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CES: LIDAR breakthrough will advance driver safety

Velodyne Lidar will introduce a groundbreaking new lidar sensor technology at CES 2020 in Las Vegas next week.

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Lidar enables high-level Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for safe navigation and collision avoidance.

Velodyne will demonstrate a lidar sensor that sets a new industry benchmark for size, versatility and affordability, along with new ADAS software, partnerships and customer relationships.

Velodyne will demonstrate how its lidar sensors and Vella software can be applied to create powerful ADAS solutions with improved safety, including pedestrian and bicyclist avoidance, lane-keeping assist, automatic braking and more. Employing lidar, along with a few inexpensive cameras for redundancy, is a revolutionary approach to safety, allowing vehicles to detect and avoid objects in a range of environmental conditions and roadway settings. To achieve safe deployment of autonomous technology, most leaders agree on redundant systems with both lidar and cameras are a must.

“Automakers can greatly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of driver-assist and safety features by employing Velodyne hardware and software in their ADAS solutions,” said Anand Gopalan, Chief Technology Officer, Velodyne Lidar. “CES attendees will be able to learn how Velodyne sensors can be seamlessly integrated within consumer vehicles, and how greater safety can be achieved on the roadway by using our solutions. They will also see how Velodyne continues to raise the bar with innovative technologies for lidar-based driver safety.”

At CES, Velodyne will present its proposed Five Diamonds rating system to clarify and standardize terminology for ADAS features. The system aims to encourage transparency in the marketplace and promote the maximum positive effect of ADAS technologies. Velodyne is working with automotive safety organizations, in collaboration with SAE International, to foster an industry dialogue to refine and advance the system with the goal of improving driver and pedestrian safety.

Velodyne’s High-Performance Sensor Technologies on Display

Velodyne product demonstrations at CES will include:

Velodyne Alpha Prime, utilising Velodyne’s patented surround view technology, this next-generation sensor delivers the highest combined performance specifications for the autonomous mobility industry in one sensor. The Alpha Prime is an unmatched solution in perception, field-of-view and range for autonomous markets including transportation, trucking and robotics.

Velodyne Velarray, a powerful sensor solution to greatly improve automated safety. The small, embeddable form factor enables the sensor to be elegantly integrated into vehicles. The Velarray allows automakers to create superior ADAS and address edge-cases for current approaches, including curvy roads, potholes, intersections, on/off ramps, residential areas and roadways with unclear lane markings.

Velodyne VelaDome, specially designed for high-resolution close-range sensing, the VelaDome’s small form factor is perfect for a variety of mounting and styling options. With an industry-leading 180° x 180° FoV and the ability to detect objects as close as 0.1 m, this revolutionary sensor’ s near-field detection and high-density image satisfies a range of automotive applications, including blind-spot monitoring.

Velodyne Vella, advanced driver assistance software that builds upon the directional view Velarray sensor. Vastly superior to ADAS approaches that utilise the only camera+radar, this solution is revolutionizing capabilities currently on the market, such as lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Velodyne Puck 32MR, a lidar sensor which produces a point cloud with minimal noise and the ability to detect low reflectivity objects at a range of 120 meters. By combining high-resolution 3D perception with a broad vertical field of view, the Puck 32MR accurately detects crosswalks, curbs and obstacles in warehouse aisles for safe and efficient navigation in roadway, commercial and industrial settings.

State-of-the-Art Customer and Partner Autonomous Solutions

Velodyne will present products and presentations from its network of customers and partners that are using lidar technology in a range of innovative solutions including automotive, mapping, on-demand mobility, robotics, security, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and more. These companies include AGC, AutonomouStuff, DeepMap, Emesent, GeoSLAM, Idriverplus, Infinite Computer Solutions, Knightscope, NVIDIA, Paracosm and Tacticaware.

AGC is a world-leading supplier of flat, automotive and display glass, as well as chemicals and other high-tech materials and components. AGC Wideye infrared transparent automotive-grade glass, combined with Velodyne Velarray, provides an ADAS and autonomous solution featuring both seamless design and safer perception.

AutonomouStuff provides the industry’s most advanced organizations with the best products, software and engineering services to enable, accelerate and deploy robotics and autonomy. Customers value the convenience of finding the most cutting-edge modular-based automation software solutions, engineering services, perception, computing, GNSS+INS and interface components from one knowledgeable source.

DeepMap is accelerating safe autonomy by providing the world’s best autonomous mapping and localization solutions. DeepMap delivers the technology necessary for self-driving vehicles to navigate in a complex and unpredictable environment. The company addresses three important elements: precise high-definition mapping, ultra-accurate real-time localization, and the serving infrastructure to support massive global scaling.

Emesent develops innovative autonomy and mapping solutions for the infrastructure and mining industries. Their leading lidar mapping solution, Hovermap, allows drones to map and fly autonomously in challenging GPS-denied environments such as underground mines, delivering revolutionary efficiency, safety and operational insights to their customers.

GeoSLAM is a global market leader in 3D geospatial technology solutions. Its unique “go-anywhere” technology is adaptable to all environments especially spaces that are indoor, underground or difficult to access, providing accurate 3D mapping without the need for GPS.

Idriverplus is one of the first companies in China to launch the commercialization of driverless technology and realize mass production. It uses Velodyne’s lidar sensors in a range of commercial autonomous vehicles including street cleaners, passenger cars and logistics vehicles.

Infinite Computer Solutions is a leading technology company providing digital transformation solutions that can be deployed rapidly per customer needs – a concept it calls Platformization™. Platformization is a new culture of innovation that creates a complete suite of technology solutions for companies across various industries including healthcare, BFSI, media & publishing, telecom & technology and government.

Knightscope is an advanced security technology company based in Silicon Valley. The company builds fully autonomous security robots that deter, detect and report and currently has clients spanning 15 states and four time zones operating 24/7/365. Knightscope’s long-term ambition is to make the United States of America the safest country in the world.

Tapping into more than a decade of AI expertise, NVIDIA DRIVE hardware and software platforms deliver industry-leading performance inside the data center and the vehicle to help automakers, truck makers, tier 1 suppliers and startups make autonomous driving a reality.

Paracosm, a division of Occipital, Inc., develops mobile lidar scanning technology and visualization tools for the documentation of both indoor and outdoor spaces. Paracosm was founded in 2013 in Gainesville, Fla., and became a part of Occipital in 2017.

Tacticaware’s Accur8vision is an expanded perimetric security system. Unlike conventional systems that typically only guard perimeters, A8V guards the entire area of a patrolled space. If the intruder enters the guarded area, the system is notified. The operator will have information based on the exact location, size and speed of the intruder. Even the trajectory of an intruder’s movements will be known.

For more information, please go to the Velodyne CES 2020 webpage: https://velodynelidar.com/ces-2020/. To download Velodyne news releases, photos and videos, please visit https://velodynelidar.com/newsroom/. Media can schedule an executive interview and product demo by contacting Robin Carr at Landis Communications Inc. (415-971-3991; velodyne@landispr.com).

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Security issues grow with transition to smart TVs

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You can’t picture a modern home without smart equipment. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, robot vacuums, and smart TVs won’t surprise anyone these days. For example, around 70% of the TVs being sold worldwide are smart TVs. Although they bring more entertainment, these devices also carry new digital threats. 

Sometimes people forget that smart TVs are as vulnerable to cybercrime as their smartphones and computers. Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN, says that “although smart TVs are connected to the internet and have similar functions to computers, they aren’t equipped with the same security tools, which makes them easy prey for hackers.” 

What’s so scary about your TV getting hacked? As smart TVs gain more features, the amount of your private information they handle increases too. TVs aren’t just for watching movies and shows anymore. Now you can use them for web browsing, streaming video content, gaming, and even shopping online. 

To enjoy your smart TV to the fullest, you need to download various apps and games. These cost money, so you need your credit card details filled in. Putting your financial information, logins, and passwords on your TV makes it an appealing target for hacking. 

According to Daniel Markuson, a smart TV can be used to spy on its users. Hackers can access its camera and microphone through malware, which they can slip into your TV when it is connected to Wi-Fi. They can use footage from your bedroom or living room to blackmail you and your family. By watching your home and listening to your conversations, hackers know what goods you have, where you keep them when you’re away, and what your plans are. 

If you use your smart TV for web browsing, you can infect it with various viruses too, says the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. Like computers, smart TVs run on software, but they don’t have the same strong antivirus and firewall systems installed. Once your TV gets infected, your browsing history, passwords, and other private data become accessible to hackers. And they won’t miss the opportunity to use this information in ransomware attacks. 

Even though smart TVs are vulnerable to cyber threats, Daniel Markuson says there is no need to panic yet. The expert names a few simple principles every smart TV owner should follow to protect their device.

Always update your TV’s software whenever a new version becomes available. The expert says that software updates are crucial for cybersecurity as manufacturers do their best to patch vulnerabilities. Updates often repair security flaws, fix or remove various bugs, add new features, and improve the existing ones. Some TVs install updates automatically by default. With others, you may need to check for updates periodically to make sure your device runs on the latest version. 

Use available security measures such as a VPN. The best practice for any internet-connected device is to install a firewall and use a VPN such as NordVPN. It secures your device and lets you enjoy fast internet access with encryption-powered privacy.

Connect your smart TV to the internet only when needed. It isn’t necessary to have your TV connected to Wi-Fi all the time. To make it less vulnerable to hacker attacks, turn on the Wi-Fi connection only when you are using it.

Download apps from official stores only. Do not install any programs and games from unofficial sources on your smart TV. Make sure that both the app and its provider are reliable. Moreover, if an application asks for access to your data, camera, or microphone that isn’t necessary for its operation, never accept it.

Be careful with personal files and financial data. Shopping online on a big smart TV screen might be fun, but be careful providing your credit card details and other sensitive information this way. Although some manufacturers equip their TV sets with security features, they cannot guarantee safety online. “People who synchronize their smart TVs with their computers to access compatible media content should be especially cautious,” warns Daniel Markuson. The connection between your smart TV and your computer can be a weak link and lead to a data breach.

Use strong Wi-Fi passwords. This practice is the most obvious and the easiest to follow. Create a strong password to protect your Wi-Fi connection at home and don’t share it with any outsiders.

Turn off your TV camera when not in use. Whether it’s a built-in camera or the one connected to a TV via Wi-Fi, turn it off when not using it. If you can’t turn off your camera, use a piece of tape or a sticker over the camera lens to cover it. 

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Tech too complex? It stresses out even the tech-savvy

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Picture by hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr.

Even the savviest members of the tech industry get stressed by common devices that power their everyday lives, according to a recent poll conducted at CES 2020 by Asurion, the global leader in helping people connect, protect and enjoy their tech.

Survey screen by Asurion at CES 2020.

Asurion surveyed nearly 1,400 attendees of CES 2020, the world’s largest and most influential tech industry event, about their relationship with personal tech and their role as tech expert for family and friends. What the tech care company found is that even the tech-savvy, tech DIY’ers and early adopters stress out over some of the most ordinary devices in our hands and homes.

So, what tech tops the list of devices that stress out some of the consumer electronics industry’s tech enthusiasts?

  • Mesh routers and Wi-Fi networks (33%)
  • Phones (26%)
  • Smart home security systems (23%)

And, the tech-related activities that even the tech-savvy dread the most?

  • Troubleshooting a device that worked perfectly yesterday (39%)
  • Device security (27%)
  • Setting up devices (nearly 27%)

Asurion helps nearly 300 million customers worldwide unlock the potential of their tech with a team of over 10,000 Experts who are just a call, click or tap away. The company’s Experts provide ongoing tech support, same-day device repair, and same-day delivery and setup services. They’ll meet customers virtually, in-home, at select partner stores, and in more than 540 uBreakiFix stores across the country or wherever it’s convenient.

“The tech industry just spent four amazing days experiencing and celebrating the latest innovations in the future of tech,” said Teresa May, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Asurion. “What we heard is that even common tech tasks and devices can be challenging. Every day, our Experts help people across the country with their devices – everything from setting up a new phone to troubleshooting streaming issues on their smart TVs. Our CES poll reveals that the industry’s top tech innovators share the same pain points affecting millions of Americans.”

Asurion’s Experts received more than 18.5 million calls and chats from customers seeking tech help last year. And while the No. 1 question this holiday was a strong “How do I activate my new phone?” Asurion Experts also received many questions ranging from “How do I connect to Wi-Fi?” to “Can I sync my smart speakers to play them in tandem?”

And while the tech industry may have tech challenges of their own, they also get tapped by family and friends for help. Eight out of 10 attendees surveyed said their family and friends rely on them to help set up and troubleshoot their tech. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they hesitate to gift tech to their loved ones because the recipient won’t know how to use it, and nearly half (46%) gave pause to gifting tech to family and friends because they didn’t want to be the one to help set it up.

Asurion CES Tech Poll

Consumer Tech Devices That Stress CES Attendees Out the Most

1. Mesh Routers and Wi-Fi Networks (33%)
2. Phones (26%)
3. Smart Home Security Systems (23%)
4. Smart Home Assistants/Hubs (20%)
5. Bluetooth Printers (19%)
6. Smart Home Automation (19%)
7. Laptops/Tablets (18%)
8. Smart TVs (17%)
9. Smart Appliances (14%)
10. Home Energy, Lighting and Switches (13%)

Tech Activities That Stress Out CES Attendees the Most

1. Troubleshooting Tech That Worked Perfectly Yesterday (39%)
2. Security (27%)
3. Setting up a Device (27%)
4. Privacy (23%)
5. Helping Others With Their Tech (20%)
6. Managing or Connecting Multiple Devices (19%)
7. Wi-Fi Connectivity (19%)
8. Paying for Personal Data Storage (18%)
9. Learning a New Operating System (17%)
10. Choosing Which Brand To Purchase (17%)

To learn more about where you can get tech support and protection, visit Asurion.com.

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