The Bulletin
243D
UK MPs propose changes to Online Safety Bill
Lawmakers have proposed a set of major changes to be made to the UK's landmark Online Safety Bill, which seeks to regulate social media and tech giants. The additions would target issues such as the promotion of self-harm and racial abuse. Some also believe that tech giants should also be made liable in court for failures. "We need to call time on the Wild West online," the lawmaker's report said.
243D
Toyota to accelerate investment in electric vehicles
Japanese automaker Toyota has revealed its plans to invest $35 billion to build a full lineup of 30 battery-powered electric vehicles by 2030. The company also plans to increase global sales of battery electric vehicles by 3.5m units a year by the end of the decade. At the moment, battery-only EVs make up only a fraction of Toyota's current sales, with the majority being hybrid models.
244D
South Korea to use facial recognition for COVID-19 contact-tracing
South Korea has announced it will roll out a pilot project to use AI, facial recognition and over 10,820 CCTV cameras to track the movement of people infected with COVID-19. The pilot will begin in January in Bucheon. "It sometimes takes hours to analyse a single CCTV footage. Using visual recognition technology will enable that analysis in an instant," Bucheon mayor Jang Deog-cheon said.
247D
UK and Singapore sign Digital Economy Agreement
The UK has signed the world's most comprehensive digital trade deal with Singapore. The Digital Economy Agreement will focus on digital trade, data flows, and cybersecurity. Under the pact, both nations will look to establish interoperable systems for digital payments, secured data flows, as well as collaborate on cybersecurity to create a "trusted and secure digital environment".
247D
Europe proposes new rules to classify gig workers as employees
The European Union has proposed the introduction of new legislation that would turn as many as four million European gig economy workers into employees. If passed, the proposed rules could force ride-hailing firms such as Uber and Deliveroo to reclassify their contracted drivers as employees and give them the corresponding benefits, facing fines if they refuse to do so.
248D
New NASA telescope to take pictures of the first galaxies
NASA is launching the world's largest and most powerful telescope later this month. The James Webb Space Telescope's technology, developed in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, makes it 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, and could give it the ability to see back to the first galaxies in the universe.
248D
Nigerian edtech startup uLesson raises $15m
Nigerian edtech startup uLesson has raised $15 million in Series B funding. The company says it will use the new funds to add to its team and improve services for its growing community of learners across Africa.uLesson offers live online classes with expert tutors, video lessons and personalised live homework help for primary and secondary school learners online and via its app.
249D
Industry body needed to protect children online - Instagram chief
Meta's head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has called for an industry body to help protect children online. He made the statement ahead of appearing in front of Congress on Wednesday. Any body should address "how to verify age, how to design age-appropriate experiences, and how to build parental control" Mosseri said. On Tuesday, Mosseri revealed that Instagram will introduce parental controls in 2022.
249D
US publishes flight restrictions to avoid hazards related to the 5G network
The US's Federal Aviation Administration has published a set of flight restrictions that will take effect in January when a new 5G wireless service makes its debut. The guidelines will restrict pilots from operating automatic landing and other cockpit systems to avoid possible interference from C-band spectrum 5G. The FAA said it believes the "expansion of 5G and aviation will safely co-exist.
249D
Indian edtech giant Byju acquires GeoGebra
India's Byju has made its tenth acquisition of the year with the purchase of Austria-headquartered GeoGebra. A source familiar with the matter revealed the deal size is about $100m and includes both cash and stock. GeoGebra operates an interactive and collaborative mathematics learning tool and reaches over 100 million students across more than 195 countries and territories.
249D
Volkswagen secures partnerships for $34bn EV strategy
Volkswagen has announced key strategic partnerships to obtain raw materials for creating battery cells. Volkswagen’s ambitious $34bn project to rival Tesla in the electric vehicle (EV) market includes building European battery cells factories by 2030, and having enough capacity to power over 2m EVs. It has partnered with Umicore to supply cathode materials and Vulcan for lithium.
250D
Rohingya sue Facebook for £150bn for fueling Myanmar genocide
Rohingya refugees have sued Facebook over the promotion of hate speech that they claim fuelled the Myanmar genocide. The refugees demand $150bn in compensation. The class action complaint lodged with the northern district court in San Francisco says Facebook was “willing to trade the lives of the Rohingya people for better market penetration in a small country in south-east Asia.”
250D
Arrival to build major EV battery assembly plant in North Carolina
Electric vehicle maker Arrival is investing $11.5m in a new battery module assembly plant. The high-voltage plant will be in North Carolina and will deliver 350,000 battery modules per year for Arrival's fleet of electric buses and vans. It builds on Arrival's commitment to the North Carolina region and will create an additional 150 jobs. Production should start in the third quarter of 2022.
250D
Toyota to build $1.29bn battery plant in North Carolina
Toyota Motor will build a new $1.29bn battery plant for electric vehicles in North Carolina. The facility will produce enough lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Eventually, Toyota plans to expand battery production to up to 1.2m vehicles per year. The plant will be powered completely by renewable energy and production will begin in 2025.
251D
Europe's Proba-3 mission will create fake eclipses with lasers
The world’s first “precision formation flying” mission Proba-3 will see two satellites fly to form an external coronagraph in space, with one satellite eclipsing the Sun to allow the second to study the otherwise invisible solar corona. “We can keep the spacecraft aligned with each other and the Sun—formation flying—which will can do for six hours at a time,” said ESA's Andrei Zhukov.
251D
Virtual reality could be used to treat pain and anxiety
After trials at multiple NHS trusts, the UK government has said that immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality have the potential to "transform" therapy and healthcare. Moreover, the use of these treatments would save the NHS £2m every year. "I am unable to walk - and I can feel light and able to walk," says Sarah a patient in one of the trials. "It reduces my anxiety."
251D
Lucid issued a subpoena over SPAC deal
Electric car maker Lucid has been issued with a subpoena by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States. The legal challenge is related to the $24bn SPAC merger deal Lucid completed earlier this year. "The investigation appears to concern the business combination between the Company (Churchill Capital Corp. IV) and Atieva Inc and certain projections and statements," Lucid said.
251D
US opens investigation into Tesla's possible solar panel defects - Reuters
The U.S. securities regulator has opened an investigation into Tesla over a whistleblower complaint that the company failed to properly notify its shareholders and the public of fire risks associated with solar panel system defects over several years. Tesla already faces another federal probe into its driver assistant systems. Tesla acquired the solar panels when it bought SolarCity in 2016.
254D
Iberdrola and H2 Green Steel partner in $2.6bn green hydrogen project
Spanish energy company Iberdrola and Swedish startup H2 Green Steel plan to build a vast renewable hydrogen plant on the Iberian peninsula to power the production of iron used to make steel with green hydrogen. Iberdrola will spend around $907 million on new renewable capacity to power the electrolyser. Financing will come from a mixture of equity, green project financing and public funding.
254D
Fairphone shows that there is a market for recycled phones
Fairphone, which began as an awareness campaign, reveals it has made a $2.27m profit in 2021, proving the existence of a market for sustainably sourced phones. "After a few years of campaigning, we realised we are not creating an alternative. We decided to become a part of this industry," Chief executive Eva Gouwens said. "In the whole lifetime of Fairphone we have sold more than 300,000 devices."
254D
Porsche takes stake in 1Komma5
Porsche has acquired a minority stake in a startup which wants to be the one-stop shop to make homes carbon neutral. 1Komma5 will offer energy storage, charging infrastructure and solar technology. The company is only five months old. "With this investment, we want to underline our ambition in the area of smart city and sustainability," a Porsche spokesperson told Tech Crunch.
254D
Ex-Googler Timnit Gebru launches new AI research centre
Timnit Gebru, the artificial intelligence expert that was fired from Google after questioning the company's ethics, has launched a new independent Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute. The centre will study the harms of the technology on marginalized groups. “I want to show a model for an independent institution with a different set of incentive structures,” Gebru says.
255D
Hewlett Packard selected to build green energy supercomputer
The US Department of Energy has chosen Hewlett Packard Enterprise to build a supercomputer. The ‘Kestrel’ will transform energy from geothermal, water, wind, solar, and fuels. Housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, it will be used for research into renewable energy. HPE will build Kestrel using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer, and will use chips from Intel and Nvidia.
255D
Scientists make advances that would replace hard drives with DNA
A team of scientists at Georgia Tech Research Institute has developed a chip that would allow the storage of information in DNA molecules. This would replace hard drives and store data for thousands of years. "The density of features on our new chip is [approximately] 100x higher than current commercial devices," said Nicholas Guise, a senior research scientist at GTRI.
256D
Healthtec startup Harrison.ai raises $92m
Harrison.ai, an Australian startup that makes AI-driven medical devices, has raised $92.3m USD in a Series B funding round. Harrison.ai, which is based in Australia, the UK, and Vietnam, will use the funding to recruit data scientists and engineers and extend clinical partnerships. The technology helps healthcare systems scale. Horizon Ventures led the funding round.
256D
NASA to replace ISS with a commercial space station
NASA’s auditing body has produced a report detailing the agency’s commitment to replacing the International Space Station (ISS) with one or more commercial space stations. NASA hopes to see these commercial stations in operation by 2028 to give a period of two years of overlap before the de-orbiting of the ISS. The ISS costs $3bn a year, a third of NASA's annual human space flight budget.
256D
Green Bitcoin miner Griid to go public in $3.3bn SPAC deal
“Green” bitcoin mining firm Griid plans to go public via a SPAC merger valued at $3.3bn. Griid describes itself as a profitable, environmentally-friendly Bitcoin mining company. “We are building an American infrastructure company with the largest pipeline of committed, carbon-free power among public bitcoin miners at the lowest cost of scaled production,” said Trey Kelly, CEO of Griid.
257D
Volta to supply DB Schenker with 1,500 electric trucks
Germany’s DB Schenker will order almost 1,500 electric lorries from Swedish startup Volta Trucks. They will operate at 10 European terminals, and transport goods into cities. "The large-scale partnership with Volta Trucks allows us to significantly increase the pace of electrification of our fleet and invest in greener transport solutions," said Cyrille Bonjean, DB Schenker's executive VP.
257D
GajiGesa raises $6.6m to support unbanked Indonesian workers
GajiGesa, a fintech company focused on services for Indonesian workers has raised $6.6m in pre-Series A funding round led by MassMutual Ventures. About 66% of Indonesia’s 260 million population is “unbanked,” lacking a bank account and have limited access to financial services like loans. GajiGesa was built by husband-and-wife team Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska to address this issue.
257D
Electric bike startup Upway secures $5m in seed round
French startup Upway has raised $5.7m to help build its marketplace for second-hand e-bikes. Founded by former Uber execs Toussaint Wattinne and Stéphane Ficaja, Upway buys e-bikes second hand, repairs them, and sells them under warranty. “We're removing the barriers to purchasing electric bikes by providing a wide range of models that have been reconditioned, at affordable prices,” says Wattinne.
258D
EdTech company Talent Garden acquires Hyper Island
Italian EdTech company Talent Garden, which provides digital education platforms, has acquired Sweden’s Hyper Island. A business school with presence across America, Europe and Asia, Hyper Talent’s programmes aim to increase students’ knowledge of tech. Talent Garden hopes the acquisition will create a European EdTech alliance, with the company taking a controlling stake in Hyper Island.
258D
EV maker Phoenix Motors files for IPO
Phoenix Motors, a manufacturer of electric trucks and buses in California, has filed for an IPO. It becomes the latest EV maker to go public after a swell of support for sustainable transport. Founded in 2003, Phoenix's first commercial EV bus was launched in 2014. Its fleet is now used in both the public and private sectors. The company was acquired by SPI Energy last November.
258D
Nissan to make $17.6bn investment in EVs
Japanese carmaker Nissan has announced it will invest $17.6 billion over the next five years developing new EVs and battery technology. The investment is part of a grand plan o “democratise” battery-powered cars that the company calls “Ambition 2030". Nissan has set a target to release 15 new EVs total by 2030, with electrified vehicles making up half its vehicle lineup at that point.
258D
Australia proposes new laws to prevent online trolling and defamation
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the introduction of new legislation to address online trolling and defamation. The new laws would make social media giants provide details of users who post defamatory comments. The news comes following the ruling by the country's highest court that stated that publishers can be held liable for public comments on online forums.
258D
Audi’s EV partnership with China’s FW Group delayed
FAW Group’s partnership with Audi to build electric vehicles has been delayed. The date to start building the manufacturing plant hasn’t been revealed, but approval is expected to be granted in December following an intervention from Germany’s economic ministry. Audi, owned by Volkswagen, and state-owned FAW Group signed a memorandum of understanding in October 2020 to build premium EVs in China.
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261D
Sanofi backs healthcare AI startup Owkin
Sanofi has made a $180m investment in Owkin, the healthcare AI company. Owkin's solutions are based around biomedical AI models and datasets. The French company has now achieved unicorn status, and Sanofi will utilise its platform to discover and develop treatment programmes for breast cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma and multiple myeloma. A spokesperson called Owkin's methodology "unique".
261D
Astroscale raises $109m to clean up orbital altitudes
Astroscale, the startup which helps orbital businesses be more sustainable, has raised $109m from a new funding round. Its products and services ultimately help clear debris from orbital altitudes, meaning satellites last longer. Astroscale's founder said the cash will help it "dramatically accelerate its ability to make on-orbit servicing routine by 2030". Japan's The Fund led the funding round.
262D
Amazon-backed Rivian delays deliveries of new EVs
Reports suggest that electric vehicle maker Rivian has pushed back its delivery window for its R1S SUV. The first deliveries of Amazon-backed Rivina’s R1S were expected to be in January. However, emails have been sent to customers who have reserved one of the EVs that the delivery window has been moved to March, and in some cases September. Rivian has so far only delivered the EV to its staff.
263D
Online healthcare marketplace Docplanner acquires Jameda
Docplanner, the largest online healthcare marketplace in the world, has acquired Jameda, which offers a similar service in Germany. It will now expand its headcount in this critical European market. Docplanner creates apps and software for doctors, hospitals and patients. A funding round earlier this year valued it at more than $1bn. "This is our biggest bet so far,” said its founder.
263D
Electric boat startup Arc raises $30m
Arc, an electric boat startup that is less than a year old, has raised $30m. The Series A round was led by former Tesla VP Greg Reichow, a partner at Eclipse Ventures. Arc aims to sell a small number of Arc One, its first electric boat, at $300,000, before making more affordable boats. It will last around four hours when fully charged. Celebrities such as Will Smith and Sean Combs are investors.
263D
Ionity raises $784m to expand EV charging network
Ionity will expand its electric vehicle charging network after raising $784m in new funding. Existing shareholders and BlackRock's Global Renewable Power Platform provided the investment. The cash will enable Ionity to quadruple the number of high-power 350 kilowatt charging points to 7,000 by 2025. "We want to offer our customers a more convenient and comfortable experience," said Ionity's COO.
264D
Plant-based Mosaic Foods raises $6m
Mosaic Foods, a plant-based frozen meals company, has raised $6m in seed funding. Started in 2019, the New York-based Mosaic Foods, will use the new capital to develop new frozen products. Customers choose a meal plan, and Mosaic Foods deliver the fast-frozen plant-based meals. The latest investment, led by Gather Ventures, brings the company’s total funding since launching two years ago to $10m.
264D
Healthtech investment hits record global levels
Global investment in healthtech has hit record levels in 2021, according to new figures. The sector continues to feel momentum from the COVID-19 pandemic as investment soared 280% compared to 2016. The U.S. leads globally with $31.9bn of investment, with China in second ($4.1bn) and the UK in third ($3.8bn). Database management company Dealroom provided the insights alongside London & Partners.
264D
Tesla to finish construction on Austin factory by the end of the year
Tesla will spend more than $1bn on its new factory in Austin, Texas, according to public filings. In filings submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Tesla says it aims to finish building its new vehicle factory by the end of this year. The factory will have five facilities, including painting and assembly, and will cost $1.06bn. Construction began in the summer of 2020.
265D
Tesla’s Elon Musk says Model S Plaid will “probably” be available in China
Elon Musk has said that Tesla’s Model S Plaid will “probably” be available to buy in China. In a response to a question on Twitter asking when the car was coming to China, Musk replied “Probably around March”. Model S Plaid is the high-performance version of Tesla’s flagship sedan, and it began deliveries of the car in June this year.
265D
Baidu to apply AI to Sanofi's mRNA vaccine and therapy development
Baidu is teaming up with pharma company Sanofi to apply artificial intelligence to the development of mRNA vaccines and therapies. The partnership is designed to address the storage, distribution and efficacy challenges around mRNA vaccines. Baidu's design optimisation platform will be integrated into Sanofi's product design pipeline. Sanofi is currently building a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine.
265D
Qure.AI launches AI platform for stroke management
Qure.AI has rolled out a new stroke management platform which uses artificial intelligence. The tech enables practitioners to conduct remote diagnoses while supporting decision making. It is based on Qure.AI's imaging technology which can interpret abnormalities in brain scans. The startup says the stroke management platform can help reduce the time between patient triage and treatment.
268D
Construction begins on US’s first large-scale offshore wind farm
The US’s fledgling offshore wind farm sector received a huge boost when construction started on Vineyard Wind on Thursday. The site, 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, is the US’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Built by Vineyard Wind LLC, the wind farm will use 62 turbines and produce electricity for over 400,000 homes and businesses.
268D
EV maker Xpeng plans global expansion
Xpeng has launched its flagship G9 electric SUV, with plans to take the company global. The Chinese manufacturer has launched in Norway, following in the footsteps of rival Nio. The G9 is Xpeng's fourth model, and first built for both Chinese and international markets. "We want to bring our most sophisticated designs to our customers worldwide," said co-founder and President Henry Xia.
268D
Flipkart enters healthtech space
Flipkart has acquired online pharmacy SastarSundar in its first foray into the healthtech space. The ecommerce giant will create a new healthcare vertical called Flipkart Health+. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. SastarSundar works with nearly 500 pharmacies across India. Flipkart's main rival, Amazon India, started delivering pharmaceutical products in the country last year.