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SpaceX Becomes Fourth Most Valuable Privately Held, Venture-Backed U.S. Company

Plus, the frightening amount of e-waste generated annually worldwide, and artificial intelligence helps protect against drowsy driving.

by / September 2017
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Flickr/NVIDIA Corporation

SpaceX Valued at $21.2 Billion

After raising a funding round of $351 million in late July, Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX became the fourth most valuable privately held, venture-backed tech company in the U.S. SpaceX previously held the sixth spot, but it now joins the top five along with Uber ($69.8 billion), Airbnb ($31 billion), Palantir ($21.3 billion) and WeWork ($20.8 billion).

Tech Trash

The weight of e-waste generated annually worldwide is a frightening 50 million tons, a figure that includes 350,000 cellphones that are thrown away every day. As technology becomes more and more integrated into our lives, there remains the question of what happens to all those devices when they stop working or become obsolete. In 2012, 71 percent of U.S. e-waste ended up in landfills or incinerators, and in 2014, 41.8 million tons of worldwide e-waste was shipped to developing countries like Ghana, India and Pakistan.

Drowsy Driving Detector

While autonomous vehicles are still in the works, humans remain in the driver’s seat and of course bring all of our pitfalls with us, including falling asleep at the wheel. Panasonic, however, is developing artificial intelligence (AI) to detect when you’re drowsy while driving and help wake you up. The system uses an infrared sensor, environment sensor, facial capture camera and “thermal sensation” system to rank drivers in terms of sleepiness. It then adjusts the lighting, airflow and temperature in the car accordingly, helping to keep you awake. The system can currently detect about 1,800 facial expressions and blink parameters to determine whether it needs to spring into action.



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Lauren Harrison Managing Editor

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.

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