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Jaguar and Gorillaz want YOU, via their app

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Jaguar Land Rover and Gorillaz are working together to recruit the next generation of electronics and software engineering talent, with a code-breaking challenge found in the virtual band’s app.

The best performers will be fast-tracked through the recruitment process, helping to meet Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to employ thousands of bright new talents over the next year. It’s a major change in the way the business looks for candidates, aiming to tackle the engineering skills gap and inspire and attract a diverse range of talent and new thinking.

“Can you crack the code? Put your skills to the test,” said Noodle, the guitarist for Gorillaz and a Jaguar Land Rover ambassador. “Hey, maybe you might land yourself *the* most BADASS job you can imagine. Dare to win!”

The Gorillaz App today launches a new Jaguar Land Rover recruitment area in the form of a 360-environment situated in the garage of the band’s home which also features all the iconic vehicles from Gorillaz past. Here, applicants can explore and take a two-part challenge. The first part, designed to educate users about the benefits of electric vehicles, involves assembling the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, Jaguar’s first all-electric five-seater sports car. Users can learn about the vehicle’s performance, battery technology, space, charging and range.

The second and more demanding part of the game, developed to engage and recruit budding electronic wizards and coders, will focus on cracking code – there are more than 4,000 combinations, as well as cipher in an alternate reality format. The challenges put a stronger focus on skills and talents than on qualifications.

“As the automotive industry transforms over the next decade, fuelled by software innovation, we have to attract the best talent and that requires a radical rethink of how we recruit,” said Alex Heslop, Head of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover. “Here we’ve found an engaging way to recruit a diverse talent pool in software systems, cyber systems, app development and graphics performance. It will be the first of its kind.”

The Jaguar I-TYPE, Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s all-electric Formula E racecar, appears in the garage. Users can click on a poster of Noodle with the I-TYPE and ‘FanBoost’ which enables them to vote for the @JaguarRacing team drivers to gain a power boost during their next race or to follow @JaguarRacing on Twitter.

The project follows on from Jaguar Land Rover’s STEM initiative with Gorillaz in 2016, where founder member and female guitarist, Noodle, became Jaguar’s Formula E Racing Ambassador. As the UK’s leading investor in research and development and a leading global automotive manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover is putting Noodle at the forefront of its campaign to address the skills gap that manufacturing worldwide is facing.

The company has used its debut season in Formula E to promote Jaguar Land Rover’s thought-leadership position as a business that is shaping the future to solve the technology innovation and skills gap challenges.

Interested applicants can download the Gorillaz App now:

Gorillaz App on iTunes App Store for iPhones

Gorillaz App on Google Play for Android phones.

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Project Bloodhound saved

The British project to break the world landspeed record at a site in the Northern Cape has been saved by a new backer, after it went into bankruptcy proceedings in October.

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Two weeks ago,  and two months after entering voluntary administration, the Bloodhound Programme Limited announced it was shutting down. This week it announced that its assets, including the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC), had been acquired by an enthusiastic – and wealthy – supporter.

“We are absolutely delighted that on Monday 17th December, the business and assets were bought, allowing the Project to continue,” the team said in a statement.

“The acquisition was made by Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Ian Warhurst. Ian is a mechanical engineer by training, with a strong background in managing a highly successful business in the automotive engineering sector, so he will bring a lot of expertise to the Project.”

Warhurst and his family, says the team, have been enthusiastic Bloodhound supporters for many years, and this inspired his new involvement with the Project.

“I am delighted to have been able to safeguard the business and assets preventing the project breakup,” he said. “I know how important it is to inspire young people about science, technology, engineering and maths, and I want to ensure Bloodhound can continue doing that into the future.

“It’s clear how much this unique British project means to people and I have been overwhelmed by the messages of thanks I have received in the last few days.”

The record attempt was due to be made late next year at Hakskeen Pan in the Kalahari Desert, where retired pilot Andy Green planned to beat the 1228km/h land-speed record he set in the United States in 1997. The target is for Bloodhound to become the first car to reach 1000mph (1610km/h). A track 19km long and 500 metres wide has been prepared, with members of the local community hired to clear 16 000 tons of rock and stone to smooth the surface.

The team said in its announcement this week: “Although it has been a frustrating few months for Bloodhound, we are thrilled that Ian has saved Bloodhound SSC from closure for the country and the many supporters around the world who have been inspired by the Project. We now have a lot of planning to do for 2019 and beyond.”

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Motor Racing meets Machine Learning

The futuristic car technology of tomorrow is being built today in both racing cars and
toys, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The car of tomorrow, most of us imagine, is being built by the great automobile manufacturers of the world. More and more, however, we are seeing information technology companies joining the race to power the autonomous vehicle future.

Last year, chip-maker Intel paid $15.3-billion to acquire Israeli company Mobileye, a leader in computer vision for autonomous driving technology. Google’s autonomous taxi division, Waymo, has been valued at $45-billion.

Now there’s a new name to add to the roster of technology giants driving the future.

DeepRacer on the inside

Amazon Web Services, the world’s biggest cloud computing service and a subsidiary of Amazon.com,  last month unveiled a scale model autonomous racing car for developers to build new artificial intelligence applications. Almost in the same breath, at its annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, it showcased the work being done with machine learning in Formula 1 racing.

AWS DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale fully autonomous race car, designed to incorporate the features and behaviour of a full-sized vehicle. It boasts all-wheel drive, monster truck tires, an HD video camera, and on-board computing power. In short, everything a kid would want of a self-driving toy car.

But then, it also adds everything a developer would need to make the car autonomous in ways that, for now, can only be imagined. It uses a new form of machine learning (ML), the technology that allows computer systems to improve their functions progressively as they receive feedback from their activities. ML is at the heart of artificial intelligence (AI), and will be core to autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

AWS has taken ML a step further, with an approach called reinforcement learning. This allows for quicker development of ML models and applications, and DeepRacer is designed to allow developers to experiment with and hone their skill in this area. It is built on top of another AWS platform, called Amazon SageMaker, which enables developers and data scientists to build, train, and deploy machine learning quickly and easily.

Along with DeepRacer, AWS also announced the DeepRacer League, the world’s first global autonomous racing league, open to anyone who orders the scale model from AWS.

DeepRacer on the outside

As if to prove that DeepRacer is not just a quirky entry into the world of motor racing, AWS also showcased the work it is doing with the Formula One Group. Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director of Motor Sports, joined AWS CEO Andy Jassy during the keynote address at the re:Invent conference, to demonstrate how motor racing meets machine learning.

“More than a million data points a second are transmitted between car and team during a Formula 1 race,” he said. “From this data, we can make predictions about what we expect to happen in a wheel-to-wheel situation, overtaking advantage, and pit stop advantage. ML can help us apply a proper analysis of a situation, and also bring it to fans.

“Formula 1 is a complete team contest. If you look at a video of tyre-changing in a pit stop – it takes 1.6 seconds to change four wheels and tyres – blink and you will miss it. Imagine the training that goes into it? It’s also a contest of innovative minds.”

AWS CEO Andy Jassy unveils DeepRacer

Formula 1 racing has more than 500 million global fans and generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2017. As a result, there are massive demands on performance, analysis and information. 

During a race, up to 120 sensors on each car generate up to 3GB of data and 1 500 data points – every second. It is impossible to analyse this data on the fly without an ML platform like Amazon SageMaker. It has a further advantage: the data scientists are able to incorporate 65 years of historical race data to compare performance, make predictions, and provide insights into the teams’ and drivers’ split-second decisions and strategies.

This means Formula 1 can pinpoint how a driver is performing and whether or not drivers have pushed themselves over the limit.

“By leveraging Amazon SageMaker and AWS’s machine-learning services, we are able to deliver these powerful insights and predictions to fans in real time,” said Pete Samara, director of innovation and digital technology at Formula 1.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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