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Eric Adams holds slim lead in NYC mayoral contest after revised count

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A revised count of New York City mayoral ballots published on Wednesday showed Kathryn Garcia even closer to frontrunner Eric Adams than a botched tally on Tuesday that thrust the race into chaos.

The latest tabulation gave Adams, a retired police captain and Brooklyn borough president, 51.1 per cent of the vote, with Garcia, the former head of the sanitation department, at 48.9 per cent, unchanged from the previous count.

Yet the margin between the Democratic contenders shrunk from 15,908 votes to 14,755 votes, with roughly 124,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.

The third place candidate, Maya Wiley, said the election was “still wide open” and demanded that every vote be counted.

The city’s board of elections released the recount on Wednesday evening with an apology after its extraordinary failure a day earlier led to about 135,000 ballots from a test run of the system being erroneously included in the tally. The blunder prompted outrage from the candidates and mockery from New York residents.

The board, no stranger to controversies and criticism, blamed “human error” for the failure.

The election is the first in which the city is using ranked choice voting, giving each voter the option to list up to five candidates, in order of preference, on their ballot. The losing candidates are then eliminated in successive rounds, with their votes reallocated until only two finalists remain.

“Yesterday’s ranked choice voting reporting error was unacceptable and we apologise to the voters and to the campaigns for the confusion,” two members of the board, president Frederic Umane and secretary Miguelina Camilo, said. “Let us be clear: [ranked choice voting] was not the problem, rather a human error that could have been avoided.”

The board insisted that new layers of review had been introduced and that it could report with “certainty” that the latest tabulation was accurate.

Garcia, a pragmatist whose campaign enjoyed a late surge, said: “While we remain confident in our path to victory, we are taking nothing for granted and encourage everyone to patiently wait for over 124,000 absentee ballots to be counted and included in the ranked choice voting tabulation.”

It was the Adams campaign that discovered on Tuesday night that more than 100,000 additional votes appeared to have been added to the count since election night a week earlier.

His campaign noted on Wednesday that he had been ahead on election day, adding: “There are still absentee ballots to be counted that we believe favour Eric — and we are confident we will be the final choice of New Yorkers when every vote is tallied.”

Adams appeared to have a commanding lead on election night, with 31.8 per cent of voters ranking him as their first choice. He was trailed by Wiley, a former lawyer for Mayor Bill de Blasio and the leading progressive candidate, with 22.2 per cent. Garcia was in third place at 19.3 per cent.

But Garcia benefited as ballots went through the ranked choice process. She overtook Wiley by just 347 votes after entrepreneur Andrew Yang was eliminated from the race and his ballots redistributed. Wiley’s elimination then gave Garcia another boost.

The election is regarded as the most consequential in a generation for New York City as it tries to recover from a pandemic that has killed more than 33,000 residents, levelled small businesses and torn at the city’s social fabric.

It is also being closely watched beyond America’s largest city as part of the broader struggle between the Democratic party’s moderate establishment and a rising progressive wing.

Whichever Democratic candidate wins the primary is almost certain to prevail in a general election in November given the city’s overwhelming number of Democratic voters.

Swamp Notes

Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce discuss the biggest themes at the intersection of money and power in US politics every Monday and Friday. Sign up for the newsletter here

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VividQ, which has raised $15M, says it can turn normal screens into holographic displays – TechCrunch

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VividQ, a UK-based deeptech startup with technology for rendering holograms on legacy screens, has raised $15 million to develop its technology for next-generation digital displays and devices. And it’s already lining up manufacturing partners in the US, China and Japan to do it.

The funding round, a Seed extension round, was led by UTokyo IPC, the venture investment arm for the University of Tokyo. It was joined by Foresight Williams Technology (a joint collaboration between Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering), Japanese Miyako Capital, APEX Ventures in Austria, and the R42 Group VC out of Stanford. Previous investors University of Tokyo Edge Capital, Sure Valley Ventures, and Essex Innovation also participated.

The funding will be used to scale VividQ’s HoloLCD technology, which, claims the company, turns consumer-grade screens into holographic displays.

Founded in 2017, VividQ has already worked with ARM, and other partners, including Compound Photonics, Himax Technologies, and iView Displays.

The startup is aiming its technology at Automotive HUD, head-mounted displays (HMDs), and smart glasses with a Computer-Generated Holography that projects “actual 3D images with true depth of field, making displays more natural and immersive for users.” It also says it has discovered a way to turn normal LCD screens into holographic displays.

Darran Milne, Co-Founder and CEO of VividQ, said: “Scenes we know from films, from Iron Man to Star Trek, are becoming closer to reality than ever. At VividQ, we are on a mission to bring holographic displays to the world for the first time. Our solutions help bring innovative display products to the automotive industry, improve AR experiences, and soon will change how we interact with personal devices, such as laptops and mobiles.”

VividQ

VividQ

Mikio Kawahara, Chief Investment Officer of UTokyo IPC, said, “The future of display is holography. The demand for improved 3D images in real-world settings is growing across the whole display industry. VividQ’s products will make the future ambitions of many consumer electronics businesses a reality.”

Hermann Hauser, APEX Ventures’ advisor, and co-founder of Arm added: “Computer-Generated Holography recreates immersive projections that possess the same 3D information as the world around us. VividQ has the potential to change how humans interact with digital information.”

Speaking on a call with me, Milne added: “We have put the technology on gaming laptops that can actually take make use of holographic displays on a standard LCD screen. So you know the image is actually extending out of the screen. We don’t use any optical trickery.”

“When we say holograms, what we mean is a hologram is essentially an instruction set that tells light how to behave. We compute that effect algorithmically and then present that to the eye, so it’s indistinguishable from a real object. It’s entirely natural as well. Your brain and your visual system are unable to distinguish it from something real because you’re literally giving your eyes the same information that reality does, so there’s no trickery in the normal sense,” he said.

If this works, it could certainly be a transformation, and I can see it being married very well with technology like UltraLeap.

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GM: Carlisle’s title ‘pedigree’ what Pacers needed

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INDIANAPOLIS — Rick Carlisle chose the Indiana Pacers for many reasons.

He enjoyed his first two stints in Indianapolis, already had strong relationships with team owner Herb Simon and president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and thought the roster was a good fit for his coaching style.

The Pacers appreciated something else — Carlisle’s championship resume. On Wednesday, nearly a full week after Pritchard hired him, Carlisle mapped out his vision for the Pacers.

“This is my kind of team. As I look at the roster and as I’ve talked to all these guys, I have an even greater feeling that it’s a group of guys I will have a blast working with,” he said. “I like the way they’re talking. We’re going to find a way to play better defense and we’ve got to get back to the playoffs and win in the playoffs.”

For the 61-year-old Carlisle, it’s essentially a homecoming.

Before spending 13 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, going 555-478 and winning the NBA championship in 2010-11, Carlisle had already made two stops in Indiana. First, he was Larry Bird’s assistant coach during the most successful three-year run in franchise history. Then he returned in 2003 for four seasons as head coach, a tenure best remembered for a brawl during a game at Detroit and the ensuing suspensions that took the Pacers out of title contention.

Four times during those seven seasons, Carlisle helped the Pacers reach the Eastern Conference finals.

His new task is to finish what he started.

“We’re in a win-now mode, we’re trying to win and so we identified some traits or characteristics we wanted in a coach,” Pritchard said. “Those characteristics were first of all multiyear experience, we really wanted to have someone who had a championship pedigree and that can be challenging to find all of them in one person. What happened in this year’s search is Rick became available.”

Pritchard’s description is a stark contrast to the search he conducted after firing Nate McMillan last August. Back then, the Pacers wanted a new-age thinker who valued relationships. Nate Bjorkgren got the job in October and was fired in early June after one tumultuous season.

Carlisle is the opposite — a proven winner who does his best work with veteran teams.

So when Carlisle decided to leave Dallas earlier this month, Pritchard contacted his friend. Carlisle’s interest changed everything.

Pritchard scuttled his plans to conduct a far-reaching search and instead focused on Carlisle, wrapping up the deal in less than a week.

Carlisle is expected to sign a contract Monday when he arrives after a short working vacation. He said he has spoken with each player and sounds like he has already making plans for next season.

Carlisle provided an impromptu scouting report Wednesday on almost every Pacers player and explained why he thinks this team, which finished 34-38 and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years, will get back into the postseason and contend for championships.

“My goal with this group is to develop it to a point a where we take great joy in getting good shots on the offensive end and take great joy in playing good defense,” he said before addressing the Domantas SabonisMyles Turner combination. “I think there are ways we can work with their individual games and help them mesh with other guys on the floor. I’ve talked to both of them about it, and they’re open to it. Myles is such an elite rim protector and that’s such an important part of the game if you’re going to get better defensively. And Domas, as I mentioned earlier, can do so many things.”

What has hindered Indiana most recently has been injuries. The Pacers lost T.J. Warren, their top scorer in 2019-20, after just four games and Turner won the NBA blocks title despite missing 24 of the Pacers’ last 25 games.

Carlisle has a history of managing players’ workload when they’re dealing with physical issues.

“If a guy has a significant injury history and you play him the first 12 minutes of the game, that’s tough,” he said. “As a guy becomes fatigued, he becomes more susceptible to injury. So one of the things we did with Dirk Nowitzki the year we won the championship is we started playing him three stretches per half. In that scenario, playing those six- or seven-minute stretches, he never gets gassed and he helps the players around him.”

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Daily Crunch: Insecure server exposes Byju’s students’ names, phone numbers, emails and more – TechCrunch

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To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for June 30, 2021. It’s the last day of the quarter. It’s the last day of the first half of the year. It’s the halfway mark for your New Year’s resolutions. The kickoff of Q3 means that we are heading into yet another earnings season. To close the second quarter, a number of companies went public including Didi and SentinelOne. The TechCrunch take is that we’re seeing some interesting pricing differentials between companies from the United States compared to China. — Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Robinhood fined ahead of IPO: While we count down to Robinhood’s IPO filing, long expected after a strong first quarter, the company was hit with $70 million in fines and penalties today for what the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) described as “widespread and significant harm suffered by customers.”
  • Venture capital drama: TechCrunch’s Natasha Mascarenhas scooped that SF-based Hinge Health booted a board member after they invested in what the company considered to be a competitor. The news is notable by itself, but also underscores how founder-friendly the market truly is today; this might not have happened back when venture capitalists held more power.
  • Byju’s leaks student data: Today’s breach involves a startup called Salesken.ai, an exposed server, and Byju’s user data. Byju’s is an Indian edtech company, and a very highly valued one at that. Salesken provides what TechCrunch describes as “customer relationship technology,” which helps explain why it might have had the other company’s data. No excuse, however.

Startups/VC

Let’s start our startup coverage today with three space-related stories:

Next up, the creator economy:

But that wasn’t all. Here’s more from today’s critical startup coverage:

  • $5M for a LGBTQ+ neobank: While many neobanks are targeting the population at large, others are taking a more targeted approach. Such is the case with Daylight, which wants to provide banking services to the queer community. It joins startups like Fair and others in taking a slightly more niche approach to the popular fintech model.
  • $250M for drone logistics: Remember that startup that was using drones to deliver medical supplies in Africa? It was called Zipline. And it has since expanded its goals, technology, and, today, capital base.
  • And then there was news from Gusto that the HR-tech unicorn is breaking out pieces of its core technology so that other companies can embed payroll services and the like. While this is cool, what we really want is a Gusto S-1.

Demand Curve: 7 ad types that increase click-through rates

One perennial problem inside startups: Because no one on the founding team has significant marketing experience, growth-related efforts are pro forma and generally unlikely to move the needle.

Everyone wants higher click-through rates, but creating ads that “stand out” is a risky strategy, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. This guest post by Demand Curve offers seven strategies for boosting CTR that you can clone and deploy today inside your own startup.

Here’s one: If customers are talking about you online, reach out to ask if you can add a screenshot of their reviews to your advertising. Testimonials are a form of social proof that boost conversions, and they’re particularly effective when used in retargeting ads.

Earlier this week, we ran another post about optimizing email marketing for early-stage startups. We’ll have more expert growth advice coming soon, so stay tuned.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

From tech’s biggest companies, we have three stories for you today. Let’s proceed in descending order of market cap, shall we?

  • Amazon doesn’t want to be regulated: And it may be worried to boot. That’s our takeaway from news that the company is trying to sideline the current FTC chair. Tough, is our first read of the company’s complaints and demands.
  • Instagram wants in on paid following: Following in Big Tweet’s footsteps, Instagram is “building its own version of Twitter’s Super Follow with a feature that would allow online creators to publish ‘exclusive’ content to their Instagram Stories that’s only available to their fans.” So it would be stuff, only available for fans? How interesting. There’s another service that has a similar effort. And Twitter allows for adult content. Instagram does not. Hmm.
  • Twitter makes NFTs, because why not: Want to know when something jumps the shark? When a major social network buys in, right? Major social networks are the boomers of the technology world — extending the analogy, Oracle is a ghost that haunts your attic — meaning that they are inherently uncool. And now Twitter has NFTs. Yay, or something.

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

Illustration montage based on education and knowledge in blue

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

TechCrunch wants you to recommend growth marketers who have expertise in SEO, social, content writing and more! If you’re a growth marketer, pass this survey along to your clients; we’d like to hear about why they loved working with you.

If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this interview Miranda Halpern did with Kathleen Estreich and Emily Kramer, co-founders of MKT1, “MKT1: Developer marketing is what startup marketing should look like.”



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Dispense with the chasm? No way! – TechCrunch

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Jeff Bussgang, a co-founder and general partner at Flybridge Capital, recently wrote an Extra Crunch guest post that argued it is time for a refresh when it comes to the technology adoption life cycle and the chasm. His argument went as follows:

  1. VCs in recent years have drastically underestimated the size of SAMs (serviceable addressable markets) for their startup investments because they were “trained to think only a portion of the SAM is obtainable within any reasonable window of time because of the chasm.”
  2. The chasm is no longer the barrier it once was because businesses have finally understood that software is eating the world.
  3. As a result, the early majority has joined up with the innovators and early adopters to create an expanded early market. Effectively, they have defected from the mainstream market to cross the chasm in the other direction, leaving only the late majority and the laggards on the other side.
  4. That is why we now are seeing multiple instances of very large high-growth markets that appear to have no limit to their upside. There is no chasm to cross until much later in the life cycle, and it isn’t worth much effort to cross it then.

Now, I agree with Jeff that we are seeing remarkable growth in technology adoption at levels that would have astonished investors from prior decades. In particular, I agree with him when he says:

The pandemic helped accelerate a global appreciation that digital innovation was no longer a luxury but a necessity. As such, companies could no longer wait around for new innovations to cross the chasm. Instead, everyone had to embrace change or be exposed to an existential competitive disadvantage.

But this is crossing the chasm! Pragmatic customers are being forced to adopt because they are under duress. It is not that they buy into the vision of software eating the world. It is because their very own lunches are being eaten. The pandemic created a flotilla of chasm-crossings because it unleashed a very real set of existential threats.

The key here is to understand the difference between two buying decision processes, one governed by visionaries and technology enthusiasts (the early adopters and innovators), the other by pragmatists (the early majority). The early group makes their decisions based on their own analyses. They do not look to others for corroborative support. Pragmatists do. Indeed, word-of-mouth endorsements are by far the most impactful input not only about what to buy and when but also from whom.

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Sources: No structural damage to Giannis’ knee

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There is no structural damage to Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s left knee after his awkward landing during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe on Wednesday.

The ligaments in Antetokounmpo’s knee are sound, and a timetable for his return is unclear, sources told ESPN.

Antetokounmpo left Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter with what the Bucks called a hyperextended knee. He had jumped up to contest an alley-oop from John Collins to Clint Capela, and Antetokounmpo landed awkwardly on his left leg, his knee buckling.

He immediately fell to the floor and stayed down on the ground for several minutes — with Bucks and Hawks players and coaches surrounding him — before sitting up. The two-time MVP was helped to his feet by his brother and teammate, Thanasis, and walked gingerly off the court with his help. Television monitors showed Antetokounmpo walking back to the locker room without assistance, but he had a significant limp.

Atlanta won Game 4 in a 110-88 rout to even the series at 2-2.

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US and Japan conduct war games amid rising China-Taiwan tensions

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The US and Japan have been conducting war games and joint military exercises in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan, amid escalating concern over the Chinese military’s assertive activity.

US and Japanese military officials began serious planning for a possible conflict in the final year of the Trump administration, according to six people who requested anonymity. The activity includes top-secret tabletop war games and joint exercises in the South China and East China seas.

Shinzo Abe, then Japanese prime minister, in 2019 decided to significantly expand military planning because of the Chinese threat to Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. This work has continued under the administrations of Joe Biden and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga, according to three of the people with knowledge of the matter.

The US and Japan have become alarmed as China has flown more fighter jets and bombers into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, including a record 28 fighters on June 15. The Chinese navy, air force and coast guard have also become increasingly active around the Senkaku, which are administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.

China insists that it wants to unify Taiwan with the mainland. While it says it wants peaceful unification, it has not ruled out the use of force to seize control of Taiwan.

“In many ways, the People’s Liberation Army drove the US and Japan together and toward new thinking on Taiwan,” said Randy Schriver, who served as the top Pentagon official for Asia until the end of 2019. “Assertiveness around the Senkaku and Taiwan at the same time drives home the issue of proximity.”

The US has long wanted Japan, a mutual defence treaty ally, to conduct more joint military planning, but Japan was constrained by its postwar pacifist constitution. That obstacle was eased, but not eliminated, when the Abe government in 2015 reinterpreted the constitution to allow Japan to defend allies that came under attack.

As the two allies started to bolster their joint planning, Japan asked the US to share its Taiwan war plan, but the Pentagon demurred because it wanted to focus on boosting planning between the two countries in phases. One former US official said the eventual goal was for the two allies to create an integrated war plan for Taiwan.

Two of the six people said the US military and Japanese self-defence forces had conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea that had been couched as disaster relief training. They have also held more military exercises around the Senkaku, which also helps prepare for any conflict with China over Taiwan, which is just 350km west of the islands.

“Some of the activities we’re training on are highly fungible,” said Schriver, adding that exercises such as an amphibious landing in a “disaster relief scenario” would be “directly applicable” to any conflict around the Senkaku or the Taiwan Strait.

Mark Montgomery, a retired admiral who commanded the USS George Washington aircraft carrier strike group and was director of operations at Indo-Pacific command between 2014 and 2017, said the Pentagon needed a “comprehensive understanding” of the support Japan could provide in the case of a conflict.

Senkaku Islands
Tension has risen over the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan © Kyodo via Reuters

“As a crisis grows and Japan is potentially drawn in as a participant, the US will need to understand how Japan could support or enable US operations,” he added.

US and Japanese diplomats are examining the legal issues related to any joint military action, including access to bases and the kind of logistical support Japan could provide US forces engaged in a conflict with China.

In the event of a war over Taiwan, the US would rely on air bases in Japan. But that raises the odds that Tokyo would be dragged into the conflict, particularly if China tried to destroy the bases in an effort to hobble the US.

One official said the US and Japan needed to urgently create a trilateral sharing mechanism with Taiwan for information about Chinese naval and air force movements, especially around the Miyako Strait to the east of Taiwan which is covered by Japanese sensors from the north-east and Taiwanese sensors from the south-west.

“Some of that kind of data is shared between Taiwan and the US, and between Japan and the US. But we have no direct sharing trilaterally,” the official said. “You cannot start setting that up in the middle of a contingency. You have to do it now.”

Another official said the three nations had taken a small but important step in 2017 by agreeing to share military aircraft codes to help identify friendly aircraft.

Taiwanese officials and US and Japanese sources said co-operation had since risen significantly, driven by the growing awareness in Japan about the importance of Taiwan — which is 110km from Yonaguni, the westernmost island in the Japanese archipelago — for its own security.

“The Japanese government has increasingly recognised, and even acknowledges publicly, that the defence of Taiwan equates to the defence of Japan,” said Heino Klinck, a former top Pentagon official who oversaw military relations with Japan and Taiwan from late 2019 until the end of the Trump administration.

The Japanese defence ministry said Tokyo and Washington continued to update their joint planning following the 2015 revision of guidelines that underpin the military alliance, but declined to provide any detail. The Pentagon did not comment.

Follow Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille on Twitter

Additional reporting by Robin Harding in Tokyo



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Sources: Man Utd to sign Sancho from BVB for £72.9m

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Manchester United have agreed a fee in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of Jadon Sancho, sources have told ESPN.

United are set to pay £72.9 million ($101m) for the England winger’s move, according to sources. There are no add-ons as part of the deal.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)

Talks with Sancho’s representatives, which began last summer, have gone smoothly and the 21-year-old will undergo a medical before signing a contract which will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2026.

Sancho is currently on international duty with England at Euro 2020 and will continue to prepare for Saturday’s quarterfinal against Ukraine in Rome.

Euro 2020: News and features | Fixtures and bracket | Standings | Squads | Live on ESPN | VAR watch | Pick ’em

United are not expected to officially announce the deal until after his involvement in the tournament is over. Among other things, there are quarantine issues surrounding him leaving the England training bubble then rejoining it, which he would need to do to have a medical and sign his contract.

But Sancho is expected to be part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad in time for the start of the Premier League season on Aug. 14.

It brings to an end a transfer saga that has gone on for nearly 18 months. Sancho was Solskjaer’s top transfer target last summer, and although Sancho expressed his desire to move, United could not agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund.

Negotiations between the two clubs have progressed more quickly this time around.

Sancho has spent four years in Germany after arriving from Manchester City in 2017. He scored 50 goals in 137 games and was named in the Bundesliga team of the year in both 2019 and 2020. Despite coming through City’s academy, he is yet to make a Premier League appearance.

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SpaceX delivers 88 satellites to orbit, lands first stage onshore for first time in 2021 – TechCrunch

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SpaceX launched 85 satellites for external customers, as well as three Starlink satellites, to orbit on Tuesday, marking the second successful launch of the company’s dedicated rideshare missions. While the Transporter-2 mission will deliver fewer objects to space than the first rideshare mission (the Transporter-1 sent up 143 satellites, a new record), it launched more mass to orbit overall.

The Transporter launches are part of the company’s rideshare business model. Announced in 2019, these missions split up the rocket’s payload capacity amongst multiple customers, resulting in lower costs for each – many of whom are smaller companies that may find the expenses associated with getting to orbit otherwise impossible to pay. SpaceX still ends up with a full launch and the revenue to operate it.

The Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at around 2:32 PM. It’s the twentieth Falcon 9 launch in 2021 and the first launch this year that featured the first stage returning to land onshore, rather than on a drone ship at sea. The first stage booster separated at around 2:34 PM and returned to Cape Canaveral and successfully landed around 8 minutes after liftoff. This was its eighth flight.

The mission includes nearly ten customers, some of whom are launch service providers who are themselves organizing customer payloads – like Spaceflight Inc., who is launching 36 small satellites on behalf of 14 customers, as well as its electric propulsion vehicle dubbed Sherpa-LTE. It also includes the first satellite launch for space intelligence company Umbra and Loft Orbital’s “rideshare” satellites, YAM-2 and YAM-3, each of which are equipped with 5 independent sensors for separate customers.

As this was SpaceX’s twentieth launch this year (and 127th mission to date), it’s pretty safe to assume that the company will far surpass last year’s record of 26 launches.

This was the second attempt of the Transporter-2 launch, which was originally scheduled for June 29. That launch was halted at T-11 seconds after a rotary aircraft entered the flight zone. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk called the regulatory system broken in response.



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Volvo Cars sets the tone for its next-gen vehicles with ‘Concept Recharge’ EV – TechCrunch

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Volvo Cars wants to completely electrify its lineup by 2030 and on Wednesday offered a glimpse into how it plans to get there and what its next generation of vehicles might look like.

But it’s not going to do it alone. Although the automaker plans on developing its own in-car operating system and other parts of the car, Volvo Cars detailed how it plans to work with partners like Northvolt, Google and Luminar to build out its future vehicles lineup. It also unveiled the first images of “Concept Recharge,” a concept EV that has flat floors, two interior screens and rear “suicide doors” that open from the middle of the vehicle.

Volvo Concept Recharge. Image Credits: Volvo Cars

The Concept Recharge is also outfitted with Luminar sensors, in line with an announcement earlier this month that Volvo Cars’ forthcoming flagship electric SUV will be equipped with Luminar’s technology stack as standard.

On the battery front, Volvo Cars is working with Swedish battery developer Northvolt on a pack that it says will enable a range of up to around 621 miles — a massive achievement of energy density, should Northvolt pull it off. The two companies are aiming to build a gigafactory in Europe by 2026 in a new 50-50 joint venture, with a potential annual capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours. Volvo Cars will also source 15 GWh of batteries from Northvolt’s battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden from 2024.

Future Volvo Cars vehicles will be capable of bidirectional charging, a capability that can turn the EV into a mobile generator or a mini power plant, offloading excess energy to the electricity grid.

Volvo said its OS, VolvoCars.OS, will act as an “umbrella system” for underlying operating systems, including its infotainment system led by Google and tech from Linux, QNX and AUTOSAR. While the vehicle will contain up to 100 electrical control units, these will run on a core computing system made up of three main computers being developed in partnership with Nvidia.

The automaker also discussed in more detail its plans to equip its flagship electric SUV with Luminar’s sensor suite and technology from Volvo’s software arm Zenseact. Executives shirked questions asking to specify the level of the autonomous system — referring to the scale developed by the Society of Automobile Engineers to measure the level of autonomy in a driving system — saying that they preferred to discuss the forthcoming AV driving system in terms of supervised or unsupervised. Under those terms, Volvo said the two modes — Cruise and Ride— would require driver supervision and no supervision, respectively. It said it would gradually launch unsupervised functionality at some point in the future.

The forthcoming system will generate tons of driving data from customers, and Volvo doesn’t intend on it to go to waste. The automaker said it aims to build a data factory to process information it collects from customers that use its autonomous drive safety features (with their consent). It would use this data to make improvements on the system, which it would push to vehicles via over-the-air updates.

“We need to transform this company from just a premium conventional company. We need to transform it into a leader in the new premium electric segment, which is growing very fast,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. “We need to understand batteries in the same way we understand the combustion engine.”

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