Product Promotion Network


Internet-connected wine bottle startup Kuvée is shutting down

Kuvee, the startup that makes a Wi-Fi-connected wine bottle complete with touchscreen, has announced it is shutting down, as reported by Business Insider.

The system, which The Verge tested (and called gloriously dumb) in March 2016, is basically a sleeve with a touchscreen that fits over proprietary wine cartridges. Once a cartridge is put into the sleeve, the touchscreen displays information about the wine, like the grape it’s made from and pairing notes. The initial purchase of the sleeve and four cartridges costs £178, with additional cartridges — that could be purchased through the touchscreen — priced between £15 and £50.

Kuvee said that its system would keep wine fresh for 30 to 60 days.

Though there was significant initial interest in Kuvee — the early bird preorders on Indiegogo sold out in three hours — it wasn’t enough to keep the company going. In a goodbye note, Kuvee CEO Vijay Manwani pointed toward the difficulty of educating the public about the product and says that “last year’s Napa fires affected our ability to scale our customer base over the holiday season and hence our ability to raise the funds required to continue building awareness of Kuvee.”

Manwani says in the note that Kuvee will continue to seek a partner that can “acquire or leverage the Kuvee technology and bring it to market at part of their own business model,” but all of its business operations are ceasing today, just about a year and a half after it initially started shipping. That means if you have a Kuvee system, it’s going to be useless once the company’s remaining stock sells out.

From now through March 26th, Kuvee is selling all wines at 50 percent off with code LASTORDER.

Beijing is letting its first driverless cars take to the roads

Tech giant Baidu has been granted the first license for testing autonomous vehicles in China’s capital. The news: Beijing officials gave Baidu license plates for its self-driving cars today. That’s one way of saying that the company will soon take its autonomous vehicles out for a drive on the city’s roads.

Challenging conditions: With pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, and cars jostling for space, Beijing’s roads will be incredibly complex for robotic vehicles to navigate. That’s especially true by comparison with the kinds of suburban roads that many American autonomous cars have been tackling. Safety questions: That complexity is more notable than ever this week given the Uber crash, in which a pedestrian was killed by one of the firm’s driverless cars.

That accident has prompted many experts to question the pace at which self-driving technology is being deployed. China vs. US: Companies such as Baidu are in a tight race against American counterparts to apply this technology in the real world.

For now, the Chinese government has voted for full speed ahead with self-driving cars.

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Uber could blame its driver for this week’s fatal accident, but it shouldn’t

A video published by police yesterday raises some serious questions about Uber’s driverless-car technology. The news: A video released by the Tempe, Arizona, police department shows what happened moments before one of Uber’s autonomous cars killed a pedestrian on Sunday. The driver was recorded by a camera inside the car, looking down (perhaps at her phone) for several seconds.

Gut-wrenchingly, she looks up at the last moment to see someone walking into the car’s path. What it means: Her distraction is, in fact, an indictment of the car’s technology. Experts have long warned that partial autonomy lulls people into a false sense of security, causing them to become dangerously disengaged.

It can take many seconds for a person to regain situational awareness if something goes wrong. Sensor questions: What remains unclear is why the sensors aboard Uber’s vehicle failed to spot the pedestrian, who was wheeling her bike across the road. Although the scene is dark, the lidar on the vehicle should have spotted the pedestrian easily.

Investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board may uncover any problems with the car.

Why it matters: Companies rushing to commercialize vehicle automation are testing experimental systems on public roads.

Moving too quickly could put lives at risk and set back a technology that could ultimately help reduce the number of people killed and injured on the roads each year.

Image credit:

  • Uber / Tempe Police Department

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