla!” Musk tweeted Sunday. The artificial intelligence team “reports directly to me [and] we meet/email/text almost every day.”
What’s more, to work in Tesla’s artificial intelligence department does not require a specific degree.
“A PhD is definitely not required,” Tesla boss Elon Musk said on Twitter on Feb. 2. I “don’t care if you even graduated high school,” Musk said.
Instead, Musk is looking for those with a “deep understanding” of artificial intelligence. And while, “[e]ducational background is irrelevant,” all candidates “must pass hardcore coding test,” Musk said.
Musk’s expressed his opinion on the unimportance of degrees before.
“There’s no need even to have a college degree at all, or even high school,” Musk said during a 2014 interview with the German automotive publication Auto Bild about his hiring preferences more broadly.
“If somebody graduated from a great university, that may be an indication that they will be capable of great things, but it’s not necessarily the case. If you look at, say, people like Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, these guys didn’t graduate from college, but if you had a chance to hire them, of course that would be a good idea,” Musk said.
Instead, Musk said he looks for “evidence of exceptional ability. And if there is a track record of exceptional achievement, then it is likely that that will continue into the future,” he told Auto Bild.
Tesla needs artificial intelligence talent to work on its self-driving vehicle ambitions. Tesla vehicles are built with the hardware necessary to offer some current autopilot features and “full self-driving capabilities” in the future, according to Tesla’s website. The hardware will need to have various software upgrades to one day be able to operate as a self-driving vehicle.
On Feb. 2, Musk also tweeted that he is going to throw a “super fun” party at his house with the Tesla artificial intelligence and autopilot team.
The party will be in about a month, and invitations will go in the mail “soon,” Musk said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for more information about the party.
Ideally, Musk would like the Tesla artificial intelligence recruits to work in the San Francisco Bay area in California or Austin, Texas, but “potentially any Tesla Gigafactory” would be okay, Musk tweeted Sunday.
Gigafactories are where Tesla makes its electric motors and battery packs. Currently there are Tesla gigafactories in Sparks, Nevada; Buffalo, New York; and Shanghai, China. In November, Musk announced a fourth factory will be built in Berlin, Germany.
Musk is looking to recruit talent at a time when Tesla is performing well financially. In January, the electric automaker’s stock had its best performance since May 2013.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/unnamed-1.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/unnamed-1.jpg
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo by Bloomberg
Uber proved countless doubters wrong by showing, when it reported its third-quarter results last fall, that its ride-hailing business can make money. And as investors await the fourth-quarter numbers scheduled to be released Feb. 6, they’ve sent the stock soaring. It’s as though they think the worst is over for the ride-hailing giant.
Those optimists should think again. Even if Uber’s core ride-hailing business were to make significant financial strides going forward, our assessment is that it could take years before the cash generated from the business can justify the company’s current stock price of above $37.
Uber’s stock has rallied 42% in the past two months but our analysis, using a reverse discounted cash flow model, suggests Uber’s ride hailing business won’t be able to justify the current stock price for several more years. And even that assumes Uber’s optimistic projections about its long term results hold true.
That might seem like a harsh assessment. Even after the stock’s recent rally from its low of $26 in mid-November to its close on Tuesday of $37.60, Uber stock is trading 16% below its IPO price. That in turn was well below what investors expected the company to be worth when it went public. Most Wall Street analysts are much more bullish—among 39 analysts, the average and median near-term “price target” for the stock is $44 per share, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Of course, Wall Street analysts as a rule look for reasons for investors to buy stocks, not for reasons for them not to. But to be fair, based on some measures, shares of Uber look reasonably valued. At the current price, Uber is trading at about three times projected 2020 revenue to enterprise value. Lyft, its smaller U.S. ride-hailing rival, is trading at around 2.4 times the same multiple. Grubhub, probably the other closest comparison, is trading at 3.6 times.
But valuing stocks based on comparisons to other companies in similar businesses makes sense when there’s a decent number of comparisons—at least some of which have demonstrated a path to making money. Neither Lyft nor Uber has done that, so justifying one company’s valuation by referring to another’s isn’t the way to go in this case.
Grubhub may be a decent comp, but it is part of a crowded on-demand food-delivery market supercharged by venture capital, which is not a rational market. Also, the possibility that it may get bought is elevating its valuation.
On a related note, valuing Uber on a multiple of its total revenue is in our view a mistake. Uber’s food-delivery business, for instance, is losing money at an alarming rate. It’s not clear when Uber Eats will be able to make money, at least unless it merges with one or more of its competitors.
Ride Hailing Focus
That argues in favor of valuing Uber in segments, starting with its ride-hailing business—and doing so by calculating the present value per share of the cash it’s likely to generate over the next few years. That’s what we did. It has the virtue of honing in on what Wall Street sentiment doesn’t like about ride hailing: its giant losses and uncertainty about when they will come to an end.
The good news is that Uber has started to make money in ride hailing—not much, but a little bit. In the third quarter, it reported $631 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from ride hailing. This was excluding corporate overhead and technology costs to power its services. Uber reported $623 million of those overhead expenses overall. But ride-hailing accounts for only 82% of its overall revenue. So assuming that 82% of its overhead and technology is attributable to ride-hailing—$511 million—implies that Uber’s ride-hailing business had Ebitda of $120 million in the quarter.
Thus, Uber’s third-quarter performance translates to a net operating profit margin of 1% for the ride-hailing business, the first quarter in the black since the start of 2018—the earliest period for which Uber has disclosed such information. But to justify a price around $37-38, Uber would need at least a 13% to 14% net operating profit margin from around $20 billion in revenue, while growing at close to 20%, according to a valuation model known as a “reverse discounted cash flow” developed by equity research firm New Constructs, based in Nashville, Tennessee. We estimate Uber will get there in 2023, assuming it makes progress toward the long-term profit goals its executives outlined before the offering.
The New Constructs model calculates the economic earnings a company must generate to support a stock’s current market price. Economic earnings are basically a measure of profitability known as free cash flow—the cash generated from a company’s operations minus the cost of capital expenditures such as buying computer servers to run the business. New Constructs based the model on its analysis of the historical earnings and corresponding stock prices of thousands of companies.
We used the model and made some assumptions about the next few years to estimate when Uber’s per-share value would get close to where the stock is now. We assumed that revenue growth would slow from 25% in the coming 12 months to 18% by 2023—and that may be generous. One way Uber has maintained revenue growth lately is through raising prices, which has had the impact of slowing growth in terms of number of rides in the U.S. market.
We also assume a steady increase in the net operating profit margin to 16% by 023. That also may be generous. Recent legal and regulatory hits, as well as threats to its business, have raised questions about Uber’s ability to expand profit margins in the long run. For instance, the California law requiring companies to treat contractors as employees prompted Uber to experiment with letting drivers set their own prices and see the destination before accepting a trip. If widely adopted, this approach could mess with the efficiency of Uber’s service and squeeze its profit margin.
One reason why many Wall Street analysts argue Uber stock is undervalued is because they’re optimistic about Uber’s revenue and profit growth potential. For Uber executives and stock analysts, “the underlying assumption…is that if a company can achieve break-even, it obviously can continue profitable growth. But why?” said Len Sherman, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School who has been a longtime critic of Uber’s valuation.
“No company has ever pulled off the epic turnaround on the scale Uber requires” to get to “sizable positive cash flows” without first shrinking itself by cutting unprofitable operations, Sherman added.
For this analysis, The Information put a $6 billion value for Uber’s minority equity stakes in other, privately held ride-hailing companies. That is down from the $12 billion or so value that Uber placed on those stakes around the time of its IPO. Uncertainties about some of those businesses, including Grab and Didi Chuxing, justify halving the earlier value.
The biggest hole in The Information’s analysis concerns Uber Eats, the food delivery app that makes up about 12% of Uber’s revenue. It’s extremely difficult to put a value on Uber Eats, given its growing losses and uncertainty about when those will end. The service likely lost $1.2 billion before taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2019, according to Uber’s results for the first three quarters of the year. The company said that in the third quarter of 2019, 15% of Uber Eats’ gross sales occurred in competitive regions and accounted for half of its Ebitda loss.
Uber is looking to offload its worst-performing Uber Eats operations, as it just did in India, so if we eliminate those poorly performing regions, that shrinks Uber Eats’ revenue by about $200 million for the year. That would mean the service could have generated nearly $1.2 billion in revenue and lost roughly $600 million in Ebitda terms. But applying 12% of Uber’s corporate overhead and tech costs to Uber Eats would increase that annual loss amount to at least $800 million.
So the question is, how much future value should we ascribe to Eats? One approach would be to play out some consolidation in its biggest market, the U.S., and assume that that would lessen the amount of money Uber Eats must spend to compete. It would be easier to assign a value to Uber Eats if it were to merge with a rival such as online food-ordering pioneer Grubhub. It is roughly the same size as Uber Eats in terms of revenue (though most of its business is based on the commission from taking orders rather than fulfilling the delivery), is marginally profitable, is growing half as fast as Uber Eats, and has a $5 billion market capitalization.
Considering that a merger might help both entities save money because they would primarily be competing with DoorDash, it could make sense to put a $2.5 billion to $5 billion value on Uber Eats as part of the combined entity, for the moment. We split the difference and assumed Uber owned a minority stake, worth $3.7 billion, in a food delivery unit.
Some analysts also have placed a combined value of more than $10 billion on Uber’s autonomous vehicle R&D and scooter and bike rental divisions. But we’d argue it is pointless to ascribe any value to these businesses, given how they’re performing. New data show that Uber’s rental divisions have lost money at a much faster rate than the startups it is competing against. And recent reporting shows the R&D group has no clear path to commercializing the nascent technology.
The only other question mark concerns the fast-growing Uber Freight business, which recently accounted for 6% of Uber’s revenue. But in the first nine months of 2019, its loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounted to 31% of the Freight revenue. So it may be too early to calculate the potential value of Uber Freight.
Uber has had some success in shifting the perception of its core ride-hailing business from “can it ever make money?” to “how much money can it make?” Now the doubters will focus on its long-term value as a public stock—and for good reason. Given how much cash Uber’s core business will need to generate in the future, the company still has a mountain to climb to justify its stock valuation today.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/w1700.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/w1700.jpg
This image provided by Cruise shows a rendering of an unorthodox electric vehicle called “Origin,” being developed by GM’s Cruise subsidiary. Photo: Cruise via AP
General Motors’ self-driving car company will attempt to deliver on its long-running promise to provide a more environmentally friendly ride-hailing service in an unorthodox vehicle designed to eliminate the need for human operators to transport people around crowded cities.
The service still being developed by GM’s Cruise subsidiary will rely on a boxy, electric-powered vehicle called “Origin” that was unveiled late Tuesday in San Francisco amid much fanfare. It looks like a cross between a mini-van and sports utility vehicle with one huge exception — it won’t have any steering wheel or brakes. The Origin will accommodate up to four passengers at a time, although a single customer will be able summon it for a ride just as people already can ask for a car with a human behind the wheel from Uber or Lyft.
For all the hype surrounding the Origin’s unveiling, Cruise omitted some key details, including when its ride-hailing service will be available and how many of the vehicles will be in its fleet. The company indicated it will initially only be available in San Francisco, where Cruise has already been offering a ride-hailing service that’s only available to its roughly 1,000 employees.
By eliminating the need for a human to drive, Cruise theoretically will be able to offer a less expensive way to get around — a goal already being pursued by self-driving car pioneer Waymo, a Google spinoff that has been testing robotaxis in the Phoenix area for nearly three years.
Cruise had planned to have a robotaxi service consisting of Chevrolet Bolts working without human backup drivers by the end of 2019, but moved away from that last year after one of Uber’s autonomous test vehicles ran down and killed a pedestrian in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, Arizona, during 2018.
Still aware of the fallout from that deadly crash, Cruise is promising “superhuman performance” from the Cruise, which GM hopes to manufacture at half the price of comparable vehicles using fuel-combustion engines. GM also expects to announce where the Origin will be made within the next few weeks, Cruise CEO Dan Amman said.
The Origin won’t be sold to consumers though. “It is not a product you can buy, but an experience you share,” Amman said.
The Origin represents another significant step for Cruise, which had only 40 employees when GM bought it in 2016 as part of its effort to catch up in the race to build cars that can drive themselves. Since then, Cruise has attracted more than $6 billion from investors, including $2.75 billion from Honda and $2.25 billion from Japanese tech investment firm SoftBank. Honda also helped develop the Origin.
GM currently values Cruise at $19 billion, fueling speculation that the subsidiary may eventually be spun off as a publicly traded company.
Whenever Cruise’s ride-hailing service makes its debut, it will still be chasing Waymo, whose work on self-driving car technology began inside of Google more than a decade ago.
Waymo’s Phoenix-area service already has given more than 100,000 rides, according to the company. It expanded beyond the test phase service 13 months ago with a ride-hailing app that now has about 1,500 active monthly riders, Waymo says.
By comparison, ride-hailing leader Uber now boasts about 103 million active monthly users with a service that relies on human drivers — a dependence that is the main reason the company has been losing money throughout its history. Despite the fatal 2018 crash that stoked the public’s worst fears about self-driving cars, Uber is still trying to build a fleet of robotic taxis as part of its question to become profitable.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also pledged that his company’s electric cars will be able to drive themselves without a human behind the wheel before the end of this year so they can moonlight as taxis when their owners don’t need the vehicles, but industry analysts doubt that promise will come to fruition.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/105444245-1536681064738img_2705.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/105444245-1536681064738img_2705.jpg
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase. Adam Jeffery | CNBC
J.P. Morgan Chase announced on Tuesday the creation of its Development Finance Institution to boost private investment in emerging-market projects.
The lender said it can finance more than $100 billion annually from its investment bank and created a formal methodology to define projects that fit commercial and development targets. It also hired Faheen Allibhoy, an 18-year veteran of the World Bank-affiliated International Finance Corp., to lead the new group.
“The emerging markets are where the action is,” Allibhoy told CNBC. Places like Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico and Egypt are “countries that are building infrastructure and that are in need of capital, and they’re sizable economies.”
Development finance — which funds projects to boost economic growth and quality of life in emerging economies — will be a major topic as world leaders and CEOs gather this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It can include funding for infrastructure like bridges and wind farms or microfinance lending to entrepreneurs.
According to J.P. Morgan, there is a $2.5 trillion annual shortfall in investment to achieve the goals set by the United Nations to address climate change, health, education and food security in the developing world by 2030.
With its new business, the biggest U.S. bank hopes to close the gap by helping to turn development finance into a traded asset class, originating assets for distribution to investors. It will also connect public and private pools of capital, from pensions and family offices to philanthropies.
Daniel Pinto, co-president of J.P. Morgan and head of its corporate and investment bank, said in the announcement that the aim of the effort is to “increase engagement with clients and investors interested in financing critical projects and transactions in emerging markets.”
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/00f0c52b498e76becb00e2d2c07aed5d.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/00f0c52b498e76becb00e2d2c07aed5d.jpg
Microsoft CEO Says U.S.-China Spat May Hurt Global Growth
Microsoft Corp’s chief executive officer said he worries that mistrust between the U.S. and China will increase technology costs and hurt economic growth at a critical time.
Using the $470 billion semiconductor industry as an example of a sector that is already globally interconnected, Satya Nadella said the two countries will have to find ways to work together, rather than creating different supply chains for each country.
“All you are doing is increasing transaction costs for everybody if you completely separate,” Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead conference in Davos. That’s a concern as the executive said the world is on the cusp of a revolution around technology and artificial intelligence.
“If we take steps back in trust or increase transaction costs around technology, all we are doing is sacrificing global economic growth,” he said.
The Trump administration is considering steps to further limit the ability of U.S. companies to supply Huawei Technologies Co., China’s flagship tech company, in addition to pressuring countries around the world to avoid using its equipment for 5G mobile networks.
The agreement signed last week between the U.S. and China was “not sufficient,” said Nadella, but represented “progress” on the issue of intellectual property protections for U.S. technology companies working with China.
To enable different countries to use technology from outside their borders, Nadella suggested a system that relies on verification. For example, Microsoft has set up technology centers where various governments can inspect the Windows source code to satisfy themselves as to the security of the product.
“There has to be a way for any country to be able to trust, through verification, the technology that they are using as part of a their infrastructure,” he said. “Mechanisms like that have to be in place, and then build trade on top of it instead of thinking of trade and trust as the same thing.”
Nadella said he worries about the development of two separate internets, noting that to some degree they already exist “and they will get amplified in the future” with massive technology companies already in place in China.
The viewpoint clashes with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has been skeptical about the idea that ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions could ever lead to a bifurcated system of two internets.
China and the U.S. are the two leading AI superpowers, however the cooling political relations between them have slowed the international collaboration.
Even amid the tensions, countries should find ways to establish global norms around cybersecurity — such as agreements not to hack each other’s citizens — privacy and responsible AI, Nadella said. “Despite whatever trade dynamic causes people to separate, you would hope people would recognize we all benefit from more global norms, not less.“ Earlier this month, in a blog post about his goals for the year, Nadella said these areas are essential to earn and sustain people’s trust.
Nadella also warned that countries that fail to attract immigrants will lose out as the global tech industry continues to grow. The CEO has previously voiced concern about India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which bans undocumented Muslim migrants from neighboring countries from seeking citizenship in India while allowing immigrants from other religions to do so, calling it “sad.”
“Every country is rethinking what is in their national interest,” he said. Governments need to “maintain that modicum of enlightenment and not think about it very narrowly,” Nadella said, adding that “people will only come when people know you’re an immigrant-friendly country.“
However, Nadella said he remained hopeful. “I’m an India optimist,” he said. “The fact that there is a 70-year history of nation building, I think it’s a very strong foundation. I grew up in that country. I’m proud of that heritage. I’m influenced by that experience.”
Microsoft has recently unveiled plans to invest $1 billion to back companies and organizations working on technologies to remove or reduce carbon from the atmosphere, saying efforts to merely emit less carbon aren’t enough to prevent catastrophic climate change.
“We will now have to make sure all our data center operations are first consuming renewable energy,” Nadella said.
Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc., along with other technology companies, have been criticized for supplying software and cloud services to large oil and gas companies like Chevron Corp. and BP Plc. BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink has been trailed to work and public engagements by protesters decrying the investment firm for inaction on global warming and other issues.
Activists have been pushing for companies to stop working with the largest producers of greenhouse gases. BlackRock has said it will cut exposure to thermal coal as the world’s largest asset manager moves to address climate change.
Nadella declined to comment on whether Microsoft would stop working with the major carbon producers. “The energy transition is going to include all of us,” he said.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/w1700-1-1.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/w1700-1-1.jpg
A metal head made of motor parts symbolizes artificial intelligence. Photo: AP file
Google’s chief executive called Monday for a balanced approach to regulating artificial intelligence, telling a European audience that the technology brings benefits but also “negative consequences.”
Sundar Pichai’s comments come as lawmakers and governments seriously consider putting limits on how artificial intelligence is used.
“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. The question is how best to approach this,” Pichai said, according to a transcript of his speech at a Brussel-based think tank.
He noted that there’s an important role for governments to play and that as the European Union and the U.S. start drawing up their own approaches to regulation, “international alignment” of any eventual rules will be critical. He did not provide specific proposals.
Pichai spoke on the same day he was scheduled to meet the EU’s powerful competition regulator, Margrethe Vestager.
Vestager has in previous years hit the Silicon Valley giant with multibillion-dollar fines for allegedly abusing its market dominance to choke off competition. After being reappointed for a second term last autumn with expanded powers over digital technology policies, Vestager has now set her sights on artificial intelligence, and is drawing up rules on its ethical use.
Pichai’s comments suggest the company may be hoping to head off a broad-based crackdown by the EU on the technology. Vestager and the EU have been the among the more aggressive regulators of big tech firms, an approach U.S. authorities have picked up with investigations into the dominance of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
“Sensible regulation must also take a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms with social opportunities,” he said, adding that it could incorporate existing standards like Europe’s tough General Data Protection Regulation rather than starting from scratch.
While it promises big benefits, he raised concerns about potential downsides of artificial intelligence, citing as one example its role in facial recognition technology, which can be used to find missing people but also for “nefarious reasons” which he didn’t specify.
In 2018, Google pledged not to use AI in applications related to weapons, surveillance that violates international norms, or that works in ways that go against human rights.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/AS20200120003848_comm.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/AS20200120003848_comm.jpg
The building housing the headquarters of Mitsubishi Electric Corp. in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Jan. 20 (The Asahi Shimbun)
Multiple cyberattacks likely leaked information from Mitsubishi Electric Corp., a leading electronics equipment maker that is deeply involved in defense, infrastructure and transportation projects, sources close to the company said.
They said the company suspects Tick, a Chinese hacking group, was behind the attacks.
Mitsubishi Electric acknowledged the online intrusions and apologized for the trouble they caused in a statement released on Jan. 20.
The company’s statement said its in-house investigation found that there were no leaks of sensitive data in the defense, electric and railway industries. It also said classified information on technology and vital information about its customers was not compromised.
The statement said it has not confirmed “any damage or impact” from the breach so far, but it did not mention the content of data that might have been leaked nor did it name a possible perpetrator.
“We have confirmed the possibility that personal information and confidential corporate information have leaked after our company’s computer networks were accessed illegally,” the statement read.
The company issued the statement after an article on the breach was carried in The Asahi Shimbun’s morning edition the same day.
According to the sources cited in the article, the company first became aware of the online attacks in Japan in late June, when suspicious activities were detected at a server at its Information Technology R&D Center in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The attack occurred shortly before Mitsubishi Electric started providing a cybersecurity service in July to protect public facilities and office buildings from online attacks.
More than 40 of its servers and more than 120 computer terminals at its Tokyo headquarters and large domestic and overseas offices have been breached since July, according to the sources and the company’s in-house investigation.
The revelation of the cyberattacks came at a time when government officials are increasingly nervous about security arrangements against terrorism and online attacks for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga acknowledged the attacks on Mitsubishi Electric at a news conference on Jan. 20.
But he said the company reported to the government that there were “no leaks of sensitive data on defense equipment and the power industry.”
Although Mitsubishi Electric’s statement did not go into detail about what the hackers wanted to obtain, the sources told The Asahi Shimbun earlier that the information hacked included not only data of the company but also that of more than 10 government organizations, including the Defense Ministry, the Environment Ministry, the Cabinet Office, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.
The hackers also gained access to data on dozens of leading private-sector companies, including those in the power, telecommunications, railway and auto industries, the sources said.
The data contained details of joint projects, negotiations and incoming orders from Mitsubishi Electric’s business partners, as well as documents shared by senior company officials at meetings and the company’s research institute.
The sources said that the way in which the servers and computer terminals were compromised indicates that the cyber-espionage group Tick was behind the attacks.
Tick primarily targets classified defense-related data, but little is known about the group.
Unauthorized access originated at an affiliated company in China, and such activity was later discovered at key offices of Mitsubishi Electric in Japan, the sources said.
The attackers infiltrated the company’s computer networks through hijacked accounts, giving them access to computer terminals used by middle management executives, who have high clearance levels for a wide range of classified information within the company, the sources said.
The hackers sent out data from those terminals over several installments, raising the likelihood that information was leaked, they said.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/chris.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/chris.jpg
Aurora CEO and Google veteran Chris Urmson has reasons why his startup bought an obscure company based in Bozeman, Montana. Blackmore, the laser-radar company located some 100 miles southeast of Montana’s capital and founded in 2015, lives in the unlikeliest of places for a self-driving tech startup. But Urmson said that Aurora was attracted to Blackmore for the company’s sophisticated laser-radar technology, which Aurora want to use for large trucks operating on freeways.
“There’s not a whole lot of self-driving research up there.”
That was Chris Urmson’s understated assessment of a tiny laser-radar company, Blackmore, that Urmson’s startup, Aurora, acquired last year for an undisclosed amount.
Urmson, an autonomous-mobility celebrity CEO of sorts, can split his time between two self-driving hubs in the US, the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh (the latter city is home to Carnegie Mellon University, along with Stanford a key academic center for self-driving research).
Blackmore, by contrast, is located in Bozeman, Montana. A beautiful place, with a top university in Montana State. But not exactly well-known to anyone following the rapid evolution of Aurora or other self-driving efforts from Waymo, Cruise, ArgoAI, or Mobileye.
Operating in different universes but tackling the same problem
The two companies, prior to the acquisition, were also operating in different financial universes. Aurora’s most recent funding round was in 2019, for $530 million, bringing the Palo Alto-based firm to a reported $2.5 billion valuation.
Blackmore Sensors and Analytics Inc. — the startup’s official name — raised $18 million in 2018. It has a staff of 70, according to The Robot Report.
Urmson joined Google after getting a doctorate at Carnegie Mellon, working with Sebastian Thrun on the earliest iterations of the Google Car project. He departed in 2016 after about a decade, when the project was rechristened Waymo and taken over by current CEO John Krafcik, an auto-industry veteran.
At Aurora, founded in 2017, Urmson sometimes sounds like Krafcik. Both men speak of an autonomous “driver” as being their focus — a combination of hardware and software that could be installed in any vehicle, like a robot behind the wheel (even though there isn’t a wheel), to replace the human pilot.
“We need to see the world effectively and see it at range,” Urmson told Business Insider.
That brought him to Blackmore.
Creating a robot that could drive a semi
“I spent part of my time finding essential technologies that could differentiate us,” he said. Then encountered Blackmore’s technology, which he described as “continuous wave.” Without getting too complicated, Blackmore’s system uses the famous Doppler effect that gives Doppler radar its name. The upshot Urmson said, was “tech that could unlock the ability to drive heavy trucks on the freeway.”
Self-driving semis present a compelling business opportunity because the freight economy has managed to avoid much in the way of major innovation and is prey to a never-ending cycle of ups and downs and beset with…Read More
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Joby-aircraft-web.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Joby-aircraft-web.jpg
Aviation has raised a $590 million Series C round of funding, including $394 million from lead investor Toyota Motor Corporation, the company announced today. Joby is in the process of developing an electric air taxi service, which will make use of in-house developed electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that will in part benefit from strategic partner Toyota’s vehicle manufacturing experience.
This brings the total number of funding in Joby Aviation to $720 million, and its list of investors includes Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and more. Alongside this new round of funding, Joby gains a new board member: Toyota Motor Corporation EVP Shigeki Tomoyama.
Founded in 2009, Joby Aviation is based in Santa Cruz, California. The company was founded by JoeBen Bevirt, who also founded consumer photo and electronics accessory maker Joby. Its proprietary aircraft is a piloted eVTOL, which can fly at up to 200 miles per hour for a total distance of over 150 miles on a single charge. Because it uses an electric drivetrain and multi rotor design, Joby Aviation says it’s “100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead.”
These benefits make eVTOL craft prime candidates for developing urban aerial transportation networks, and a number of companies, including Joby as well as China’s EHang, Airbus and more are all working on this type of craft for use in this kind of city-based short-hop transit for both people and cargo.
The sizeable investment made by Toyota in this round is a considerable bet for the automaker on the future of air transportation. In a press release detailing the round, Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda indicated that the company is serious about eVTOLs and air transport in general.
“Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky,” Toyoda is quoted as saying. “As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavor, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky.”
Joby Aviation believes that it can achieve significant cost benefits vs. traditional helicopters for short aerial flights, eventually lowering costs through maximizing utilization and fuel savings to the point where it can be “accessible to everyone.” To date, Joby has completed sub-scale testing on its aircraft design, and begun full flight tests of production prototypes, along with beginning the certification process for its aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the end of 2018.
https://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/w1700-3.jpgHCCR - Human Capital Consulting RecruitingHCCR - Human Capital Consulting Recruitinghttps://hccr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/w1700-3.jpg
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, announces Toyota’s plans to build a prototype city of the future on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, during the 2020 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Toyota Motor Corp plans to build a prototype “city of the future” at the base of Mt Fuji, powered by hydrogen fuel cells and functioning as a laboratory for autonomous cars, “smart homes,” artificial intelligence and other technologies.
Toyota unveiled the audacious plan for what it will call “Woven City”, in a reference to its origins as a loom manufacturer, at the big annual technology industry show, CES, on Monday.
“It’s hard to learn something about a smart city if you are only building a smart block,” James Kuffner, chief executive officer for the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, told Reuters.
The “Woven City” idea, under discussion for a year, is aimed at creating safer, cleaner, more fun cities and learning lessons that could be applied around the world, he added.
It will have police, fire and ambulance services, schools and could be home to a mix of Toyota employees, retirees and others, Kuffner said.
The development, to be built on the site of a car factory that is planned to be closed by the end of 2020, will begin with 2,000 residents in coming years, and also serve as a home to researchers.
Toyota did not disclose costs for the project, whose construction is scheduled to start next year, and which seeks to re-imagine a city, but executives said it had been extensively vetted and had a budget.
The plan for a futuristic community on 175 acres (71 hectares) is a big step beyond proposals from Toyota’s rivals.
Executives at many major automakers have talked about how cities of the future could be designed to cut climate-changing emissions, reduce congestion and apply internet technology to everyday life.
The company’s proposal showcases not only the ambition of Chief Executive Akio Toyoda, but also the financial and political resources Toyota can bring to bear, especially in its home country.
“You know if you build it, they will come,” said Toyoda, who called the project “my personal ‘field of dreams.'”
Toyota Housing, a company unit, has sold more than 100,000 homes in Japan in 37 years.
Toyota said it had commissioned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels to design the community. Ingels’ firm designed the 2 World Trade Center building in New York and technology giant Google’s offices in Silicon Valley and London.
Toyota said it is open to partnerships with other companies seeking to use the project as a testing ground for technology.
Still Toyoda acknowledged not all may see the wisdom of what could be an expensive and lengthy project.
“You may be thinking, ‘Has this guy lost his mind?'” Toyoda asked the audience in Las Vegas, to laughter. “‘Is he like a Japanese version of Willy Wonka?’ Perhaps.”