Japan’s ispace says Hakuto-R crashed because it got confused by a crater rim

ispace is done analyzing data from its failed Hakuto-R lunar landing, and it sounds like tricky terrain and a late change in the landing site are to blame. Apparently, Hakuto-R was able to complete the whole deceleration process in preparation of touching down on lunar soil. The spacecraft activated its descent sequence when it reached an altitude of around 100 kilometers (62 miles) and was able to slow down until it was only moving at a speed of less than 1 m/s. 

However, its software had mistakenly estimated its altitude to be zero when it was still hovering around 5 kilometers (3 miles) above the ground. In other words, it thought it had already landed when it hasn’t yet, and it continued descending at a very slow speed near the surface until its propulsion system ran out of fuel. ispace wasn’t able to establish contact with the spacecraft again, but it believes it went on a free fall and ultimately crashed on the moon.

That’s the how, but what about the why? Well, the company thinks the most likely reason why Hakuto-R’s software suffered from an altitude estimation issue was because it got confused. While it was flying to its landing site, it passed over a large cliff that was determined to be the rim of a crater. The spacecraft’s onboard sensor got an altitude reading of 3 kilometers when it passed by the elevated terrain, and that was apparently larger than the estimated altitude value the Hakuto-R team set in advance. 

The spacecraft’s software erroneously thought that the sensor reported an abnormal value, and it kept filtering out its altitude measurements afterward. ispace built the ability to reject abnormal altitude measurements into the lander as a safety measure in the event of a hardware issue with the sensor. However, it backfired for Mission 1 because simulations of the landing sequence failed to incorporate the lunar environment on the spacecraft’s route. ispace made the decision to change Hakuto-R’s landing site after its critical design review was already completed in 2021. 

The Hakuto-R Mission 1 was poised to become the first successful moon landing by a private company and the first Japanese lunar landing overall. While it didn’t get to land on the moon, ispace will use the data from the mission to design preparatory landing sequences for Mission 2 and 3, which are scheduled for launch in 2024 and 2025, respectively. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/japans-ispace-says-hakuto-r-crashed-because-it-got-confused-by-a-crater-rim-113115803.html?src=rss

LG and Hyundai are building a $4.3 billion EV battery cell factory in the US

Korean companies LG and Hyundai are teaming up to build a new EV battery cell manufacturing plant in the US and have signed a memorandum of understanding to invest $4.3 billion in the project. The companies will each hold a stake of 50 percent in the joint venture, which will start construction on the new plant in the second half of 2023. Their new manufacturing facility will be located in Savannah, Georgia, where Hyundai is also building its first all-EV factory in the US. The battery plant is expected to be operational by 2025 at the earliest. After it starts production at full capacity, it will be able to produce 30GHWh of battery every year, which is enough to support the production of 300,000 electric vehicles.

LG and Hyundai are just the latest companies to invest in US-based battery manufacturing facilities over the past couple of years. Toyota announced in 2021 that it will build a battery plant in the country as part of a $3.4 billion investment, while Ultium Cells (GM’s and LG’s joint venture) secured a $2.5 billion loan from the Energy Department for the construction of EV battery facilities. More recently, Ford announced that it’s spending $3.5 billion to build a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Michigan. Lithium iron phosphate, which can tolerate more frequent and faster charging, costs less than other battery technologies and could bring down the cost of EVs.

Other companies could follow suit, seeing as the Biden administration is pushing to bring more EV and battery manufacturing to the US. Last year, it launched the American Battery Materials Initiative, which will give 20 companies $2.8 billion in grants in hopes of encouraging manufacturers to start battery production stateside and making sure that the US won’t be heavily dependent on “unreliable foreign supply chains.”

Hyundai and LG believe that the new facility can help create “a stable supply of batteries in the region” and allow them “to respond fast to the soaring EV demand in the US market.” Hyundai Mobis, the automaker’s parts and service division, will be assembling battery packs using cells manufactured in the plant. The automaker will then use those packs for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis electric vehicles. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lg-and-hyundai-are-building-a-43-billion-ev-battery-cell-factory-in-the-us-121519593.html?src=rss

Tesla leak reportedly reveals thousands of Autopilot safety complaints

The German-language newspaper Handelsblatt said it received 100GB of data from “several informants” within Tesla, showing how the company received thousands of complaints about its Autopilot features over the past years. According to Jalopnik, the collection contained 23,000 internal files, with complaints from as far back as 2015 and as recent as March 2022. Within that time period, the automaker reportedly received 2,400 reports about self-acceleration issues and 1,500 cases about braking function problems. The latter included 139 complaints about unintentional emergency braking and 383 about phantom stops from false collision warnings. 

Further, the files reportedly included more than 1,000 crash reports and a table of 3,000 incidents wherein drivers expressed safety concerns about Tesla’s driver assistance system. While most of the reported incidents happened in the US, some of the complaints came from owners in Europe and Asia. Handelsblatt said it contacted dozens of customers from the files to confirm their reports, and some were even able to share videos with the publication. 

Aside from containing details on thousands of safety complaints, the files reportedly included instructions for employees on how to communicate with customers. Apparently, they’re told not to copy and paste incident reports on email or text messages and not to leave the information as voicemail recording. They can only verbally pass on the information to customers. 

In a letter explaining why the publication decided to publish information from the Tesla files, Handelsblatt editor-in-chief Sebastian Matthes said a 12-person team sifted through and evaluated the files over six months. “The data paints the picture of an electric car pioneer who seems to have far greater technological problems than previously known. With its Autopilot, for example. The Tesla files contain thousands of reports about complications with the driver assistance systems. Complaints of Tesla vehicles suddenly braking at full speed. Or accelerate suddenly,” he wrote. 

He said his team sent Tesla a comprehensive list of questions, but the automaker chose not to answer them. Instead, Joseph Alm, Tesla’s Managing Counsel for Litigation, told the publication that the data was stolen and that media reporting of illegally obtained information is not allowed absent exceptional circumstances. Alm also said in his response (via Electrek) to the publication that the company believes a “disgruntled ex-employee” used his access as a service technician to “exfiltrate information in violation of his signed non-disclosure agreement” before he left the company. Tesla intends to sue that ex-employee for his “theft of Tesla confidential information and employees’ personal data.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tesla-leak-reportedly-reveals-thousands-of-autopilot-safety-complaints-083713588.html?src=rss

Sci-fi strategy game ‘Homeworld 3’ has been delayed to February 2024

Fans of the Homeworld franchise won’t be seeing its new entry arrive this year after all. The long-awaited sequel to Homeworld 2, a sci-fi real-time strategy video game released way back in 2003, was supposed to come out in 2022 before its release was pushed back to the first half of this year. Now, its developer Blackbird Interactive and Gearbox Publishing have revealed that they’re moving Homeworld 3’s launch date to February 2024. In their announcement, they said that they want to deliver a game that “lives up to the standards set by its predecessors. 

They continued that in order to fully realize their vision, they need more time to refine and polish the game. Fans’ reactions to the announcement on Twitter have been positive so far, with most of them supporting the companies for taking the time to get it right. Upon being asked about the collector’s edition they sold, they said those who purchased the box will still receive it at launch. 

The companies also posted an extended version of their announcement on Gearbox’s website, where they explained that Blackbird’s move to implement a four-day work week back in 2022 isn’t the reason why the game’s release date has been pushed back again. “In fact,” they added, “the team is able to achieve as much if not more when given the additional personal time.” They didn’t go through any technical hurdles and change the scope of the game either — it just simply takes time to create and polish a whole game. For fans who can’t wait to see how the development is going along, they promised to share their “biggest Homeworld 3 progress update yet later this summer.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sci-fi-strategy-game-homeworld-3-has-been-delayed-to-february-2024-061237843.html?src=rss

Samsung’s HW-Q900C premium soundbar launches today for $1,400

Samsung has introduced a new entry into its flagship Q-series soundbar lineup. If the HW-Q990C soundbar it debuted at CES earlier this year is the series’ top-of-the-line model, then the new HW-Q900C soundbar is the next one in terms of features and specs. The HW-Q900C features 7.1.2 channels of Wireless Dolby Atmos sound, whereas the HW-Q990C is an 11.1.4-channel soundbar. 

While the HW-Q990C has more front and surround channels for more immersive sounds, both models support Samsung’s Q-Symphony 3.0. The technology allows you to play audio from your soundbar and your TV’s speakers at the same time, so long as they’re connected with either an HDMI or an optical cable. Samsung says Q-Symphony provides “an excellent surround sound experience” that makes it seems as if you’re actually in the movie. That said, you can only activate Q-Symphony if you have a compatible 2020-to-2023 model Samsung TV.

In addition, the HW-Q900C comes with SpaceFit Sound Pro, which can analyze your environment and automatically optimize audio output for you. Its adaptive sound and adaptive voice amplifier features promise optimized audio for dialogue, as well, so you can hear voices better even at low volumes and in a noisy room. 

In game mode pro, the soundbar utilizes its up-firing speakers and strong woofers for 3D optimized sound while playing on select consoles, such as the PS5. The HW-Q900C also supports AirPlay 2 that makes it easy to pair with the iPhone and other Apple devices. Finally, it has the ability to follow voice commands, but you’d need to have Amazon Echo Device to be able to use this feature.

The HW-Q990C is now available for $1,400. While you can find the HW-Q990C soundbar for just a bit more right now, note that the older model launched with a $2,300 price tag.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsungs-hw-q900c-premium-soundbar-launches-today-for-1400-130051756.html?src=rss

Apple’s AirTag 4-pack falls to $87

If you’ve been looking to get a bunch of new Apple AirTags, now’s a good time to buy them: The Bluetooth tracker’s four-pack bundle is currently on sale for $87. That’s not quite an all-time low, but it’s still 12 percent less than what the pack typica…

Sony says it sold 600,000 PS VR 2 units in six weeks

Apparently, the PlayStation VR2 sold way better than its predecessor in the weeks after it became available. During a business presentation, Sony has revealed (PDF) that it sold almost 600,000 PS VR2 units within its first six weeks of availability. Th…

SpaceX wants to join the FAA as defendant in environmental groups’ Starship lawsuit

While SpaceX completed the first fully integrated flight test for its Starship vehicle in April, the event wasn’t exactly a complete success. The company blew up the spacecraft on the launch pad due to a separation failure, and that caused debris to shoot out across hundreds of acres of land that contained sensitive habitats. It also started a 3.5-acre fire on state park land. In response, environmental and wildlife nonprofit groups filed a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), accusing the agency of failing to assess the Starship program’s environmental impact around SpaceX’s Texas launch site in Boca Chica. And now, SpaceX has filed a motion in court, requesting to be allowed to join the agency as a defendant. 

If you’ll recall, the groups suing the FAA claimed that the agency had violated the National Environment Policy Act when it allowed SpaceX to launch its super heavy-lift vehicle without conducting an environmental impact statement (EIS) assessment. The FAA did conduct an environmental review of SpaceX’s launch site and asked SpaceX to make more than 75 changes, but it didn’t push through with an EIS assessment, which is a much more involved and in-depth process that could take years to finish. 

In its motion, SpaceX detailed the lawsuit’s potential impact on the company. The plaintiffs, after all, are requesting for its launch license to be revoked and for the FAA to push through with an EIS assessment. SpaceX said “further licensing of the Starship/Super Heavy Program could be significantly delayed” by the lawsuit, which could also damage “substantial national interest.” SpaceX has existing contracts with NASA and the military, and a Starship variant is expected to take Americans to the moon. 

The company also argued that the FAA “does not adequately represent [its] interests,” so it has to step in and defend itself. According to the CNBC, the plaintiffs aren’t opposed to SpaceX joining the fray, as it is “standard and expected for the applicant to intervene in a case where their permit is at issue.” 

During a subscriber-only Twitter chat over the weekend, company chief Elon Musk reportedly said regarding the explosion: “To the best of our knowledge there has not been any meaningful damage to the environment that we’re aware of.” SpaceX has been preparing for more tests before Starship’s next launch attempt and recently rolled out the vehicle’s latest prototype to a suborbital pad at Starbase in Texas for an upcoming static fire test.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/spacex-wants-to-join-the-faa-as-defendant-in-environmental-groups-starship-lawsuit-061134095.html?src=rss

Warner Bros.’ Max streaming service launches with new $20 4K tier

HBO Max is completing its transformation into Warner Bros. Discovery’s “Max” streaming service today, and it’s launching with a new tier especially made for 4K ultra HD viewing. The Ultimate Ad-Free tier will set you back $20 a month or $200 if you’re paying for a whole year, making it the service’s most expensive subscription option yet. A subscription will give you access to over 1,000 4K movies and TV show episodes, which is nearly eight times more than previously available 4K content. It will also give you the ability to stream on up to four devices at the same time and to store up to 100 offline downloads.

Ultimate Ad-Free’s arrival, however, spells the end of 4K availability if you stick to regular ad-free subscription. According to the company’s announcement, “existing HBO Max subscribers will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch.” After that, you’ll no longer be able to stream 4K content on the service. To note, Warner Bros. raised its subscription prices in January, so you now have to pay $16 a month for the ad-free tier and $10 for the ad-supported one. 

For the Ultimate Ad-Free tier, Dolby Atmos and Vision will also be available for select content and devices. The company plans to keep growing its 4K library every month going forward, but for now, those 1,000 ultra HD shows and movies you can stream with a subscription include Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon,The Last of Us, the Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy and The Matrix films. Further, all Warner Bros. movies released this year and in the future will be added to the tier’s 4K library when they arrive on Max.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/warner-bros-max-streaming-service-launches-with-new-20-4k-tier-092756959.html?src=rss