Exclusive: Toyota sees new business opportunity in leveraging hybrid tech – Reuters

TOYOTA CITY (Reuters) – The head of Toyota Motor Corp’s electric vehicle (EV) business told Reuters the automaker has received enquiries from more than 50 companies since announcing last week that it would offer free access to patents for EV motors and power control units.
A Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle awaits final inspection at a Toyota Motor Corp. factory in Toyota in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Joe White
The executive also said Toyota aims to use partnerships to cut by as much as half the outlays for expanded electric and hybrid vehicle components production in the United States, China and Japan.
“Until now we have been a tier 1 automaker, but now we also intend to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems,” Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said.
Supplying rivals would greatly expand the scale of production for hardware such as power control units and electric motors that are used in gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, he added.
Toyota last week outlined plans to offer automakers and auto suppliers royalty-free access to nearly 24,000 electrified vehicle technologies patented by the Japanese auto giant.
In an interview on Thursday at Toyota’s global headquarters in Toyota City, Japan, Terashi provided new details of Toyota’s strategy, and its anticipated impact on the company’s investment plans.
By offering to supply rival automakers with parts used in Toyota’s gasoline-sipping hybrid vehicles, the Japanese automaker sees a way to slash capital outlay by roughly half for new plants required to build electric car components for future models, Terashi said.
“We believe that this approach will reduce investment costs significantly,” he said.
Terashi said Toyota projects a surge in demand for electrified vehicles globally as regulators insist new vehicles emit substantially less carbon dioxide, and that working with Toyota would offer others a low-cost path to compliance.
Toyota’s internal goal is to sell 5.5 million electrified, Toyota-brand vehicles annually by 2030, up from about 1.6 million vehicles now, he said.
Already, Terashi said, Toyota believes it could reach the 5.5 million target as early as 2025. The company is working on plans for a new round of capital spending to expand capacity for producing the hardware required.
By offering to supply electric vehicle hardware, and the know-how to integrate it into vehicles, Terashi said Toyota wants to reduce its capital outlay, and create a new source of revenue.
“We anticipate that there will probably be very few automakers who use our patents to develop their own hybrids from scratch, so by using our system and our components, and offering our support, we can work together to develop these cars,” Terashi said.
In the last 20 years, Toyota has managed to dominate the global market for hybrid cars by constantly improving and lowering the cost of the technology it pioneered in the Prius – and keeping this expertise a closely guarded secret.
Toyota’s new business foray underlines the challenges facing even the largest global automakers as they confront some of the most profound technological changes for automobiles in a century.
Toyota is now trying to take advantage of its lead in refining hybrid vehicles, even as it runs behind global rivals such as Volkswagen AG and Tesla Inc in bringing fully electric vehicles to showrooms.
Since pioneering the Prius in 1997, Toyota has sold more than 13 million hybrids, which twin a conventional gasoline engine and electric motor, saving fuel by capturing energy during coasting and breaking and using it to power the motor.
Roughly 15 percent of Toyota’s annual global sales are hybrids, including the Corolla and the RAV4. Last year it sold 1.6 million hybrids globally, more than the 1.3 million all-battery EVs sold by Tesla Inc, Nissan Motor Co and all other automakers combined.
To meet the expected surge in hybrid demand, Terashi said he is planning to increase production capacity for hybrid components mainly by adding capacity at existing plants.
Toyota has initially courted its partner automakers. It already supplies the plug-in hybrid system for Subaru Corp’s Crosstrek SUV crossover model, and last month Toyota announced that it would be a global supplier of hybrid systems to compact car maker Suzuki Motor Co.
Workers install the fuel cell power system in a Toyota Mirai at a Toyota Motor Corp. factory in Toyota in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, Apriil 11, 2019. REUTERS/Joe White
The success of the Prius has helped to brand Toyota as a maker of affordable, reliable green cars and has been key to the automaker’s reputation as a leader in low-emissions vehicle technology.
Terashi brushed off the risk that Toyota could lose this edge by offering its hybrid technology to other automakers, arguing that it held a crucial, 20-year head start over its rivals.
“Even if an automaker is able to develop and produce a car using our systems and parts which complies with emissions regulations, its overall performance would never be the same as ours,” he said.
Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Joseph White; Additional reporting by Maki Shiraki; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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Virginia beats Texas Tech in OT to win 1st NCAA title

Virginia beats Texas Tech in OT to win 1st NCAA title
Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – APRIL 08: Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates the play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half during the 2019 NCAA men’s Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)  [  +   –  ]
Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – APRIL 08: Ty Jerome #11 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates the play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)  [  +   –  ]
Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – APRIL 08: The Virginia Cavaliers bench reacts against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half during the 2019 NCAA men’s Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)  [  +   –  ]
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Now that, Virginia, is the way to close out a season.
Led by De’Andre Hunter and his NBA-ready game, the Cavaliers turned themselves into national champions Monday night, holding off tenacious, ferocious Texas Tech for an 85-77 overtime win — a scintillating victory that came 388 days after a crushing setback that might have sunk a lesser team for years.
But Virginia was better than that.
A season after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 — the one thing that had never happened in a tournament where anything can — the Cavaliers watched a 10-point lead turn into a 3-point deficit before Hunter came to the rescue. The sophomore made the game-tying 3 with 12.1 seconds left in regulation, then made another with just over two minutes left in the extra period to give the Cavs the lead for good.
After going scoreless for the first 18 1/2 minutes, Hunter finished with a career-high 27 points, and if he leaves as a lottery pick — well, what a way to go out.
He helped the Cavs bring home the first NCAA title for a program with a colorful, star-crossed and, now, very winning history.
Nothing came easily — appropriate given where Virginia has been over the last year, with each of its 35 wins, and each of the team’s scant three losses, all punctuated by the reminder that only the end result would serve as the ultimate report card on whether the Cavs could truly shed the baggage of last year.
“I told them, I just want a chance at a title fight one day,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “That’s all I want. … You’re never alone in the hills and the valleys we faced that in the last year.”
Hunter’s key 3 gave Virginia a 75-73 lead, and after the teams traded possessions, Tech guard Davide Moretti scrambled after a loose ball heading onto Virginia’s end of the court. It appeared it would be Texas Tech ball, but a replay showed Moretti’s pinkie finger had barely scraped the ball. Virginia got possession, and worked the ball into Ty Jerome, who got fouled and made two free throws.
Brandone Francis missed a 3 on the other end, and Virginia pulled away — the first time this game felt remotely comfortable, even after Kyle Guy, the free-throw-shooting hero of Saturday night’s win over Auburn, made a 3 to give the Cavs a 10-point lead with 10:22 left in regulation.
Guy is not Virginia’s only clutch free-throw shooter, by the way. The Cavs went 12 for 12 from the line in overtime to ice this game.
For the Red Raiders (31-7), well, what can you say?
The team full of overlooked grinders refused to quit. They fell behind by 10 twice in this game — seemingly too much in a matchup between two legendary defenses — but just kept coming back.
Jarrett Culver, also lottery-pick material, made a spinning left-handed layup over Hunter with 35 seconds left in regulation to put the Red Raiders ahead 66-65, and after Jerome missed a teardrop on the other end, Norense Odiase got fouled and made two free throws to make it 68-65.
The nation’s best defense couldn’t afford to give up a 3, but Jerome skipped a pass to Hunter, who was open on the wing — and spotted up and drained it. Culver missed a 3 with Guy in his face with a second left, and we were headed to overtime.
The last five minutes of regulation and the OT featured several one-on-one matchups between the two NBA-bound stars, and Hunter came out the winner. He finished 8 for 16 after an 0-for-7 start. Culver, who stayed in his hometown of Lubbock to see how far he could take Tech, went 5 for 22 for 15 points, continuing a cold-shooting Final Four; he went 8 for 34 over the weekend.

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Why Chinese tech investors are turning toward the Middle East, Africa · TechNode

Discussing China’s engagement with the Middle East and North Africa is difficult thanks to regional factors such as oil, conflict and strategic trade routes. While there are many opportunities for private sector and technology investment—and the latter has been the most vibrant area thus far—expanding collaboration between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council will not be easy.
MENA tends to struggle ideologically against Western influence, particularly when it comes from the US, so China’s policy of non-interference while still providing funding for development projects seems more attractive than ever. Added to this, many countries within the region do have domestic resources and can leverage China’s funding to create compounding effects.
A growing number of countries have set up bilateral investment funds with China to finance Belt and Road Initiative -related projects. The UAE has established a $10 billion joint strategic investment fund  between Abu Dhabi investment group  Mubadala , China Development Bank and the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The newly established Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank  is intended to accelerate  the volume of bilateral trade and increase non-financial investment stock.
With total internet penetration  surpassing 60% in the Middle East , representing more than 150 million users, Chinese venture capitalists and angel investors are starting to take notice of the region. Unlike some other major BRI regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the MENA region has relatively stable digital and physical infrastructure. The Southeast Asia market is starting to become saturated, so now a number of Chinese VCs are turning their attention to the Middle East.
They have already targeted Israel, investing over $325 million in 2018 . With those successes, Chinese investors are now spreading across the GCC, and more tentatively, North Africa. They are interested in e-commerce, entertainment, leisure, technology, logistics and fintech.
As expected, private sector collaboration between the two regions will depend as much on the focus of government investment as it will on the organic growth of tech hubs in the region. Historically, China’s Middle East trade has focused on the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia and UAE taking the lead. Both Iran and Israel are quickly rising, and Egypt is not far behind.

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There’s a BLACKPINK edition of the Samsung Galaxy A70 – GadgetMatch

By now, subscription services have slowly taken over our monthly budgets. Cable hookups, premium Spotify accounts, Netflix subscriptions, gym memberships — it never stops. Unfortunately, the world is moving from single-purchase models into monthly renewals. Don’t you just wish for a better bang for your buck?
Netflix is currently testing a more flexible pricing scheme in select territories. In India, the streaming company has introduced a mobile-only subscription plan worth half the price of the basic plan. India’s basic plan — one screen, standard definition — costs INR 500 (around US$ 7.23). Meanwhile, the mobile-only plan costs only INR 250 (around US$ 3.61).
In an interview with Variety , a Netflix spokesperson confirmed the possible options “where members can, for example, watch Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and subscribe in shorter increments of time.”
Currently, all of Netflix plans are measured in months. Based on the statement, Netflix is potentially exploring weekly plans, besides a medium-oriented plan.
In terms of location, Netflix has trialed this new pricing scheme in Malaysia and India. Unfortunately, the company has not confirmed other territories for the future. However, given the location of the first two tests, the company will likely implement the scheme in mobile-centric countries in the Asian region. Currently, India is one of Asia’s hotspots for smartphone technology.
Given the trend, the Philippines will likely join India and Malaysia in the future. The country is also a developing hotspot for smartphones. As such, a Netflix mobile-only plan will likely find a lot of supporters in the country. For reference, the mobile-only plan will probably cost PhP 185 (half of the basic PhP 370 plan).
Of course, the only remaining problem will be the country’s abysmal data coverage.

This content was originally published here.

Bill that would make prison phone calls free advances

Chiding the high cost of Connecticut’s prison phone network, lawmakers on Tuesday backed a measure that would allow inmates to make or receive free calls.
Members of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee denounced the state’s method of profiting off prison phone calls. Officials have said Connecticut hauled in $7.7 million from the calls last fiscal year. That cost is borne by the inmates’ family members, several of whom packed a public hearing last month to plead for the bill’s passage.
The legislation approved Tuesday says the corrections commissioner shall provide telephone service for free and may provide supplementary telecommunications services, including video and electronic mail.
“As a mother, if my child was in the system, I would want my child to call. But maybe I’m a single mom and I only have one job and I can’t afford those telephone calls. Those calls are astronomical.”
Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, D-Stamford
“It was fairly shocking and disturbing to many members of this committee to find that our state is at or near the top in the cost of telecom services,” said Rep. Steven Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, a co-chair of the committee. “Our state is an extreme outlier in the amount it charges and correspondingly, in the amount it collects from inmates in our correctional facilities who are trying to call home.”
At the public hearing in March, Brittany Kane, a program coordinator for the  CT Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative,  told lawmakers that a 15-minute call within the state’s prisons costs about $4.
Bianca Tylek, executive director of Worth Rises, a national criminal justice advocacy group, said Connecticut ranks 49th, in front of only Arkansas, in the soaring cost of phone calls.
Since 2012, the state has contracted with Securus Technologies, a national prison telecommunications corporation, which Tylek said “capitalizes off the need for human connection and, understanding the vulnerability of the people subjected to its services, charges exorbitant rates for loved ones to stay in contact.”
Legislators fixated on that point Tuesday, with some saying they would support the bill despite their reservations.
“As a mother, if my child was in the system, I would want my child to call. But maybe I’m a single mom and I only have one job and I can’t afford those telephone calls,” Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, D-Stamford, said. “Those calls are astronomical.”
Republicans on the panel recommended that a closer look be taken at the financial impact to agencies relying on the funding.
“I could envision a worst-case scenario that if we somehow unilaterally terminate this contract, they could say, ‘All right, we’re just going to pull all our telephones from all the correctional facilities.’  We could end up looking at months without inmates having any telecommunications services.”
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield
In written testimony, the state’s Judicial branch said it received more than $5.5 million from the calls last year. The money helps pay for staff and other expenses related to the Probation Transition Program, as well as for a unit that provides enhanced supervision of people who violate their probation.
“We do not have the necessary funding in our budget to make up for this loss of revenue,” officials with the Judicial branch wrote to legislators.
Some committee members suggested reducing, but not eliminating, the cost of prison calls. Others proposed free calls on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
“I have concerns in going from where we are to absolutely no charge whatsoever because I think that’s just too far of a swing,” Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said. “Perhaps we could get more into the middle of the pack regarding where Connecticut is vis-a-vis other states.”
Kissel asked his colleagues to explore the ramifications of abruptly ending the telecommunications contract.
“I could envision a worst-case scenario that if we somehow unilaterally terminate this contract, they could say, ‘All right, we’re just going to pull all our telephones from all the correctional facilities,’” he said. “We could end up looking at months without inmates having any telecommunications services.”
The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee for review.

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B.C. man found guilty of driving while on phone, despite dead battery | CTV News

A man in British Columbia has been found guilty of driving while on his phone, despite the phone’s dead battery and proper storage in a cubby hole. 
On Oct. 12, 2018, Patrick Henry Grzelak was driving home from work in Surrey, B.C., when he was ticketed for using his cellphone because he had earbuds in both his ears.  
The phone’s battery was dead and the phone itself was stored in a cubby hole on the front dashboard, according to the decision in B.C. provincial court, released on Monday.
Justice Elaine Adair ruled that even though Grzelakwas not holding the device, the earbuds should be considered part of the phone when plugged in. 
“In my view, by plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device, such that it included not only the iPhone (proper) but also attached speaker or earbuds,” Adair wrote.
“Since the earbuds were part of the electronic device and since the ear buds were in the defendants ears, it necessarily follows that the defendant was holding the device (or part of the device) in a position in which it could be used.”
Adair also cited a case from 2015 in which the court rejected the notion that a driver holding a phone with a dead battery should not be considered for a ticket.
“Simply holding the device in a position in which it may be used constitutes the offence, even if it is temporarily inoperative,” she wrote.
In British Columbia, electronic devices must only be used while driving in a hands-free manner and the device must be affixed to the car. A violation of the law carries a fine of $368 and four demerit points. Fines can increase to $2,000 for repeat offenders.
A message to Grzelak was not immediately returned.

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