Self driving cars and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

I have talked about self-driving cars before here and I am far from finished. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate driving. I actually enjoy it at times especially when I’m alone, singing along with Awolnation from my Google Play Music, blasting through the car speakers. But, with the proliferation of smartphones, I have increasing distrust of drivers around me. And don’t get me started on when people actually start using their Apple Watches on the road. Apparently, Google also thinks that people do stupid things while driving which is why they removed the steering wheel from their self-driving cars. Apparently, humans can’t be trusted. The Oatmeal aptly illustrated and talked about it here – saying that Google’s self-driving cars are timid (as compared to an average driver). Not exciting perhaps, but safety seldom is.

Image from The Oatmeal

Apart from Google, there are other companies getting into autonomous driving technology. And we may not have to wait for 2020. If you have the deep pockets to afford Tesla’s Model S, you could have it by this summer, as in Summer 2015. In an announcement this week, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said that software updates would give the Model S the “ability to start driving themselves, at least part of the time, in a hands-free mode.” If this is not another evidence of software eating the world, I don’t know what is.

Here are the most relevant news in tech and retail:

  1. Tesla’s latest software updates to the Model S addresses range anxiety and will include autopilot mode
  2. Google news: Google, Intel and TAG Heuer to work on Swiss smartwatch; Google Android Auto is now available in compatible cars in US, UK and Australia
  3. Pinterest valuation at $11B after $367M round
  4. Apple to introduce revamped version of Apple TV this summer
  5. Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group may invest $600M in India’s Snapdeal

In retail:

  1. Amazon expands 1-hour delivery in Miami and Baltimore; Amazon gets FAA approval for drone testing outdoors
  2. Zara owner, Inditex sales growth hits two-year high, will share profits with employees
  3. Other earnings: J. Crew reports quarterly loss as sales fall at namesake brand while Madewell brand grew 33%; H&M reports a better than expected 15% sales rise in February
  4. US Mall operator Macerich rejects unsolicited $16B bid from rival Simon Property Group Inc.
  5. Japanese online retailer Rakuten to buy US e-book company Overdrive for $410M
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