Uber Heads in New Direction With Toyota on Self-Driving Cars

Uber Heads in New Direction With Toyota on Self-Driving Cars

Uber is teaming up with Toyota to build self-driving cars for its ride-hailing service after its efforts to do it alone were derailed by a fatal collision and allegations of high-tech theft.

Toyota, based in Japan, is also investing $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,500 crores) in Uber as part of the alliance announced Monday.

The deal aims to combine the best features from the two companies’ work on autonomous technology into cars that will be picking up Uber’s customers by 2021.

By the time that happens, Uber hopes to have completed an initial public offering of stock that will enrich a list of early investors that now includes Toyota. Those investors have been pouring billions of dollars into Uber’s revolutionary ride-hailing service that still hasn’t proven it can make money since its inception nearly a decade ago.

Uber is counting on self-driving cars to help it turn the financial corner by reducing the need to pay human drivers who arrive to pick up passengers in private vehicles summoned through a smartphone app.

By expanding into autonomous vehicles, Uber also hopes to ward off a looming competitive threat from another early investor, Google and its self-driving car spin-off Waymo, which is poised to launch its own ride-hailing service in Arizona before the end of this year.

“Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Meanwhile, Toyota is trying to evolve from a pure automobile maker into a “mobility company,” as are many of its industry peers, including General Motors and Ford in the US. That crusade has prodded decades-old automakers such as Toyota and GM to invest in and partner with technology companies working on self-driving cars while also opening up their own research hubs in Silicon Valley.

Besides allowing them to lean on each other’s respective strengths, Toyota’s deal with San Francisco-based Uber also will help the two companies spread out the cost of designing and building the complex systems, which use computers, cameras, radar and laser sensors to guide the self-driving vehicles.

Uber is turning to Toyota for help in autonomous vehicles five months after one of its self-driving cars ran over and killed a pedestrian crossing a dark street in Tempe, Arizona.

The March 18 crash prompted Uber to temporarily suspend its work on its self-driving car program while conducting a safety evaluation.

Authorities determined the sensors on Uber’s self-driving car sensors spotted the pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, but the vehicle’s automatic-braking function had been disabled in favour of a human backup driver. Tempe police said the driver was distracted and streaming a television show before the crash.

Uber had little choice but to find a self-driving car partner after the collision that killed Herzberg, said Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid.

“It’s going to be tough for them to build consumer trust in whatever it is they’re developing,” he said. “I think that people will have a lot more trust in Toyota to do this the right way, to take due care and make sure everything is properly tested and evaluated.”

Uber’s expansion into self-driving cars suffered another setback last year after Waymo accused it of stealing its technology in an elaborate scheme . The case went through one week of a high-profile trial before Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in stock to settle the allegations without acknowledging wrongdoing.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Govt proposes to replace UGC with new commission

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday unveiled the draft of a bill to replace higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a Higher Education Commission.

The new commission to be established through an Act will not have grant-making authority, will promote reduced inspection system and will focus more on quality outcome at universities and colleges.

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar, who claimed this is a key education reform, said the new body will be more representational. Its board will have senior bureaucrats from the ministries of HRD, skills and entrepreneurship, and science and technology, in a way ending the monopoly of HRD ministry in regulating higher education.

“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of the government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to higher educational institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

He said the new Act will separate grant-making functions, end inspection raj, focus on academic quality and empower the new commission to enforce quality issues.

According to the draft bill, university and college managements found wanting and violating penalty imposed by the commission “shall be liable for prosecution as per procedure laid down under the Criminal Procedure Code and may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years”.

The new body will specify learning outcomes for colleges and universities, prescribe teaching, assessment, research standards.

UGC reform was part of the BJP’s general election manifesto in 2014. To be sure, a similar restructuring was discussed and promoted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government but could not become a law due to lack of support from the parliament.

Over the last four years, the HRD ministry has deliberated on several models like a single regulator for higher education by merging UGC, National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); however, the plans were not taken forward.

“This Act provides for establishing the Higher Education Commission of India repealing the University Grants Commission Act, 1956,” said the draft bill which is open for public feedback till 7 July.

“Whereas for promoting uniform development of quality of education in higher educational institutions, there is a need for creation of a Body that lays down uniform standards, and ensures maintenance of the same through systematic monitoring and promotion, Whereas the existing regulatory structure as reflected by the mandate given to University Grants Commission required redefinition based on the changing priorities of higher education and allow its growth,” underlines the draft bill on need for a change.

The new commission shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and 12 members to be appointed by the central government. The secretary of the commission will act as the member-secretary. Of the 12 members, three members will represent union government namely: secretary of higher education, secretary of ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and secretary, department of science and technology. Besides, there will be an “industry doyen” among the board members.

[“Source-livemint”]

Govt proposes to replace UGC with new commission

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday unveiled the draft of a bill to replace higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a Higher Education Commission.

The new commission to be established through an Act will not have grant-making authority, will promote reduced inspection system and will focus more on quality outcome at universities and colleges.

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar, who claimed this is a key education reform, said the new body will be more representational. Its board will have senior bureaucrats from the ministries of HRD, skills and entrepreneurship, and science and technology, in a way ending the monopoly of HRD ministry in regulating higher education.

“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of the government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to higher educational institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

He said the new Act will separate grant-making functions, end inspection raj, focus on academic quality and empower the new commission to enforce quality issues.

According to the draft bill, university and college managements found wanting and violating penalty imposed by the commission “shall be liable for prosecution as per procedure laid down under the Criminal Procedure Code and may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years”.

The new body will specify learning outcomes for colleges and universities, prescribe teaching, assessment, research standards.

UGC reform was part of the BJP’s general election manifesto in 2014. To be sure, a similar restructuring was discussed and promoted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government but could not become a law due to lack of support from the parliament.

Over the last four years, the HRD ministry has deliberated on several models like a single regulator for higher education by merging UGC, National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); however, the plans were not taken forward.

“This Act provides for establishing the Higher Education Commission of India repealing the University Grants Commission Act, 1956,” said the draft bill which is open for public feedback till 7 July.

“Whereas for promoting uniform development of quality of education in higher educational institutions, there is a need for creation of a Body that lays down uniform standards, and ensures maintenance of the same through systematic monitoring and promotion, Whereas the existing regulatory structure as reflected by the mandate given to University Grants Commission required redefinition based on the changing priorities of higher education and allow its growth,” underlines the draft bill on need for a change.

The new commission shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and 12 members to be appointed by the central government. The secretary of the commission will act as the member-secretary. Of the 12 members, three members will represent union government namely: secretary of higher education, secretary of ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and secretary, department of science and technology. Besides, there will be an “industry doyen” among the board members.

Google Play’s New Subscription Center Starts Rolling Out, Lets Users Easily Manage Their Subscriptions

Google Play's New Subscription Center Starts Rolling Out, Lets Users Easily Manage Their Subscriptions

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google Play is rolling out the new Subscription Center
  • The new center opens each of subscriptions in a full page
  • Developers will get a chance to add deep links

Google Play has started widely rolling out the new Subscription Center that was announced at I/O 2018earlier this year. The newest development is designed to make it easier for Android users to manage their recurring payments from apps and services. Notably, the new hub comes as a one-stop shop to manage subscriptions on Google Play. The search giant is also adding a list of tools to uplift the app listing experience for developers. These are heading to developers using the Google Play Billing Library that received an updated version at I/O.

Among other developments, Google Play has added the redesigned Subscription Center that lets Android users easily view all their subscriptions, including the subscriptions of apps and services, and see their details and status. Each subscription in the main list comes with a larger icon, and the text listed on the Subscription Center is clearer over what was available in the past. Subscriptions listed on the new center also show their monthly/ yearly rate and their next renewal dates.

Unlike the previous version that was overlaying a menu to manage subscriptions, the redesigned Subscription Center opens each of the subscriptions in a new page once tapped. The fresh full page view includes options to let users easily update their primary payment method and add a back up of their existing payment method. Similarly, there is a larger Cancel Subscription button over the original Cancel button. Google has also added a cancellation survey that emerges once a user cancels a subscription. This survey will give developers feedback as to why the user is cancelling the subscription.google play subscription center Google Play Subscription Center

The new Subscription Center also has a “Get Started” link for all those users who are yet to begin with the subscriptions on Google Play. Once tapping the link, the screen shows apps and services through curated and localised collections. Google has also added deep links to direct users to manage their subscriptions directly from the app, over email or via the Web.

For developers, there is an enhanced billing experience through which the deep link can be added as a button or link from anywhere within their app. Google Play Console will also soon receive the ability to let developers easily ask users to accept a price change without having to set up a completely new SKU. Users will be notified about the change via emails, push notifications, and in-app messaging. Google also at the I/O revealed that there will be the ability to upgrade a subscription without changing the user’s expiration date. Additionally, developers will be able to issue a partial refund from the Play Console or refund specific subscription renewals instead of refunding just the one. Developers will also get the option to use their order IDs with the server-side API and use the Refund API with the Google Play Developer API. These features require the Google Play Billing Library version 1.1.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]