Lidar leader
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Emerging Tech Brew // Morning Brew // Update
Plus, everything we wrote about smart cities this month.
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Morning Brew November 30, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Dollar Flight Club

Hello there. If you’re sick of 1) dealing with and 2) reading about inflation, well, sorry: New York Fed President John Williams thinks things will cool off over the next year, but maybe not enough to put an end to stories like thisor this. In fact, Williams said we might be dealing with elevated price levels through the end of next year.

In today’s edition:

Luminar’s plan to dominate the world of lidar
Smart-city recap
Reader poll: Cultivated meat edition

Hayden Field, Dan McCarthy


How Luminar plans to win lidar

How Luminar plans to win lidar Luminar

In the 1970s, lidar mostly powered aerospace reflector devices; now, among other things, it helps power automakers’ hopes for future profits.

In addition to electric vehicles, many automakers see automated driving, or ADAS, features as core to their near-term businesses. And for some, lidar is a key piece of hardware used to power many advanced ADAS systems.

  • Companies like Volvo Cars and Daimler Trucks-owned Torc Robotics use lidar in conjunction with cameras and radar—a detection method using radio waves—to capture a range of results that cover more ground together than individually.

Zoom in: Luminar is a clear leader in the lidar space. The Orlando-based company, which SPAC’d in 2020, has raised more than $1 billion in funding to date and a big-ticket list of automaker partnerships, including Volvo, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Polestar, and SAIC Motor, China’s largest automaker.

The company is primarily prioritizing vertical integration and building into existing vehicles, execs said, rather than waiting for the lidar-hungry autonomous-vehicle market to mature. Keep reading about Luminar’s strategy here.HF



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What’s in a smart city?

Smart cities Morning Brew

As the month draws to a close, let us remind you of a package of articles dropped a long time ago (November 1) in a galaxy far, far away (our website).

At the start of November, we released our 10-part interactive series all about smart cities. Throughout the series, we covered how tech is reshaping everything from skyscrapers to sewers and the tough balancing act city officials do in an effort to take advantage of tech without overengineering urban life.

Here are three of the most popular stories from the series:

The humble streetlight is the backbone of the modern smart city. In recent years, the humble streetlight and traffic light have become the backbone of the modern smart city, housing a bevy of sensors, communication devices, cameras, and other technologies used to help digitize the streets.

Building a ‘smart’ transportation system will require thinking beyond cars. In Atlanta, a particularly car-centric city with a metro area that has grown outward into a sprawling collection of cities and counties, urban planners are rethinking the role mobility, housing, and infrastructure play in decarbonizing city transportation. 

How the people shaping the future of cities think about the cities of the future. What if a smart city could be shaped without concerns about existing infrastructure or budget?

To better understand where their priorities lie, we asked CIOs across the country one simple question: If you could build a smart city from scratch, what would it look like?

Click here to view the full interactive story hub.DM


Reader poll: Cultivated-meat edition

ground beef in in vats. Francis Scialabba

Like that hard-to-impress food critic from Ratatouille, the FDA is a tough customer when it comes to assessing foods. That’s why it was a huge deal when, two weeks ago, after about four years of consideration, the FDA announced its first-ever approval of cultivated meat.

For last week’s poll…We used the historic occasion to ask whether you think cultivated meat will ever surpass conventional meat in popularity. The results are in, with 1,565 responses:

  • The majority of you (51%) said nope.
  • More than one-third (36%) said yes.
  • And the remaining 13% took the careful route and said IDK.

Fwiw, according to a peer-reviewed article from May 2021, 71% of US adults said they’re at least somewhat likely to try cultivated meat as a replacement for traditional meat.

Big picture: Just one company—Upside Foods, the most well-capitalized cultivated-meat company out there and a startup we’ve covered many times—got the green light for its lab-grown chicken.

The approval is a meat world milestone, but Upside is still wishing on a wishbone for a thumbs up from one more regulatory body—the USDA. Because the FDA and USDA jointly regulate the cultivated-meat space, it won’t be allowed to sell its products unless that happens.—DM

This week’s poll: With the release of the Matter smart home standard, are you now more likely to purchase smart home devices?




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iPhone 14s on display at a store Apple

Stat: Production losses stemming from unrest at a Foxconn facility in China reportedly could cost Apple ~6 million iPhone Pro units in 2022, per Bloomberg.

Quote: “Waymo has not justified its excessive investments, and its losses should be reduced dramatically.”—Christopher Hohn, managing director of activist investor TCI Fund Management, in a letter to Alphabet earlier this month

Read: Boring Company appears to have a habit of ghosting cities.

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  • Google has licensed an AI model for breast-cancer screening for the first time.
  • Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” Beta, which is not, in fact, capable of full self-driving, is now available to any paying user in North America. The software and the company’s claims about it are currently under scrutiny from the NHTSA and the DOJ.
  • BYD raised prices on its EVs and hybrids due in part to…wait for it…inflation. The Chinese EV giant pointed the finger at “volatile raw materials costs” along with a change in subsidies.
  • Twitter’s child safety team is down to just one staff member across Japan and the Asia-Pacific region after layoffs, per Wired.


For office health: Can IoT sensors help keep workers healthy as they return to the office?

For a tech prompt: This Twitter thread from François Chollet, an AI researcher at Google, had us pondering the median age of the tech we use. So, same question to all of you: When were your favorite, most frequently used tech products invented? Hit Reply to let us know.


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Written by Dan McCarthy and Hayden Field

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