Issue 1238 - Wednesday 28th October, 2020

In Today's Issue

The News

Waymo & Damiler sign agreement to make a L4 autonomous semi-trailer at some point, one day

Daimler, one of the largest truck manufacturers in the world (Freightliner, Fuso, Western Star & Mercedes-Benz) has "signed a broad, global, strategic partnership to deploy autonomous SAE L4 technology" with Waymo - Google's robocar outfit. Daimler clarified to The Verge that they will develop a "customized Freightliner Cascadia truck chassis with redundant systems for Waymo, setting the industry standard in reliability and safety. This chassis will enable the integration of the Waymo Driver with its custom, scalable combination of hardware, software, and compute". They've specified they're going for level 4 autonomy, which according to the SAE would allow the truck's technology to "drive the vehicle under limited conditions and will not operate unless all required conditions are met". You'd reckon that driving on a highway, exiting the highway and pulling in to a designated, well mapped depot with sensors built-in to the depot's buildings would be the low hanging fruit for autonomous driving. There's no time-line nor a price-point for Daimler and Waymo's baby to hit the road.

ACMA wants strong regulation powers over dodgy telcos & Home Affairs wants to take over hacked networks

ACMA has cracked the shits with telcos that repeatedly breach industry codes and wants the government to give it the power to force these crap telcos to "exit the market". ACMA said telecommunications is the only essential service industry where operators don't have to register to operate. Water, electricity, gas - those are essential and heavily regulated. ACMA wants a similar level of regulation for phones and internet, which let's be honest, are an essential service now. Meanwhile, the department of Home Affairs wants the ability to "take control of a company operating critical infrastructure in the face of an imminent cyber threat or incident that could significantly impact Australia's economy, security or sovereignty", to "allow government to assist entities take technical action to defend and protect their networks and systems, and provide advice on mitigating damage, restoring services and remediation". Reading between the lines - if a big company gets hacked, the ASD can step in and and try clean up the mess left behind by years of management's under-investment in corporate IT systems.

The creators of FPGA technology, Xilinix, are now owned by AMD in return for US$35b of AMD stock

AMD has given up US$35b of its shares to acquire Xilinx, "an American technology company that develops highly flexible and adaptive processing platforms. The company invented the field-programmable gate array, programmable system-on-chips, and the adaptive compute acceleration platform". According to Bloomberg, this helps AMD compete against Intel in the valuable data centre market with Xilinx's FPGAs used in networking gear and accelerator chips that cloud companies are gobbling up rapidly. AMD's EPYC server CPUs are very competitive against Intel's Xeons lately (and are only getting better) so it makes sense for AMD to want to play harder in that part of the market. Buying Xilinx is also a bit of a talent play for AMD, as Xilinx's engineers are pretty shit-hot and could spread some innovation around leveraging AMD's larger access to capital. Oh by the way, AMD is set to announce their latest GPUs tomorrow. Nothing at all to do with Xilinx, but probably more relevant to 99% of the people reading this.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Please enjoy this video of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, digitised by the National Archives of Australia

The National Archives of Australia has begun digitising the "Video Show", produced in the 80s by the Overseas Telecommunications Commission. It was a monthly program produced by the OTC, which was "charged with responsibility for all international telecommunications services into, through and out of Australia" until 1992, acting as Australia's nationalised international telecommunications provider until it got subsumed into Telecom/Telstra. The video has scenes from the opening of the Melbourne Satellite Station, a look at OTC's Sydney exhibition to educate people in the latest in global communications and the Safety of Life at Sea radio monitoring network. I loved every second of its 22 minutes and can't wait for more of these videos to appear online as the NAA digitises them. There's 3 more episodes of Video Show on their YouTube channel.


The End

📻 Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad - The Rentals

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