Add delivery drones to the list of products being developed by the Google X (NASDAQ:GOOG) long-term R&D division. In an in-depth column, The Atlantic reports Google has carried out over 30 test flights for its drone initiative, known as Project Wing, and hopes its drones can eventually be used by its same-day delivery service to deliver products within minutes.
Google, whose effort has been ongoing for 2 years, has opted for an unconventional aircraft design called a tail-sitter. It's described as "a hybrid of a plane and a helicopter that takes off vertically, then rotates to a horizontal position for flying around." By contrast, Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime Air delivery drones rely on 8 helicopter-like propellers.
Google's drones lower products to the ground using a tether featuring "a little bundle of electronics" at the end. The electronics detect when a package hits the ground, and then detach and are pulled back up.
The Atlantic doesn't shy away from the fact plenty of reliability and safety questions remain, as do nuts-and-bolts hardware issues such as improving battery life and reducing noise. Google is said to be "in the very early days of developing a mature, reliable detect-and-avoid system."
Wing is headed by MIT roboticist Nick Roy. Over the last 12 months, Google has bought leading military robot maker Boston Dynamics, solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace (meant to further Google's Web connectivity and imagery efforts), A.I. tech developer DeepMind, and hardware engineering/design firm Gecko Design.
PG&E's (NYSE:PCG) electric power substation that serves Silicon Valley in northern California was breached for a second time, despite a $100M program to harden security and restore round-the-clock guards after last year's attack by gunmen.
The Metcalf substation south of San Jose was targeted early Wednesday morning by intruders who cut fencing at the site and stole construction equipment being used for security upgrades to the facility.
Power transmission security is a major concern because substations are linchpins in the U.S. electric grid; a government study concluded that disabling as few as nine critical power substations could cause cascading blackouts that would sweep across the U.S.
Microchip (MCHP +0.8%) confirms it has held talks with CSR (CSRE +35.3%) about "ways in which [Microchip's] relationship with CSR could be advanced, including possibly an acquisition of CSR." However, the talks are said to be "at a very preliminary stage."
Microchip, whose microcontrollers are sometimes found within products that also contain CSR's Bluetooth, GPS, or A/V chips, notes it has partnered with CSR in the past, with a Bluetooth module initiative being one example.
Back in May, Microchip announced it's buying Taiwanese Bluetooth chipmaker ISSC for $294.3M. The company has also snapped up analog chipmaker Supertex, as it takes part in a broader chip industry M&A wave.
Cordis reportedly could fetch $1.5B-$2B and is expected to attract interest from P-E firms and other health care companies.
A sale would mark the latest divestiture for JNJ, which is looking to shed slower-growth businesses and reduce annual costs by $1B; JNJ said in 2011 it would leave the cardiac stent business after years of falling sales and market share.
Mike Glover, head of Blucora's (NASDAQ:BCOR) Infospace unit, has "submitted his resignation and will pursue other opportunities." He'll be replaced by Peter Mansour, formerly the head of eBay's Seattle office.
Mansour's job puts him in charge of both the Infospace search business and recently-acquired HowStuffWorks.
Blucora is coming off a Q2 in which its search/content ops saw a 16% Y/Y sales drop, thanks in large part to the revising of the company's Google search/ad deal.
OPEC's oil production has advanced in August from July, according to a Reuters survey, as a 100K bbl surge in Libyan supply held up and Angola and Iran boosted supplies, outweighing a further decline in Iraq.
The survey also found Saudi Arabia and other core Persian Gulf producers kept output largely flat and have not cut back to prop up prices, which this month slipped to a 14-month low near $101/bbl.
OPEC supply has averaged 30.15M bbl/day in August, up from 30.06M in July, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.
Turtle Beach (NASDAQ:HEAR) co-founders Fred Romano and Carmine Bonanno have sold 371.5K shares to "a group of institutional investors."
News of the sale comes with Turtle Beach trading close to its 52-week low of $6.54. Shares tumbled earlier in August after the gaming headset maker posted a Q2 miss, albeit while maintaining full-year guidance.
McArthur River has the capacity to produce 18M lbs/year of uranium, or ~10% of global demand, according to Bank of Montreal analysts, and was the world’s largest uranium mine by production last year.
Uranium prices are still only about half their levels just before the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown of three Japanese reactors and the suspension of the country’s nuclear power plants.
Rebecca Clary, Globalstar's (NYSEMKT:GSAT) accounting chief since Jan. '13 and its corporate controller since Aug. '12, has been named the company's CFO. The position was unoccupied before Clary's appointment.
Before joining Globalstar, Clary was a manager at accounting giant PwC. Her promotion follows news space operations chief Tony Navarra is retiring.
Spot gasoline in the Chicago region was $0.12/gal. above October futures on the Nymex, up from a $0.725 premium yesterday, while ultra low sulfur diesel rose by $0.275 to a $0.03 discount to Nymex futures and jet fuel jumped $0.65 to a $0.14 premium.
The extent of the damage at BP's 105K bbl/day hydrotreater is not immediately clear, analysts are saying.