Category Archives: Technology.

Exclusive: Tesla halts most production at Shanghai plant on Tuesday – memo

SHANGHAI, May 10 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has halted most of its production at its Shanghai plant due to problems securing parts for its electric vehicles, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, the latest in a series of difficulties for the factory.

The plant plans to manufacture less than 200 vehicles on Tuesday, according to the memo, far less than the roughly 1,200 units it has been building each day since shortly after it reopened on April 19 following a 22-day closure.

Two sources familiar with the matter had earlier said supply issues had forced the factory to halt production on Monday.

Shanghai is in its sixth week of an intensifying COVID-19 lockdown that has tested the ability of manufacturers to operate amid hard restrictions on the movement of people and materials.

Tesla had planned as late as last week to increase output to pre-lockdown levels by next week. 

It was not immediately clear when the current supply issues can be resolved, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the production plans are private.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a query for comment.

China Passenger Car Association is scheduled to release April sales for Tesla, China’s second-largest EV maker behind BYD (002594.SZ), on Tuesday.

Another auto association said last week it estimated overall auto sales in China dropped 48% in April as zero-COVID lockdowns shut factories, limited traffic to showrooms and put the brakes on spending.

Aptiv (APTV.N), Tesla’s main supplier of wire harnesses, stopped shipping from a Shanghai plant that supplies Tesla and General Motors Co (GM.N) after COVID-19 infections were found among its workers, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant, also known as the Gigafactory 3, produces the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover for the China market and for export.

Tesla partially resumed production at the Shanghai plant on April 19 following a 22-day closure caused by the city’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Tesla had been aiming to increase output at its Shanghai plant to 2,600 cars a day from May 16, Reuters reported previously. 

Shanghai authorities have tightened a city-wide lockdown imposed more than a month ago on the commercial hub with a population of 25 million, a move that could extend curbs on movement through the month

First private mission reaches International Space Station

The first fully private mission reached the International Space Station early on Saturday with a four-member crew from startup company Axiom Space.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has hailed the three-way partnership with Axiom and SpaceX as a key step towards commercializing the region of space known as “Low Earth Orbit,” leaving the agency to focus on more ambitious voyages deeper into the cosmos.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule Endeavor docked at 1229 GMT on Saturday and the crew entered the space station nearly two hours later, after launching from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Friday.

Commanding the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) is former Nasa astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, a dual citizen of the US and Spain, who flew to space four times over his 20-year-career, and last visited the International Space Station (ISS) in 2007.

He is joined by three paying crewmates: American real estate investor Larry Connor, Canadian investor, and philanthropist Mark Pathy and Israeli former fighter pilot, investor, and philanthropist Eytan Stibbe.

“We’re here to experience this but we understand there’s a responsibility,” Connor said in comments shown on Nasa’s live feed.

As the first civilian crew, he said, they “need to get it right.”

The widely reported price for tickets — which includes eight days on the outpost, before an eventual splashdown in the Atlantic — is $55 million.

While wealthy private citizens have visited the ISS before, Ax-1 is the first mission featuring an all-private crew flying a private spacecraft to the outpost.

Houston-based Axiom pays SpaceX for transportation, and Nasa also charges Axiom for use of the ISS.

Research projects

Onboard the ISS, which orbits 250 miles (400 kilometers) above sea level, the quartet will carry out 25 research projects, including an MIT technology demonstration of smart tiles that form a robotic swarm and self-assemble into space architecture.

Another experiment involves using cancer stem cells to grow mini tumors and then leveraging the accelerated aging environment of microgravity to identify biomarkers for early detection of cancers.

“Our guys aren’t going up there and floating around for eight days taking pictures and looking out of the cupola,” Derek Hassmann, operations director of Axiom Space, told reporters at a pre-launch briefing.

In addition, crewmember Stibbe plans to pay tribute to his late friend Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, who died in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spaceship disintegrated upon reentry.

Surviving pages from Ramon’s space diary, as well as mementos from his children, will be brought to the station by Stibbe.

The Axiom crew will live and work alongside the station’s regular crew: currently three Americans and a German on the US side, and three Russians on the Russian side.

The company has partnered for a total of four missions with SpaceX, and Nasa has already approved in principle the second, Ax-2.

Axiom sees the voyages as the first steps of a grander goal: to build its own private space station. The first module is due to launch in 2024.

The plan is for the station to initially be attached to the ISS, before eventually flying autonomously when the latter retires and is deorbited sometime after 2030.

UAE invests heavily in unmanned weapons after drone attacks

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates is plowing money into drones, robots and other unmanned weaponry as autonomous warfare becomes more and more widespread — including in attacks on the Gulf country by Yemeni rebels.

Large, black drones with the orange logo of EDGE, the UAE’s arms consortium, were on display at the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX), along with remote-controlled machineguns and other “smart” weapons.

The exhibition comes at a time of growing unmanned attacks around the region, including the Jan 17 drone-and-missile assault by Yemen rebels that killed three oil workers in Abu Dhabi, the first in a series of similar incidents.

EDGE, an Abu Dhabi-based defense consortium that groups 25 Emirati firms, was formed three years ago but reached an estimated $4.8 billion in arms sales in 2020 — nearly all of them to the UAE government.

The group was ranked 23rd among the 100 top arms-producing and military services around the globe in 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2015. Although it withdrew ground troops in 2019, it remains a key player in the grinding conflict.

EDGE’s most lucrative deals have included maintenance of military jets, worth almost $4 billion, as well as providing guided munitions at $880 million.

On Tuesday, it unveiled a vehicle-mounted remote-controlled assault rifle that can swivel 360 degrees and has thermal imaging and a laser range finder accurate to 50 centimeters for targets more than two kilometers away.

On Monday, the UAE defense ministry signed three deals with domestic and international companies with a total value of more than $178.2m), including a sale of drone systems to UAE-based International Golden Group.

Ahmed Al Mazrouei, the owner of an Emirati company that mainly develops four-wheel-drive vehicles and personnel carriers, said the UAE defense industry was ready to “step up” following the attacks on Abu Dhabi.

“The challenges are important because they push us to develop ourselves in order to meet those challenges,” he said.

“Our goal is to have more systems and more tech” in the next 10 years, Mazrouei added. “This is an Emirati-made production… and we want to compete globally.”

EDGE has signed multiple deals with foreign partners, including US firms Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and Brazil’s Embraer, Khalid Al Breiki, who heads one of EDGE’s five clusters, said at last year’s Dubai Airshow.

The establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 has also opened up new opportunities.

The fifth edition of UMEX is the first to include Israel, one of seven newcomers among the 26 countries taking part.

The use of drones and other unmanned weapons is increasingly common.

Meta’s profit slips as Facebook says it’s losing 1m users daily

Facebook’s parent firm Meta on Wednesday delivered a gloomy mix of a sharper-than-expected drop in profit, a decrease in users, and threats to its ad business that plunged shares some 22 percent in after-hours trading.

Already jittery markets have punished pandemic-era darlings including Netflix for disappointing results, with Meta getting a taste of that after its $10.3 billion quarterly profit and daily user-growth fell short of expectations.

Yet the signature Facebook platform also reported losing roughly one million daily users globally between the last two quarters of 2021 — a tiny number on an app with nearly two billion daily users, but a potentially worrying signal of stagnation.

CFO Dave Weiner told analysts that user growth was impacted by “headwinds” including disproportionate growth in the Asia-Pacific during the pandemic that has slowed and an increase in mobile data prices in India.

“In addition to these factors, we believe competitive services are negatively impacting growth, particularly with younger audiences,” Weiner added.

The company’s executives have repeatedly referred to competition from TikTok but also from other networks, while they face numerous probes and complaints of abuse of dominance.

Analysts expected 1.95 billion daily active users on Facebook, but Meta reported 1.93bn — a key indicator of the growth trajectory for a company fueled by the people who choose to interact with its platforms.

On the financial side, Meta achieved a turnover of $33.67bn, in line with its forecasts, but it made $10.3bn in net profit in the fourth quarter, eight per cent less than last year.

As an explanation for the disappointing performance, Meta noted competition and supply chain difficulties suffered by its customers, the advertisers.

Meta’s share price was down about 22pc to roughly $250 at 0010 GMT in after-hours trade.

At the same time, the company said the rules imposed by Apple last year on ad targeting had a negative impact on its financial results in the fourth quarter.

In the update of iOS, its mobile operating system, Apple required application publishers to ask permission before collecting data, much to the regret of companies like Meta that rely on that information for ad targeting.

“Meta may only generate single-digit revenue growth. And that’s before any further legal and regulatory developments and actions,” Third Bridge analyst Scott Kessler said.

“It seems that many are re-evaluating in real-time,” he added.

As of December 31, 2021, 2.8 billion people were using one of its four platforms and messenger services at least once a day, and 3.6 billion at least once a month.

Metaverse cost

These are the first results released since the company’s name change in late October, which was both a turn toward the metaverse vision and a turn away from its scandal-prone social media empire.

The Silicon Valley giant’s whistleblower crisis last year highlighted accusations that executives prioritized growth over keeping their billions of users safe.

Scathing news reports based on internal documents leaked by ex-employee Frances Haugen rekindled long-deadlocked regulation efforts, but US lawmakers have made little progress since.

An activist group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board seized on the results to warn of what may come next.

“Facebook appears to now be feeling the impact on ad revenues from Apple’s new privacy-first approach,” the group’s statement said.

“This will no doubt make them more desperate to drive ad revenue by any means necessary,” it added.

Meta is betting heavily on its belief that the metaverse is the next major evolution of how humans live with the internet.

In this future that evokes science fiction, the public will use augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets to find their way around, work or play.

But its construction means tens of billions of dollars of investment in the Facebook Reality Labs branch, without any benefits for a long time.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about Meta’s investments in the metaverse and if or when they will have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line,” said analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

WhatsApp to start showing profile photo of the contact alongside the name in notifications when a message arrives

WhatsApp is working to show the photos in message notifications so that the user can see next to the message the profile image that that contact has, something that until now is not possible to view on iOS or Android.

Initially, this feature will be available only to testers of iOS Beta, as long as they are users of iOS 15 and have updated the WhatsApp version 2.22.1.1.WhatsApp has launched in its platform the first modification of this year 2022 and it is a visual feature.

WhatsApp, the instant messaging application has been testing in its beta version for iOS mobiles, that the profile photo of a user appears in the notification bar when you receive a message. WhatsApp is gradually pushing the feature to more and more users.

The feature was spotted by website WABetainfo, and according to them, the feature is currently available for some WhatsApp beta testers on iOS.Image courtesy: WABetaInfo

Some issues are to be expected with functionality, given that the feature is currently in public beta and does not represent the finished product. WhatsApp on Android has been able to display profile pictures with system notifications for years now, and now it seems the feature is making its way to iOS too finally.

WABetaInfo also notes that the new feature might not be immediately available to all beta testers, as the roll-out seems to be of the gradual type. Adding the photo to the notification pop-up is only logical; many other similar apps have this feature and it will give users a visual cue to who’s messaging them, without the need to read the contact’s name.

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As the new feature makes use of APIs included as part of iOS 15, profile pictures in notifications are only available to beta testers who are running iOS 15.

Another feature coming is a new section called “Businesses Nearby.” This feature will allow you to search for nearby businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, clothing shops, and more.

WhatsApp introduced a lot of new features and made several improvements last year, including introducing a view once feature for photos similar to Snapchat.