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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dashcams on Tesla Vehicles Are “Coming Soon,” Says Elon Musk

Tesla owners have been asking for a dashcam feature to be added to Tesla vehicles for a while now, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has finally responded to their requests, telling them on Twitter the feature will be implemented soon.
As reported by Futurism: Tesla vehicles have a number of cameras installed as part of its Autopilot feature, but a new dashcam feature is in the works that will also utilize the cameras.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the dashcam capabilities were “coming soon,” in response to a statement made on Twitter. Technically speaking, a dashcam has always been present, just not in the way drivers wanted.

This image shows the location of the front-facing
camera built into the rear view mirror system.
As reported by Electrek, all Tesla vehicles are known to store camera footage, but only after an accident, and only for Tesla’s use. This was initially discovered in 2016 by Jason Hughes, who was experimenting with a damaged Tesla Model S when he discovered the cameras recorded and saved video after the SUV collided with a wall.

Older Tesla models only had one camera. With multiple cameras, the dashcam feature should be much more effective.

Musk’s “coming soon” tweet was all the CEO offered in relation to the feature—no date or how far along development is.

Whenever it is released, Teslarati speculates that Tesla owners will be able to view saved footage and images through the MyTesla page. We’ll have to wait and see if there’s a limit placed on how much can be saved.

No indication yet if cockpit audio will be recorded as well.

Tesla rear camera view.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Next Pizza You Order Might Come in a Driverless Car

As reported by RealSimple: You may not have to worry about tipping the pizza delivery guy next time you order a pie—your meal could be delivered in a self-driving car. Domino’s Pizza and Ford are working together to test out driverless pizza delivery cars. 

The test project is being conducted in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where randomly selected Domino’s customers can opt to get their pizza delivery from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle. Since it’s a test, the car will still have a safety engineer at the wheel and researchers inside to observe.

Participating customers can track their pizza’s progress through GPS and the Domino’s Tracker. The only catch is you’ll have to leave your house to get the pizza—it’s not exactly door-to-door service. When the vehicle gets to its destination, customer's will get a text message telling them how to get the pizza from the car by using a unique code. On one of the backseat doors, there’s a keypad to type in the code that will prompt the window to roll down so you can grab your pizza in the “Domino’s Heatwave Compartment.”

“We’re interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery,” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said in a release. “The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience. For instance, how will customers react to coming outside to get their food?” All of this research will go into someday making driverless pizza delivery a seamless and customer-friendly possibility, Weiner says.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cummins Unveils Class 7 All-Electric Daycab Tractor

As reported by Truckinginfo: Cummins has beaten Tesla to the punch with its unveiling of a new, all-electric truck, a demonstration vehicle dubbed the Urban Hauler EV.

With all eyes looking toward Tesla and its much-hyped unveiling of its new all-electric, commercial truck next month, Cummins on Aug. 29 stunned the trucking industry with the launch of its own new and fully electric, Class 7 day cab tractor.

The story is still developing, but it appears the new truck is a prototype model for demonstration purposes The truck reportedly is intended for urban delivery, port drayage, terminal hauling, and similar applications.

According to Cummins, the concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV uses a state-of-the art battery pack, which “redefines” energy efficiency and density capabilities for the electric vehicle market.

Cummins said the lighter, denser battery design allows it to hold a longer charge for improved range and faster charging, reducing downtime.

The concept truck design includes an Engine-Generator option for extended range capabilities, allowing users to benefit from Cummins B4.5 or B6.7 engines, providing a major advantage over today’s hybrid systems. These engine options offer 50% fuel savings compared to today’s diesel hybrids with zero emissions.

During the unveiling event, which included tours of the Cummins technical center, Cummins leaders and scientists showcased the company’s continued innovation and work in analysis-led design capability, virtual reality, alternative fuels and digital capabilities, all of which the company said are positioning it to win in current and future technologies and in new markets.

More to Come in Engine Tech

Cummins also said it plans to introduce a revolutionary heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022. It showcased a variety of cutting-edge transportation technologies at the event, including clean diesel engines and natural gas and other alternative fuel capabilities, as well as digital capabilities, including data and analytical solutions

Cummins had previously signaled that it will be moving into the electric vehicle space in the future. “These new technological innovations build on our 100-year legacy of bringing the best solutions to our customers, driving their success and meeting the evolving demands of their industries and markets,” said Jennifer Rumsey, Cummins' chief technical officer, at the event.

“We will harness our global technical footprint to continue to develop a wide variety of power technologies to bring our customers the choice and solutions that enable their success and contribute to a sustainable future," she added.

“As a global power leader for the commercial and industrial customers we serve, with an unmatched service and support network, we are better positioned than any other company to win in new and emerging technologies and in new markets,” commented Cummins President and COO Rich Freeland.  “We will leverage our deep industry and customer knowledge and our scale advantage to win. Over the past century, our ability to innovate and adapt has fueled our success and we are confident we are on the right path to do it again.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hyperloop Pod Competition winner hits over 200MPH

As reported by Engadget: Adjacent to SpaceX headquarters, 25 teams gathered for another Hyperloop Pod Competition. This time the winner would be judged by how quickly they could go down the 1.25 kilometer (about .77 miles) track. On the final day of competition, three teams advanced to the finals and had the chance to push their pod to the limit.

With a speed of just over 200 miles per-hour, the Warr (pronounced Varr) team from the Technical University of Munich handily beat the two other finalists with its small, but quick pod. Weighing just 80 kg (176 pounds) and powered by a 50kw motor, the vehicle was essentially a small electric car built specifically for winning the competition.
The team is no stranger to the winner's circle, it won the previous Hyperloop Pod Competition back in January for fastest pod.

While Warr was the quickest down the tube, the other two teams either posted impressive speeds or broke new ground with their pods.

Paradigm, a team made of students form Northeastern University and Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador used SpaceX's pusher (a vehicle that literally pushes pods down the tube) to get the vehicle up to speed. It then counted on its air bearings and extensive lateral control to keep the pod centered and reduce friction. It hit a top speed of 101 kilometers an hour (about 60 miles per-hour) during its run. The second fastest inside the vacuum.

Meanwhile, Swissloop from Switzerland's ETH Zurich, used jet propulsion during its run. After an initial issue with losing connection with its pod just when it was about to do its run, it hit a respectable 40 kilometers an hour (about 25 miles per-hour) with a resounding whoosh as it took off.

At the end of the competition, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mused that there's no reason why future pods in the competition couldn't hit 500 to 600 miles per-hour on the 1.25 kilometer track. Of course that means that there will be another Hyperloop Pod Competition sometime next year and who knows, maybe we'll see pods hitting the speeds that'll make the mode of transportation truly rival air travel.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Germany Will Implement Ethical Guidelines for Self-Driving Tech

As reported by Engadget: Germany is working on implementing a handful of new rules for autonomous cars that address ethical questions that come with the technology. In June, the ethics commission of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure -- made up of 14 scientists and legal experts -- released a report with guidelines it believed self-driving vehicles should be designed to follow. This week, the ministry said it would implement and enforce those guidelines.

One of the proposed rules says that human life should always have priority over property or animal life and another stipulates that a surveillance system, like a black box, should record the activity so that it can be determined later on who was at fault during an accident -- the driver or the technology. Additionally, drivers should get to decide what personal information is collected from their vehicle, so that data can't be used to customize advertising, for example.

Another guideline takes on the ethics thought experiment the "trolley problem." One version of the trolley problem asks what should one do if they were driving a trolley and headed towards five people that will surely die if hit. The trolley driver can divert the trolley to another track where only one person would die. Should they actively choose to kill the one person over the five or not intervene and just let the train continue on its original path? What if they had information on the moral character of those individuals -- should that change anything? You can test yourself with various versions of this dilemma through MIT's Moral Machine.

This question has come up before with self-driving car makers. In 2015, the head of Google's self-driving auto project at the time said that Google's cars won't have the ability to decide who is a better person, morally, to lose in an unavoidable collision. Instead, the company is working to protect the most vulnerable person, like a pedestrian over another vehicle. And in 2016, a Mercedes Benz executive said that if given the choice between saving the person in the car or, say, a pedestrian outside of it, the car should choose to protect its driver because it's the only one you can be sure of surviving. But Germany's ministry says that in a situation where an accident can't be avoided, autonomous cars can't decide who to save, all human lives matter.

In a statement, Germany's transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, said, "The interaction between man and machine raises new ethical questions during this time of digitization and self-learning systems. The ethics commission has done pioneering work and has developed the world's first guidelines for automated driving. We are now implementing these guidelines."

Tesla's Electric Big Rigs May Focus on 'Day Cab' Shorter Routes

Tesla's been teasing its all-electric big rigs since April, but details have been scarce ahead of its planned grand unveiling in September. Heck, Reuters had to peer into DMV emails to discover that the company intends to link its trucks together in self-driving "platoons" for efficiency. The news outlet has once again unearthed new info on the cargo hauling vehicles: They'll reportedly have a range between 200 and 300 miles on a single charge.

Scott Perry, an executive at Miami-based fleet management company Ryder System, Inc, shared the info with Reuters after claiming to have met with Tesla earlier in the year. If true, that would put the automaker's semis at around the same per-charge range as Tesla's commercial vehicles -- and far below the 1,000 miles diesel trucks can drive from a full tank of fuel.

Perry claimed that Tesla's described its electric semi model as a "day cab" with no sleeper berth, which fits the range. That would qualify them for some of the shortest trips truckers make -- say, from the train yard or airport to a nearby warehouse, or from there to a store or factory. But there are more of those than you might think: The chief strategy officer of Toronto-based Fleet Complete told Reuters that those make up about 30 percent of US trucking jobs.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Apple's Next Self-Driving Phase is an Employee Shuttle

As reported by Engadget: Apple famously planned to build an entire self-driving car, but abandoned that idea to focus on autonomous vehicle technology à la Uber and Waymo. Thanks to a New York Times report, we now know some of what happened and what Apple is doing now. It reportedly plans to test the tech by building a self-driving shuttle (called PAIL, for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop) that will take employees between its current campus and the new "Spaceship" HQ.

We already know, thanks to many leaks and rumors, that Apple hired "hundreds" of engineers dedicated to building an entire autonomous car in a plan dubbed "Project Titan." Work started in 2014, and at one point, had an ambitious release date for 2019.

However, Apple made it particularly difficult on itself by setting much-too-aggressive goals, according to new information from the NYT. Executive Steve Zadesky, originally in charge of Titan, preferred to build a semi-autonomous vehicle, much as Tesla has now. However, head designer Jony Ive wanted a re-imagined, fully autonomous car, despite the fact that no automaker or tech company has come close to that ideal.

Apple also wanted to integrate all the sensors seamlessly into the vehicle to avoid the bumps and cones on current self-driving cars. It even wanted to change the wheel designs, making them spherical instead of round, the NYT says -- almost too perfect a metaphor for how Apple's perfectionism took the project down.

As expected, Apple will use another company's vehicle to test its PAIL shuttle, much as Waymo has with Chrysler. It has already been spotted testing a Lexus equipped with off-the-shelf technology RADAR and LiDAR units from Velodyne. If the testing goes to plan and it follows the same path as Intel, Waymo, Uber and others, it'll eventually partner with an automaker to further develop the tech.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Elon Musk Reveals First Official Photo of SpaceX Space Suit

As reported by The Verge: Elon Musk has posted the official first photo of his SpaceX space suit on Instagram, teasing that more details will come in a few days. Musk says the suit actually works, and was tested to double vacuum pressure. The suit itself is very white and very spacey, and Musk acknowledges that it was “incredibly hard” to balance the suit’s look and its function.
Musk didn’t specify, but the SpaceX suits are meant to be worn by astronauts when riding inside the company’s Dragon Capsule. They’re pressure suits, so they’re not meant for spacewalks, but are worn by astronauts during transport in case the capsule depressurizes. The suits will be worn by NASA astronauts for the commercial crew program when SpaceX starts launching people to and from the International Space Station. In January, Boeing revealed its own spacesuit design that astronauts will wear on route to the ISS.
The reveal today is similar to photos of a SpaceX suit that surfaced years ago on reddit. The design is very elegant and feels right at home in a sci-fi flick, while simultaneously paying homage to the old school suits NASA astronauts wore to the moon. We compiled a list ofscience fiction spacesuits from worst to best, though in my opinion, this real SpaceX suit tops the list of best.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hackers Are the Real Obstacle for Self-Driving Vehicles

As reported by MIT Technology Review: Before autonomous trucks and taxis hit the road, manufacturers will need to solve problems far more complex than collision avoidance and navigation (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: Self-Driving Trucks”).

These vehicles will have to anticipate and defend against a full spectrum of malicious attackers wielding both traditional cyberattacks and a new generation of attacks based on so-called adversarial machine learning (see “AI Fight Club Could Help Save Us from a Future of Super-Smart Cyberattacks”). As consensus grows that autonomous vehicles are just a few years away from being deployed in cities as robotic taxis, and on highways to ease the mind-numbing boredom of long-haul trucking, this risk of attack has been largely missing from the breathless coverage.

It reminds me of numerous articles promoting e-mail in the early 1990s, before the newfound world of electronic communications was awash in unwanted spam. Back then, the promise of machine learning was seen as a solution to the world’s spam problems. And indeed, today the problem of spam is largely solved—but it took decades for us to get here.

There have been no reports to date of hostile hackers targeting self-driving vehicles. Ironically, though, that’s a problem. There were no malicious attackers when the dot-com startups in the 1990s developed the first e-commerce platforms, either. After the first big round of e-commerce hacks, Bill Gates wrote a memo to Microsoft demanding that the company take security seriously. The result: today Windows is one of the most secure operating systems, and Microsoft spends more than a billion dollars annually on cybersecurity. Nevertheless, hackers keep finding problems with Windows operating systems, Web browsers, and applications.

Car companies are likely to go through a similar progression. After being widely embarrassed by their failure to consider security at all—the CAN bus, designed in the 1980s, has no concept of authentication—they now appear to be paying attention. When hackers demonstrated that vehicles on the roads were vulnerable to several specific security threats, automakers responded by recalling and upgrading the firmware of millions of cars. Last July, GM CEO Mary Barra said that protecting cars from a cybersecurity incident “is a matter of public safety.”

But the efforts being made to date may be missing the next security trend. The computer vision and collision avoidance systems under development for autonomous vehicles rely on complex machine-learning algorithms that are not well understood, even by the companies that rely on them (see “The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI”).

Last year researchers at CMU demonstrated that state-of-the-art face recognition algorithms could be defeated by wearing a pair of clear glasses with a funky pattern printed on their frames. Something about the pattern tipped the algorithm in just the right way, and it thought it saw what wasn’t there. “We showed that attackers can evade state-of-the-art face recognition algorithms that are based on neural networks for the purpose of impersonating a target person, or simply getting identified incorrectly,” lead researcher Mahmood Sharif wrote in an e-mail.

Also last year, researchers at the University of South Carolina, China’s Zhejiang University, and the Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 demonstrated that they could jam various sensors on a Tesla S, making objects invisible to its navigation system.

Many recent articles about autonomous driving downplay or even ignore the idea that there might be active, adaptive, and malicious adversaries trying to make the vehicles crash. In an interview with MIT Technology Review, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Christopher Hart, said he was “very optimistic” that self-driving cars would cut the number of accidents on the nation’s roads. In discussing safety issues, Hart focused on the need to program vehicles to make ethical decisions—for example, when an 80,000-pound truck suddenly blocks a car’s way.

Why anyone would want to hack a self-driving car, knowing that it could result in a death? One reason is that widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles is going to result in a lot of unemployed people, and some of them are going to be angry.

In August 2016, Ford CEO Mark Fields said that he planned to have fully autonomous vehicles operating as urban taxis by 2021. Google, Nissan, and others planned to have similar autonomous cars on the roads as soon as 2020. Those automated taxis or delivery vehicles could be vulnerable to being maliciously dazzled with a high-power laser pointer by an out-of-work Teamster, a former Uber driver who still has car payments to make, or just a pack of bored teenagers.

Asked about its plans for addressing the threat of adversarial machine learning, Sarah Abboud, a spokesperson for Uber, responded: “Our team of security experts are constantly exploring new defenses for the future of autonomous vehicles, including data integrity and abuse detection. However, as autonomous technology evolves, so does the threat model, which means some of today’s security issues will likely differ from those addressed in a truly autonomous environment.”

It will take only a few accidents to stop the deployment of driverless vehicles. This probably won’t hamper advanced autopilot systems, but it’s likely to be a considerable deterrent for the deployment of vehicles that are fully autonomous.

IBM Forges Blockchain Collaboration With Nestlé & Walmart For Food Transportation Safety

As reported by Forbes: A group of leading retailers and food companies including Nestlé, Walmart and Unilever have signalled their commitment to “strengthen consumer confidence” in the foods they purchase by announcing a major blockchain collaboration with IBM. The consortium will work with ‘Big Blue’ to identify the “most urgent areas” across the global food supply chain that could benefit from the blockchain.
Highlighting matters, every year one-in-10 people fall ill (c.600 million) globally and around 420,000 die as a result of contaminated food, according to global estimates of foodborne diseases from the World Health Organization (WHO). These diseases were cited as being caused by diseases caused by 31 agents - bacteria, chemicals, viruses, parasites and toxins.
The findings contained in a WHO report titled ‘Estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases’ (December 2015), were the most comprehensive published at the time and found that almost 30% of all deaths from foodborne diseases are in children under the age of five years (c.125,000).
Many of the critical issues impacting food safety such as contamination, food-borne illness, waste and the economic burden of recalls rest though on a lack of access to information and traceability.
Given that today nobody currently oversees the entire supply chain and traceability is undertaken only in a linear fashion, this is where the blockchain is being pitched as playing a pivotal role.
By using blockchain, when a problem arises, the potential is to quickly identify what the source of contamination is since one can see across the whole ecosystem and where all the potential points of contamination could be - using the data to pinpoint the source. As such it is “ideally suited” according to IBM to address these challenges because it establishes a trusted environment for all transactions.
It can indeed take weeks to identify the precise point of contamination, causing further illness, lost revenue and wasted product.
Take, for example, the recent incidence of salmonella infections linked to imported Maradol papayas, which required over two months to identify the farm source of contamination according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among a number of people who were hospitalized between May 17 and July 21 this year, one death was reported from New York City.
Concurrently with news of its consortium with ten leading retail and food companies, which besides Nestlé and Walmart includes DoleDriscoll’sGolden State FoodsKrogerMcCormick and CompanyMcLane CompanyNestléTyson FoodsUnilever - Big Blue also announced the introduction of the “first fully integrated, enterprise-ready” IBM Blockchain platform to accelerate adoption and new academic and developer initiatives to advance Blockchain skills.
The International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM) logo is displayed in front of the company's offices in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg).
In an effort to expand the blockchain ecosystem across academia and the start-up community, IBM is working with select universities including Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and University of British Columbia to fund research grants, develop customized curricula and host workshops and hackathons.
Global Food Supply Chain
The food supply chain is depicted generally as being composed by three main levels: (1) Agricultural production; (2) Industrial processing; and, (3) Wholesale or retail distribution. However, with closer examination it becomes more complex, involving a series of other stages and links that add value to the chain - either in the form of goods or services inputs - such as the seed provider – and ending with the final consumer.
All participants in the global food supply chain - from the growers to suppliers and processors and right through distributors to retailers, regulators and consumers - can through this latest IBM initiative gain “permissioned access” to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions.
In so doing it enables food providers and other members of the ecosystem to use a blockchain network to trace contaminated product to its source in a short amount of time and stem the spread of illnesses.
The consortium development involving Big Blue comes a month after Ambrosus, claimed to be the world’s first ‘trusted’ blockchain-based ecosystem for the food supply chain launched and unveiled a token sale for Amber scheduled for this September.
Co-founded by Swiss-based CEO Angel Versetti and CTO Dr Stefan Meyer last year, Ambrosus combines high-tech sensors, blockchain technology (built on the Ethereum Blockchain) and smart contracts.
Development of the Ambrosus ecosystem and a system of interconnected quality assurance sensors is touted as being able to “reliably record the entire history of food from farm to fork” according to the company. The project’s efforts have been officially endorsed by EIT Food and Swiss Quality and Safety Association.
Ambrosus’ CEO Versetti noted this July that at present the global system of food production and distribution “does not adequately serve the needs of our society” with “little trust amongst consumers, poor living standards for farmers, malpractice within supply chain networks or by large manufacturers and regular major food scandals.” So there’s work to be done.
He added: “Blockchain can protect the integrity and verifiability of sensor data, while smart contracts can enable automatic governance of food supply chains and manage commercial relationships between the different actors within them.”
Food Safety Pilot Projects
For its part, IBM has already completed multiple pilots specific to food safety in order to successfully demonstrate the ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.
Insights from those projects, in addition to input from the 10 retail and food groups in the latest consortium as well as others, will be used by IBM to identify and “prioritize the key areas” where blockchain can further benefit food ecosystems. This, it is said, will help “ensure problems can be addressed with surgical precision when they arise.”
Among specific pilot projects undertaken, a collaboration between IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University was announced in October 2016 to improve the way food is tracked, transported and sold to consumers in China and are creating a new model for food traceability. By using blockchain technology to build transparency and efficiency in supply chain record-keeping, this work aims to help ensure food safety for Chinese consumers.
Tsinghua University brings its expertise in transaction security and authentication technology to the table, while Walmart is a global leader in supply chain, logistics and food safety. Early trials in China and the US are understood to have shown how blockchain technology digitally tracks food products from pork and mango suppliers to store shelves and ultimately to consumers.
Product information (e.g. farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates and shipping detail) is digitally connected to food items and entered into the blockchain at every step of the process. Each piece of information serves to provide critical data points that could potentially reveal food safety issues with the product.
In another example, Walmart, which is regarded as having one of the best food traceability systems in the industry, completed a test using traditional methods to trace the origin of mangoes, which took them six days, 18 hours and 26 minutes to trace a package of mangoes to the exact farm of origin. By using blockchain, it took just 2.2 seconds.
Abstact image of digital retail store image with person holding smart phone with U.S. dollar bill and digital binary code. (Image: Shutterstock).
New IBM Blockchain Platform
Beyond food supply chain applications, blockchains are now being used to transform processes and streamline transactions for everything from flowers, real estate and banking, to education, government and health care. In fact hardly a day passes without an industry or sector being considered ripe for blockchain application.
To accelerate this adoption, IBM is introducing the first fully integrated, enterprise-grade production blockchain platform on the IBM Cloud, as well as consulting services. This will allow more organizations to swiftly activate their own business networks and access the vital capabilities needed to successfully develop, operate, govern and secure these networks.
Running in the IBM Cloud, it is said to offer “unique protection” from insider credential abuse, protection from malware, and hardware encryption key protection, with the IBM blockchain platform providing the “highest-level tamper resistant” FIPS140-2 level 4 protection for encryption keys.
For developers, they can create standard business language in JavaScript and the APIs help keep development work at the business level, rather than being highly technical and making it possible for most any programmer to be a blockchain developer.
The platform is described as being designed to address both business and technical requirements, and incorporates insights gained as IBM has worked with over 400 organizations since February 2016 on blockchain projects across industries including financial services, supply chain and logistics, retail, government and health care.
And, while the platform offers all participating members some control, it prevents any one member from having exclusive control through a new class of democratic governance tools.
Tested and piloted extensively, the platform is held up addressing a wide range of “enterprise pain points” around security, performance, collaboration and privacy that IBM maintained no other blockchain platform delivers currently today.
It includes innovation developed through open source collaboration in the Hyperledger community (of which IBM was an early member), including the newest Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0 framework and Hyperledger Composer incubation project.
The Integrated platform allows multiple parties to jointly develop, govern, operate and secure blockchain networks to help enterprises accelerate blockchain adoption.
Marie Wieck, IBM General Manager, Blockchain, commenting in the wake of the latest developments said: “Unlike any technology before it, blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organizations come together, enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth.”
She added: “IBM’s platform further unleashes the vast potential of this exciting technology, making it faster for organizations of all sizes and in all industries to embrace blockchain and improve the way business gets done.”
Blockchain Advances
In addition to food safety, IBM is advancing other blockchain supply chain initiatives using the IBM Blockchain Platform for an automated billing and invoicing system.
Initial work to use blockchain for invoicing for instance is underway starting with Lenovo, which will provide an audit-ready solution with full traceability of billing and operational data, and help speed on-boarding time for new vendors and new contract requirements.
To complement the new platform, IBM Global Business Services offers blockchain services, which bring industry expertise from its 1,600 blockchain consultants who have helped clients deploy and integrate active networks and help realize optimal value. 
In terms of resulting efficiencies brought about by such deployments, clients have been able to reduce back office processes “by up to 30% and cycle time of accounts receivable by 50%”, thereby unlocking millions of dollars in cost savings and market capital. The IBM Blockchain Platform provides a range of pricing options, which start at $0.50 per hour.
Going forward the companies involved in the latest global food supply chain collaboration with IBM will help identify the benefits or shared value that resonates for everyone in the network and make sure it is a solution everyone can use - from the farmer in the field to the packer in the packing house to the retailer. And, ensure it meets the industry’s needs for security and scalability.
Despite IBM being canvassed on the financial details of its latest collaborations none were disclosed.