India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-12 blasts off from Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, about 100 km (62 miles) north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, April 20, 2009. REUTERS/Babu More CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A Colorado-based startup developing a satellite network to predict weather using radio signals will launch its first two spacecraft on an Indian rocket, the company said on Thursday. Privately owned PlanetiQ signed a contract with Antrix Corp Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization, to launch the pair of satellites in late 2016. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. PlanetiQ plans to build and operate a constellation of 12 miniature satellites that monitor GPS and other navigational radio signals passing through Earth’s atmosphere. The signals change as they travel through different temperatures, pressures and levels of humidity, and the data can be incorporated into computer programs that predict local and regional weather and monitor changes in the global climate. PlanetiQ is among a handful of companies looking to exploit a growing demand for weather data for commercial and government use. With the 12 satellites in orbit, PlanetiQ expects to measure the atmosphere about 34,000 times a day worldwide at altitudes between 650 feet (200 meters) above ground all the way into the ionosphere. In 2013, agrochemical company Monsanto paid nearly $1 billion for the Climate Corporation, which produces apps of field-level weather, soil and crop data. Planet iQ's satellites will be positioned about 497 miles (800 km) above the planet and inclined about 98 degrees relative north and south of the equator. From that vantage point, PlanetiQ satellites will track radio signals from the U.S. Global Positioning System, Russia’s Glasnoss, China’s BeiDou and Europe’s Galileo satellites as they pass through the atmosphere. “The data is similar to that collected by weather balloons, but more accurate, more frequent and on a global scale,” PlanetiQ said. The remaining 10 satellites are expected to fly in 2017. “We are considering all secondary launch opportunities, though (we) are looking at only polar orbits now with higher altitudes preferred,” PlanetiQ Chief Executive Chris McCormick wrote in an email to Reuters. GeoOptics and Spire are two other startups planning to build and operate fleets of low-orbiting satellites equipped with so-called GPS radio occultation sensors. Tempus Global Data and HySpecIQ intend to fly a different type technology, called hyperspectral imaging, to collect similar atmospheric data.
Executives from Facebook, Google, and other technology giants will share artificial intelligence strategies in San Francisco this month. Emerging technologies and techniques in artificial intelligence are poised to have an impact on your industry, and sooner than you realize. We’ve invited an extraordinary group of speakers to EmTech Digital in San Francisco next month to delve into some of the most promising areas of AI research. We’ll hear from leaders in their field who are working to improve the ability of machines to sense, perceive, and act in different environments, allowing for more natural and closer collaboration with human counterparts. No industry will be unchanged. We’ll hear from leaders of companies including Facebook, Pinterest, and Google to better understand how AI is transforming our digital lives. We’ll also have the opportunity to hear from Amazon Robotics, GE, and the Climate Corporation on some surprising ways that more traditional businesses are deploying intelligent systems and robots to transform their industries. The EmTech Digital program will feature talks from many more of the people and organizations that are defining this new digital era. These innovators will paint a clear picture of the implications to us all as the connected environments around us gain intelligence in the years to come. Please make plans now to join us on May 23-24, 2016, in San Francisco. Visit the event website for more information and final updates in the weeks ahead.
News Article | November 28, 2007
The Navy’s killer drone program is picking up steam. The unmanned combat air systems demonstrator, or UCAS-D, is now "100% structurally complete," according to its manufacturers at Northrop Grumman. Testing of the flight software in underway. Now it’s on "subsystems installation," "failure detection," "accommodation testing"… oh, and paint, too. Northrop is aiming towards have the first one completed in 2009. The Navy only decided to build UCAS-D a few months ago, as Lew Page notes. But Northrop engineers are working with the same design they were using for a Darpa /Air Force / Navy killer drone effort that was canceled. The $635m UCAS-D contract will see Northrop produce a brace of aircraft and – if successful – prove that they can operate from US Navy carriers, traditionally considered one of the more demanding flight environments for human-piloted jets. "The performance of the aircraft isn’t an issue anymore," Rand Corp. analyst David Ochmanek tells the L.A. Times. "The sole remaining issue that hasn’t been addressed — because it is so difficult — is landing them and having them take off." After the jump: some hot CGI action, showing how the UCAS-D might look in flight — and one the carrier deck. * Picture This: Killer Drone in the Shop * Northrop Nabs Killer Drone Cash * Boeing Bitchin’ ‘Bout Killer Drone Choice * Revenge of the Killer Drones
A Monsanto logo is pictured in the company headquarters in Morges, Switzerland, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse BOONE, Iowa (Reuters) - Monsanto Co's digital agriculture platform should begin generating revenue for the seed and chemical company by 2020 as paid subscriptions for data-driven farm management and planting advice services expand, a top executive told Reuters. Revenues from the Climate Corporation business, acquired in 2013 for nearly $1 billion, are expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars by then, Robb Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer said in an interview at the Farm Progress industry show. "By the turn of the decade it will be a clear cash generator for the business," Fraley said, noting it will still be a fraction of Monsanto's total sales. Monsanto's high-stakes push into digital agriculture hit a hurdle on Wednesday, when the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping Deere & Co from buying Monsanto's Precision Planting farm equipment business. The agency said in its lawsuit the deal could make it more expensive for farmers to use precise planting technology. Mike Stern, chief executive of Climate Corporation, told Reuters on Wednesday the sale would benefit farmers. Stern also said Climate and Deere are moving forward with plans to allow nearly real-time data connections between certain John Deere farm equipment and Climate's farming software programs, Climate FieldView. Monsanto's Climate acquisition, and the high price it paid for the San Francisco-based weather data analytics firm, ignited intense industry interest in agriculture technology businesses. Numerous competitors and non-farm investors jumped into the space, aimed at helping farmers grow bigger crops more efficiently using data analytics, drones and other high tech tools. But a steep downturn in farm incomes has cooled agrarian demand for the unproven technologies. It is also taking Monsanto longer to turn a profit: At the time of the Climate acquisition, officials told Reuters they expected it to boost Monsanto's earnings within two years. Monsanto's business model for Climate, too, has shifted since the acquisition and transformed the seed company to some degree, Fraley said. "We're utilizing the Climate tools in our (internal) breeding program, in our manufacturing programs for seed production and in the customer interface. Truly, the digital tools are changing the way the company does its research and develops its products," Fraley said. Climate's Field View platform is being used on nearly 100 million U.S. farm acres today, with about 15 million acres in its premium paid services. Monsanto projects paid acres will reach up to 400 million by 2025.
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Birchbox, Spotify, HBO NOW, newspapers, box of the month clubs, meal services, and more: The rise of subscription-based commerce means consumers now pay for a number of items on a recurring basis. But even a few dollars spent here and there have a way of adding up, and eating into your household’s budget. A new startup called Trim wants to help you better track all the subscriptions you pay for, and easily cancel those you don’t need. And it does all this over text messaging. The idea for the startup comes from two Yale grads, Thomas Smyth and Dan Petkevich, whose backgrounds include time spent at Redfin, the Climate Corporation, and in venture investing. Co-founder and CEO Smyth previously worked as an investor at Core Innovation Capital, which invests in finance technology companies like NerdWallet, CoverHound, Ripple and others. The experience had him spending a lot of time thinking about personal finance, he says. But like many founders, the longtime friends experienced the problem they wanted to solve firsthand before starting Trim. One day, while comparing their credit card statements, they realized that they were paying for a number of services they no longer wanted or needed, including a WSJ subscription and even renter’s insurance from an apartment that Petkevich hadn’t lived in for years. They realized that a lot of people probably sign up for recurring subscriptions, too, and then forget about them. And while consumers may like to cancel some of these subscriptions (if they could remember what they’re paying for!), sometimes the money saved isn’t worth the hassle of figuring out how to cancel. So the founders decided to solve the problem with software instead. Powered by the API platform Plaid, Trim is able to integrate securely with 15,000 financial institutions across the U.S. to pull in credit or debit card data, or roughly 98 percent of the market. Trim pulls in your data, then identifies your subscription payments by finding those that are the same amount, or nearly the same amount, and billed on a regular basis. The software is smart enough not to pick up things like Starbucks, even if you have a daily latte that always costs the same, though. After it identifies a consumer’s subscriptions, it offers an easy way for you to unsubscribe. In practice, how this works is via text message. First, you’ll get a texted list of your subscriptions, followed by instructions on how to unsubscribe from those you don’t want to pay for any longer. For example, you can just reply to the text “Cancel Hulu” to cancel your subscription to the TV streaming service. And that’s really all there is to it. The founders say they tested the SMS service with 100 customers during a private beta, and found that almost everyone was surprised to find some subscription on their list they won’t have otherwise remembered. One of the worst offenders was Experian’s Credit Report, as it turned out, which had a 100% cancellation rate. Assuming Trim takes off, there’s the potential to develop the product further by adding features like a web-based dashboard, a “pause” button for when you’re traveling, and even a premium version that helps users not just with their subscriptions, but with their budgets and finances, too. This future version of Trim would be like the reverse of Mint.com. “We see ourselves as moving from pie charts to actions. Rather than having us tell you what to do in your financial life, we’d have you tell us what to do for you,” says Smyth. But for now, he says, the focus for the team is on growing Trim’s text messaging-based service. The company has an undisclosed amount of angel financing, including from the partners at Core Innovation Capital. When trying Trim for myself, as someone fairly responsible with my money, I wasn’t caught off-guard by any of the services. However, it does pull in things like gym memberships, which often have to be cancelled in person. My list seemed shorter than I’d otherwise think – which is when I realized that a number of my subscriptions are actually paid for via a second credit card. (Trim, at least, lets you add more than one. And be sure to add the card you use for iTunes subscriptions, because those, too, are easily forgotten.) Trim is not perfect. It only pulls in subscriptions billed in the last 90 days, so it could miss those you pay for on an annual basis. However, as an SMS bot, it’s dead-simple to use, and can save you a little money and a lot of time. Trim is free to use, but may add a waitlist, based on demand.