TECH WEEKLY

February 1, 2019

1. Workplace messaging platform Slack has confidentially filed to go public
2. Cadillac reveals images of the brand’s first EV
3. A glimpse to the future – Daimler wants self-driving trucks on the road in 10 years
1. Workplace messaging platform Slack has confidentially filed to go public

Slack, the provider of workplace communication and collaboration tools, has submitted paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public later this year, the company announced on Monday. This is its first concrete step towards becoming a publicly listed company, five years after it launched.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Slack has raised more than $1 billion in venture capital investment, including a $427 million funding round in August. The round valued the business at $7.1 billion, cementing its position as one of the most valuable privately held businesses in the U.S. The company counted 10 million daily active users around the world and 85,000 paying users as of January 2019. According to data provided (via email) by SensorTower, Slack’s new users on mobile increased roughly 21 percent last quarter compared to Q4 2017. The company recorded 8 million installs in 2018, up 21 percent year-over-year.

Slack’s investors include SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Dragoneer Investment Group, General Atlantic, T. Rowe Price Associates, Wellington Management, Baillie Gifford, Social Capital and IVP, as well as early investors Accel and Andreessen Horowitz.

Source: Tech Crunch

2. Cadillac reveals images of the brand’s first EV

GM recently announced plans to position Cadillac as its lead electric vehicle brand, and shared the first images of Cadillac’s planned first all-electric vehicle.

So far, we have no details other than two images, showing it to be a crossover-style vehicle.  We are still waiting on a name, timeline, and other specs – which Cadillac says will be revealed “closer to launch”.

The car will use GM’s “BEV3” next-generation electric vehicle platform.  This platform is meant to be flexible for use in many different vehicle types, and will accommodate front-, rear- and all-wheel drive configurations.  In addition, GM plans to create a number of battery configurations to be used in different vehicles.

While it’s not clear if each vehicle will offer each drivetrain or battery configuration, this will at least allow GM to offer more EVs on a shorter development cycle.  This will help them to respond to consumer demands, and respond to the actions of competitors.

Cadillac plans to take full advantage of this EV platform and offer an all-new interior on their new crossover.  A new powertrain means the car can be designed from the ground up to take advantage of the packaging benefits that an EV platform can provide.  Without the need for a driveshaft tunnel or large engine under the hood, designers will have more freedom to add more interior space and luxury to the car.

Source: Electrec

3. A glimpse to the future – Daimler wants self-driving trucks on the road in 10 years

Level four autonomy is the dream of many automakers. A vehicle that drives itself without any driver interaction, yet has a steering wheel and pedals so that when the human in the car is ready to take control, they can. Daimler wants to put that technology in semi trucks within the next 10 years.

AT CES, Daimler trucks and buses CEO Martin Daum announced that the company would invest $570,000,000 in the research and development of level four autonomous long-haul trucks. The automaker says it will begin testing in the United States this year because of the infrastructure and the ability to go long distances.

Daum said that Daimler’s level four trucks will be more efficient and safer than what is on the road right now. The efficiency comes from the ability to run the trucks at all hours of the day and night, while smart routing enables avoidance of potential gridlock.

The safety factor comes from the fact that the truck never gets tired or distracted. Daum did say that the company is aware that the public is still not 100 percent sold on the idea of self-driving vehicles. “Our technology has to be 100% road proof,” Daum said. He called the next decade of research and testing “gaining knowledge time,” going on to say “it needs to be reliable and safe and work in all conditions, rain, snow and constructions sites.”

Source: Engadget