Profitable Daimler expects heavy spending on new tech

Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars said Thursday that its earnings this year faced the burden of “very high” expenditure on new models and technologies such as battery-powered cars. Like the rest of the industry, the company is positioning itself for an anticipated shift to autonomous driving and to transportation services such as car-sharing and ride-hailing through smartphone apps.Based on that, the company issued a measured outlook for this year despite a record profit of 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion) last year, saying that operating earnings would only be of “the magnitude of the previous year” instead of increasing.Daimler AG said spending on research and development would increase slightly in 2018 after spending 8.7 billion euros in 2017, a rise of 15 percent.The company’s shares dipped on the earnings news and outlook, trading down 1.2 percent at 72.84 euros in midday trading in Europe.CEO Dieter Zetsche’s position is that the company’s core business—selling gasoline- and diesel-powered luxury cars with fat profit margins, plus trucks and buses—is “very healthy and highly profitable” and can provide the investment cash needed to remain a leader as the industry changes rapidly. Daimler says it will spend 10 billion euros on new electric vehicles in the next few years. It has shown off pre-production versions of a new electric-driven EQ sub-brand within Mercedes, saying the first EQ sport-utility vehicle will be launched by the end of this decade. German automaker Daimler made lots of money last year. That’s a good thing, because the company says it will need to spend heavily this year to keep up with the technological change expected to disrupt the car industry. Earnings were driven by the Mercedes-Benz luxury car division, which increased sales by 8 percent to a record 2.37 million vehicles worldwide. The unit’s revenue rose 6 percent to 94.7 billion euros, resulting in earnings before interest and taxes of 9.2 billion euros, up from 8.1 billion euros in 2016. Daimler profits hit by costs of diesel emissions recall This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Profitable Daimler expects heavy spending on new tech (2018, February 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-profitable-daimler-heavy-tech.html CEO of Daimler AG Dieter Zetsche attends the annual balance news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Daimler AG says its net profit rose 24 percent to a record 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion) last year, helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and new E-Class luxury sedan. (Sebastian Gollnow/dpa via AP) The company said it would pay profit-sharing of 5,700 euros per worker for eligible employees, up from 5,400 euros.The company’s annual news conference in Stuttgart began with Zetsche condemning an experiment commissioned by an industry-backed entity in which monkeys were exposed to diluted diesel exhaust from a Volkswagen vehicle. The entity, known by its German abbreviation EUGT, had representatives from Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW on its management board.Zetsche said “such experiments are contrary to our values at Daimler” and said the company’s role would be “thoroughly investigated.” The company has said that its representative on the EUGT board has been suspended. CEO of Daimler AG Dieter Zetsche speaks during the annual balance news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Daimler AG says its net profit rose 24 percent to a record 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion) last year, helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and new E-Class luxury sedan. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP) This Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 file photo shows the Mercedes logo in the grill of a Mercedes 2016 GLE SUV automobile on display at the Auto Show in Pittsburgh. German automaker Daimler AG says Thursday Feb. 1, 2018, its net profit rose 24 percent to a record 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion) last year, helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and new E-Class luxury sedan. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) In this Jan. 24, 2018 file photo a woman fixes a Daimler Logo on a car at the Daimler AG company in Sindelfingen, Germany. Daimler AG says Thursday, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 its net profit rose 24 percent to a record 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion) last year, helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and new E-Class luxury sedan. (Sebastian Gollnow/dpa via AP, file) Tighter government restrictions on auto emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases are part of the reason behind the industry-wide push into electric vehicles, even though they have limited appeal to consumers due to higher prices, limited range and the amount of time it takes to charge them. Sales could pick up if battery-powered vehicles become cheaper and more convenient than internal combustion ones—a tipping point that some experts say could be reached by the early to mid-2020s.For all of last year, Daimler net profit rose 24 percent, helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and the new version of its E-Class luxury sedan. Revenue rose 7 percent to 164.3 billion euros and management proposed its highest dividend to date, of 3.65 euros per share. read more

How to solve virtual realitys human perception problem

Brain can navigate based solely on smells This has many applications in VR. Our recent work at the University of Bath has applied this method to solving a problem with how people estimate distances when using virtual reality headsets. A driving simulator for teaching people how to drive could lead to them compressing distances in VR, rendering use of the tech inappropriate in such a learning environment where real world risk factors come into play.Understanding how people integrate information from their senses is crucial to the long-term success of VR, because it isn’t solely visual. Maximum likelihood estimation helps to model how effectively a VR system needs to render its multi-sensory environment. Better knowledge of human perception will lead to even more immersive VR experiences.Put simply, it’s not a matter of separating each signal from the noise; it’s about taking all signals with the noise to give the most likely result for virtual reality to work for practical applications beyond the entertainment world. Virtual reality isn’t confined to the entertainment world. There has also been an uptake of VR in more practical fields – it’s been used to piece together parts of a car engine, or to allow people to “try on” the latest fashion trends from the comfort of their home. But the technology is still struggling to tackle a human perception problem. One theory blends together computer science and psychology. Maximum likelihood estimation explains how we combine the information we receive across all our senses, integrating it together to inform our understanding of the environment. In its simplest form, it states that we combine sensory information in an optimal fashion; each sense contributes an estimate of the environment but it is noisy.Noisy signalsImagine a person with good hearing walking at nighttime in a quiet country lane. They spot a murky shadow in the distance and hear the distinct sound of footsteps approaching them. But that person can’t be sure about what it is they are seeing due to “noise” in the signal (it’s dark). Instead, they rely on hearing, because the quiet surroundings mean that sound in this example is a more reliable signal. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Credit: Shutterstock Explore further It’s clear that VR has some pretty cool applications. At the University of Bath we’ve applied VR to exercise; imagine going to the gym to take part in the Tour de France and race against the world’s top cyclists. But the technology doesn’t always gel with human perception – the term used to describe how we take information from the world and build understanding from it. Our perception of reality is what we base our decisions on and mostly determines our sense of presence in an environment. Clearly, the design of an interactive system goes beyond the hardware and software; people must be factored in, too.It’s challenging to tackle the problem of designing VR systems that really transport humans to new worlds with an acceptable sense of presence. As VR experiences are becoming increasingly more complex, it becomes difficult to quantify the contribution each element of the experience makes to someone’s perception inside a VR headset. When watching a 360-degree film in VR, for example, how would we determine if the computer-generated imagery (CGI) contributes more or less to the movie’s enjoyment than the 360-degree audio technology deployed in the experience? We need a method for studying VR in a reductionist manner, removing the clutter before adding each element piece by piece to observe the effects on a person’s sense of presence. This scenario is depicted in the image below, which shows how the estimates from human eyes and ears combine to give an optimal estimate somewhere in the middle. The blue curve shows a compromise of the audiable and visual senses. It is also taller, which means it corresponds to a higher likelihood in its estimate of what can be perceived in the dark. Credit: CC BY-SA Provided by The Conversation This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: How to solve virtual reality’s human perception problem (2018, March 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-virtual-reality-human-perception-problem.html read more