Delivery robots just got bot-blocked in San Francisco
As drones face increasingly harsh regulations, ground bots have become the new battleground for companies looking to automate deliveries of everything from food to marijuana.
But yesterday, San Fran’s Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a measure to restrict the use of delivery robots on its streets.
In a city prided for its innovation, we’re guessing this move is gonna ruffle some feathers in the delivery space — especially considering that other less tech-savvy places have accepted similar robots with open arms.
2017: the year of sidewalk bots
Back in March, Virginia became the first state to sign legislation allowing robots on sidewalks and crosswalks. By July, Idaho, Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio had enacted similar laws.
All of these laws come with some red tape: bots have to be under 80 pounds, stick to speeds below 10 MPH, and remain under the control of a remote human operator in case a bot decides to go rogue.
But, San Francisco’s rules will be much stricter
Existing companies will be limited to a max of 3 robots per fleet (9 total in the whole city), at a max speed of 3 MPH — and they’ll be confined to “low population industrial areas…” which pretty much defeats the purpose of using them for delivery.
Why the harsh limitations? City supervisor Norman Yee, who proposed the legislation back in May, argues that too many bots would just create more clutter on already highly-trafficked sidewalks.
“Our streets and our sidewalks are made for people, not robots,” he told Recode. “…[But] maybe in the future there will be robot lanes.”
If you can drone it, you can do it
SoftBank throws down $450m for real estate disruptor
The Japanese giant is at it again, this time leading a $450m round of funding for the New York-based real estate startup, Compass.
That brings Compass’s total funding to a whopping $775m — and thanks to their new deep-pocketed business partner, they are now valued at $2.2B.
What is Compass?
Co-founded in 2012, Compass has swiftly pushed its way into the country’s largest real estate markets. Their technology and mobile platform help agents price and market properties by automating workflows and giving them access to key data insights.
According to Compass, real estate agents see a 25% commission increase in their first year after signing with them.
Their plan: exposure and expansion
The new money will be used to help execute their ‘Compass Everywhere’ initiative, allowing them to partner with the top real estate agents and their clients in every major city in the US.
Compass currently operates in 11 areas — half of which are already profitable — and they plan to nearly double their domestic reach with this round of funding.
Ya know what else you can buy for $450m? A (potentially) fake DaVinci painting
Yesterday it was revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has shelled out $450m, not for a multi-billion dollar tech company, but a painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
The “Salvator Mundi” was reportedly purchased by proxy, via a lesser-known prince named Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed and, at $450m, it’s the most anyone has ever paid for a painting.
And Saudi Arabia is not pleased
The country is currently in the midst of a sweeping anti-corruption crackdown, and critics have slammed the prince for making such a lavish purchase, as the attorney general continues to expose prominent Saudi Arabians for over $100b in embezzlement.
Plus, the painting may not even be real!
Jacques Franck, a da Vinci specialist, told the New York Times that the composition of the painting doesn’t match up to Leo’s signature style.
“[da Vinci] preferred twisted movement. It’s a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best, and it’s very damaged.”
But when you’re a Saudi Arabian prince, what does it matter?
Silicon Valley companies plant models to spice up their lame holiday parties
Because you can’t have a cool party without hot people, apparently.
“Facebook-and-Google-sized” companies and small businesses alike are now contracting modeling agencies to sprinkle attractive women (and a few men) around their parties to keep them from sucking.
*Pause for the longest eye-roll ever recorded*
Ok, we’re back.
Yes, as sexual harassment scandals rock the industry and Silicon Valley claims to have outgrown its beanbag days, groups like Cre8 Agency reports that they’ll be sending 25 women and 5 men to a San Francisco gaming company’s holiday party for up to $200 an hour per.
Cre8’s president says the companies they work with “handpick” their models from photos, make them sign NDAs, and “give them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with,” so attendees don’t suspect they were actually paid minglers.
Yeah, we’re sure everyone’s buying the fact that “Bob the back-end developer’s” best friends are all Brazilian runway models…
“Ambiance and atmosphere models” are only gaining popularity
Local agencies say they’re booking gigs in record numbers: Cre8 has 7 clients booked for this weekend alone, and another agency, TSM, counts “one of the largest search engines in the world” among its clients (*cough* Google *cough*).
We’ll stick to our tried-and-true party-starter: a steamin’ hot bowl of buffalo chicken dip.