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Mercedes and NVIDIA team up on autonomous cars you can actually buy

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Mercedes-Benz will use NVIDIA’s DRIVE platform for its driver-assistance and autonomy in future vehicles, the automaker has announced today, including powering cars that can drive themselves from address to address on regular routes. The deal will see the first new Mercedes using NVIDIA DRIVE from 2024, as the German automaker revamps its fleet.

From that point, DRIVE will be standard – along with the new software-defined architecture that Mercedes is building – across all future vehicles. There’ll be a variety of functionality unlocked, but the most high-profile is likely to be an automated driving feature.

That, Mercedes says, will offer up to Level 4 autonomous support, though exactly when and where such technology will be offered will depend on a number of factors. For example, one feature Mercedes is promising is “the ability to automate driving of regular routes from address to address.” Other features will include self-parking and Level 3 hands-free assistance on select roads.

It’s not to say that all of the Mercedes vehicles to feature DRIVE from 2024 will automatically be able to do all of that. One of the key aspects of the new platform is that it will support regular over-the-air upgrades, which will also Mercedes and NVIDIA to deploy features as they’re readied – and as the regulatory environment makes them appropriate to release publicly.

That’ll include more than just driver-assistance, though active safety features will be one key area of focus. Mercedes-Benz is also looking to offer software apps and subscription services for convenience through an in-car marketplace. We’ve seen some automakers try such an approach in the past with offering navigation upgrades for cars originally purchased without that option, but DRIVE’s deep integration into the architecture of the vehicles should allow for much more complex functionality to be unlocked after it has been driven off the dealership forecourt.

“This new platform will become an efficient, centralized and software-defined system in our future Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz AG, said of the partnership. “NVIDIA’s AI computing architecture will help us streamline our journey towards autonomous driving. These new capabilities and upgrades will be downloaded from the cloud, improving safety, increasing value and extending the joy of ownership for all Mercedes-Benz customers.”

NVIDIA DRIVE actually encompasses a number of technologies from the chip-maker. It will use the NVIDIA Orin system-on-chip (SoC), itself using the NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture. In addition to the hardware there’s a full system software stack, focused on autonomous driving and AI.

The news of the partnership comes shortly after Mercedes and BMW announced they were ending their short-lived collaboration on a shared self-driving platform. Announced just last year, the work had been intended to deliver a common system for autonomous vehicles that would be safer and more cost-effective to release commercially. Problem was, the two automakers realized after their respective teams got together, it was going to be too expensive to do properly.

BMW and Mercedes left the door open to resuming the project at some point in the future, but it was clear that the breakup was all about paving the way for individual deals much like this one between Mercedes and NVIDIA. Though it will take some time to see the first fruits of the DRIVE-based technology on the road, Mercedes is expected to launch an all-new S Class luxury sedan imminently, complete with advanced driver-assistance technologies.

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Today’s Wordle Answer #382 – July 6, 2022 Solution And Hints

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The answer to Wordle’s July 6, 2022, edition is the word fluff. When it comes to an etymological analysis, there isn’t much meat to the puzzle here. A close predecessor is the word floow (also spelled as flue), which refers to a wooly substance. There’s a Flemish term called vluwe and a French word velu meaning hairy or shaggy that are said to be earlier variants of the word. Some say that the world fluff is an imitative modification of the word floow, which describes the act of puffing a light substance. Another theory is that fluff came out from the merger of flue and puff.

There’s also a movie that was released in 2020 by the name “Fluff,” but you haven’t likely seen it unless names like John Pallotta, Wesley Green, Brian Anthony Wilson, and Gina Martino ring a bell. Fluff sandwich is also a delicacy in the New England region; it gets its name from the light filling that is predominantly marshmallow with jelly or peanut butter, and is colloquially referred to as the fluffernutter.

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Samsung’s Foldable Phones Could Get Much Cheaper In The Near Future

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During the restructuring of its smartphone branding scheme, Samsung adopted the A letter for its mid-range phones, reserving M for entry-level devices (spoiler: the three phone families now spell S, A, M). The Galaxy A series usually has some resemblance to flagship Galaxy S phones, particularly in design, but often skimps out on other hardware components like the processor, memory, and cameras. According to an insider source (via ETnews), Samsung will be using the same tactic to bring down its foldable prices to a more agreeable level.

The report doesn’t say which corners will allegedly be cut to reach that lower price point, though it does mention only having core functions installed. If there is one thing that Samsung can’t skimp on, however, it is the durability of the foldable phone and the materials it will use. If a cheap foldable phone with an already fragile display is easily damaged, it will only serve to scare potential buyers away rather than increase confidence in the product line.

Samsung will reportedly target a price of 1 million KRW, which is roughly $770 USD and therefore considerably cheaper than even the Galaxy Z Flip 3 model’s price tag. This won’t be happening anytime soon, though, as the pieces are unlikely to fall into place until 2024 — presumably when foldable displays themselves have become less expensive to make. Samsung’s timeline might also be influenced by Apple’s foldable plans, as the Korean company will most likely want to have its brand well-established in that market before the first foldable iPhone or iPad launch.

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This New HTC Tablet Is A Missed Opportunity

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The fact that the HTC A101 is an entry-level budget tablet is evident from the design itself. Take, for example, its massive bezels, making it seem a bit dated. The display used on this tablet measures 10.1-inches across and has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. While the HTC A101 gets a respectable 8GB of RAM, the processor used here is the UNISOC T618 chip. Designed by UNISOC, this SoC is an entry-level chipset that is based on a 12nm manufacturing process. Given its credentials, do not expect blazing fast performance on this tablet. The model features 128GB of onboard storage and packs the option to add a microSD card, as well.

The camera setup on the A101 includes a 12MP primary rear-facing camera and a 2MP ultrawide camera. HTC has also thrown in a decent 5MP front-facing camera. Powering the tablet is a 7,000 mAh battery that does not support fast charging. On the software side, this tablet will ship with Android 11 at launch. Clearly, the HTC A101 is an entry-level device that targets people who do not have a huge amount of money to splurge on a tablet. 

Unfortunately for HTC, the advent of fiercely competitive Chinese smartphone brands has blurred the lines between mid-tier and low-end devices. This means that consumers of late have been getting really good-looking, well-specced products for low prices. With the HTC A101 tablet, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Our perception of the product may change in case HTC decides to price the device competitively, but unfortunately, the company has yet to reveal this rather crucial piece of information.

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