Qualcomm confirms it is buying NXP for $47 billion


Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors have announced a definitive agreement, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, under which Qualcomm will acquire NXP.

Qualcomm will pay $110 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $47 billion.

NXP is a specialist in high-performance, mixed-signal semiconductor electronics, with innovative products and solutions and leadership positions in automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power.  Continue reading Qualcomm confirms it is buying NXP for $47 billion

New flavour of Robot Operating System launched

A new version of the Robot Operating System has been launched, and this is one for the machines. 

Officially called the Hardware Robot Operating System, the new solution is described as “a standardized software and hardware infrastructure to easily create reusable and reconfigurable robot hardware parts”.

Writing on Robohub.org, Victor Vilches, CTO of Erle Robotics and a researcher at the Open Source Robotics Foundation, says H-ROS means “constructing robots will no longer be restricted to a small elite with high technical skills”.

H-ROS was initially funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency through the Robotics Fast Track program in 2016 and developed by Erle Robotics.

TheConstructSim launches beta of its IDE for ROS


The Construct has launched a beta version of its integrated development environment. 

The company says users of the IDE don’t need to code, and can develop Robot Operating System programs “graphically”.

TheConstructSim.com is an online robot simulation environment in which users can develop and test their systems.

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Purchase a copy and support this website so we can bring you all the news and information that matters to your business and work, as well as reflect your interests.  Continue reading Buy our book, Robotics and Automation Industry Thought Leaders

Top five causes of PLC control system failure


Boulting Technology has released an infographic to help engineers mitigate problems with programmable logic controller (PLC) based control systems. The handy guide highlights the top five causes of failure and can be downloaded free from the Boulting Technology website

PLC-based control systems are invaluable to a manufacturing or processing business because they control and regulate critical production systems and processes.

A failed control system can cause significant plant downtime and is likely to be extremely costly; it can also create a hazardous situation when the system is controlling a critical process.  Continue reading Top five causes of PLC control system failure

Infineon launches what it claims is the first-of-its-kind online engineering prototype design application


Infineon Technologies has launched the first online prototyping engine combining analog and digital simulation functionalities in an internet application.

Infineon Designer requires a web browser only, and the company says it is “a perfect match for supporting customers in selecting the right product for a defined application”.

Infineon Designer works intuitively in a very short time, and neither installation nor licenses are needed, according to the company.  Continue reading Infineon launches what it claims is the first-of-its-kind online engineering prototype design application

Opinion: ‘How data science and machine learning will save lives on the roads’

toyota car
Toyota is recalling 5.8 million cars globally to replace potentially faulty airbag inflators made by Takata, according to the IBTimes.co.uk

By Sundeep Sanhavi, CEO of Data RPM, who claims data science and machine learning will save lives in this exclusive article for Robotics and Automation News

Recalls happen all too frequently, often as a result of some horrendous accident or incident. But there are ways in which the predictive qualities of data science and machine learning can relegate recalls to the annals of history. 

“A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph,” explains the Narrator in the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

“The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.”

Edward Norton’s chilling performance aside, vehicle recalls are a persistent problem. Their persistence – given the increasing availability of improved technology and insight – is baffling.  Continue reading Opinion: ‘How data science and machine learning will save lives on the roads’

US Department of Transportation issues new cybersecurity guidelines for vehicles


Guidance covers cybersecurity best practices for all motor vehicles, individuals and organizations manufacturing and designing vehicle systems and software

The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking a proactive safety approach to protect vehicles from malicious cyber-attacks and unauthorized access by releasing proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity.

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says: “Cybersecurity is a safety issue, and a top priority at the Department.  Continue reading US Department of Transportation issues new cybersecurity guidelines for vehicles

Robots are positively impacting our world, says Aethon


By Anthony Melanson, vice president of marketing, Aethon

Autonomous mobile robots and self-driving vehicles are part of our world. How should you judge them?

Robotics headlines are everywhere: “China’s Impending Robot Revolution”, “IFR Report Offers Good News for Robot Developers,” and “Can Robotics Spark a Renaissance in American Manufacturing”.

There’s little question that self-driving robots, drones and other automated vehicles are integral to the present and future success of organizations in a wide-variety of sectors.

Self-driving cars are on a tremendous innovation curve and it will be exciting to see them develop. From healthcare to industrial material handling, robots are positively impacting our world. Continue reading Robots are positively impacting our world, says Aethon

Clearpath Robotics launches amphibious robot


Clearpath Robotics partners with Argo XTR to launch Warthog unmanned ground vehicle 

Clearpath Robotics, a provider of mobile robotic platforms for research and development, has released Warthog – a large, amphibious, all-terrain mobile robot designed for application development.

The company says Warthog enables researchers to reliably test, validate, and advance their robotics research faster in real world conditions, whether on land or in water.

Julian Ware, general manager for research solutions at Clearpath Robotics, says: “Argo XTR (Xtreme Terrain Robotics) has a terrific record of manufacturing rock-solid outdoor platforms.  Continue reading Clearpath Robotics launches amphibious robot

Small potatoes: A closer look at chips


One of the issues with analysing the chip market, as with some others, is that the products are complex and have a huge array of applications. This often makes it difficult to compare one chip with another. 

Moreover, some people might not know the difference between a micro-processor and a micro-controller, or what a semiconductor is… and where microchips fit into all this.

So here’s an attempt at an explanation. Continue reading Small potatoes: A closer look at chips

Qualcomm could become king of the road if it buys NXP

qualcomm headquarters

Mergers and acquisitions happen quite frequently these days, and there’s a lot of interest surrounding them. 

For example, there are currently strong rumours that US smartphone chip giant Qualcomm is about to buy NXP Semiconductor for $40 billion.

NXP itself last year bought Freescale for $12 billion. The deal gave NXP access to the market for micro-controllers, in which Freescale is one of the leading companies.

And in a separate, similarly large deal, Japanese communications colossus SoftBank recently agreed to buy the British chip designer ARM for $32 billion.  Continue reading Qualcomm could become king of the road if it buys NXP

Qualcomm and NXP ‘agree $40 billion deal’

nxp chip on board

Chipmakers Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors have reportedly agreed a $40 billion takeover deal, according to CNBC

Wall Street Journal reported a couple of weeks ago that Qualcomm was in negotiations to buy NXP for $30 billion, and TechCrunch.com says the acquisition would be “a huge consolidation move for the silicon industry”.

Neither company has so far commented on the talks, and have not confirmed they are taking place.

But now, CNBC is confident that Qualcomm and NXP “have agreed an all-cash handshake deal that Qualcomm will pay $110 a share for NXP … in a deal that would be close to $40 billion”.

Qualcomm has a market capitalisation of more than $100 billion, and earned over $25 billion in revenue in 2015. The company has 27,000 staff and is headquartered in California, in the US.

NXP is valued at $35 billion and had revenues of $6 billion in 2015. It has 45,000 staff and is headquartered in the Netherlands, Europe.

Nasa scientist behind Reebok’s new ‘Liquid Factory’


Sportswear giant reveals new technique – invented by a Nasa scientist – for 3D printing training shoes tailored to customers’ individual specifications 

Reebok has unveiled something it calls “Liquid Factory”, which the company says will bring back sports shoe manufacturing back to the US. 

Reebok calls its new factory idea a ground-breaking manufacturing innovation that could fundamentally change the process and speed of footwear creation.

Developed by the Reebok Future team, the Liquid Factory process uses state-of-the-art software and robotics to literally draw shoes in three dimensions.  Continue reading Nasa scientist behind Reebok’s new ‘Liquid Factory’

Manufacturing in the USA: The same story told from many angles


Most stories have at least two sides, usually one negative and one positive, depending on your point of view or what aspect of the story you choose to highlight. 

So, for example, if you read CNN you will see mentions of “record” levels of business, such as in the sectors of automaking and aerospace.

“US aircraft production is at a record high and well ahead of the rest of the world,” says CNN, adding that the auto industry is “within 7 per cent of record levels, making 12 million cars and trucks a year”.  Continue reading Manufacturing in the USA: The same story told from many angles