The first unmanned, autonomous passenger flight

March 22, 2024

The first unmanned, autonomous passenger flight
Hi all!

According to data analyzed by New York-based SpareRoom, a platform to search for roommates, Boston is the second-best city to find people interested in tech.

Boston beat out metro areas such as Austin, Seattle, and even Silicon Valley among potential roommates with tech interests.
This Operations Update is provided with support from:
2024 semiconductor global sales are predicted to exceed the previous year’s by 12-15%.

The automotive industry will remain the most important revenue driver, however, AI is closing the gap at lightning speed.

Here is an interesting idea related to the recent supply chain bullwhip effect. Buy excess electronics inventory at reduced pricing. Our newsletter contributor, EPE Components, has access to large OEM inventories and might just save you a few $$$; or, if your company needs to shed some electronics inventory, they also offer great services to dispose of some of your inventory.

Contact EPE Components if you have inventory concerns or need some components to fill a gap.
The State of Manufacturing

The Manufacturing PMI Index contracted in February to 47.8%, down 1.3 percentage points compared to January’s reading.

New Orders and Production moved back into contraction territory.

Pricing is decreasing after increasing in January.
Top CEOs are closely following the supply chain situation, like the recent global conflicts, climate change, and an overall complex geopolitical picture that is leading to higher freight rates and changes in supply chain processes. They fear that this volatility is the new normal.
This Startup Update is provided with support from:
Boston-area companies raised around $410 million in February.

For Robotics, the robot manicure machine-maker 10Beauty raised $17 million in a Series A extension.

Cleantech Ascend Elements, an EV battery recycling unicorn, raised $162 million in new equity investments.

Envisioning Access, a nonprofit based in Boston, is collaborating with startups and universities to create assistive technologies. These technologies aim to empower adults with disabilities, fostering independence and offering an alternative to monkeys as service animals.

Staples is partnering with robotic packaging company RightHand Robotics of Charlestown in a multi-year agreement to bring robotic picking systems to Staples’ nationwide network of warehouses.
Want to meet some really smaaat engineers?

MassRobotics is hosting a technical career fair at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on May 2nd from 3:30pm - 6:00pm (Co-located with Robotics Summit & Expo) and is inviting you to join them as a hiring company!

You can request a table here:
If you are interested in learning more about the cleantech industry and how to develop your own cleantech venture join the 2024 Cleantech Open Northeast Boston Kickoff Party that was postponed to March 27.
The SBIR Targeted Technologies (START) Grants help Massachusetts-based startups convert research into businesses and jobs in Massachusetts.

Find out more and apply here.

If you want to find out how to apply for an SBIR grant, join our long-time MassVenture friend Stacy Swider at the Massachusetts Founders Network event. Register here:
Applications are open for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Accelerate Program (MMAP). Applications are due April 3rd and can be done here.
Our monthly survey
In our February survey, we asked about your company's biggest supply chain challenges for 2024.

The majority of our respondents said that supply planning & forecasts (14.3%) and rising costs (12.7%) are their biggest challenges for the year.
A report conducted by Barracuda Networks shows that small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals than larger companies. They said that an employee of a small business with less than 100 employees will experience 350% more social engineering attacks than an employee of a larger enterprise.

But just a few weeks ago, Pharmacies and hospitals nationwide were coping with a debilitating cyberattack against the prescription processor Change Healthcare, owned by America’s biggest health insurer, UnitedHealth.

Change Healthcare said that it's unclear if any patient info was stolen. Drugstores nationwide were initially unable to run patients’ insurance claims.
Evidence that bigger is not necessarily better.

So we'd like to know:
Which measures is your company taking to prevent cyberattacks?
Regular cybersecurity training for employees.
Regular audits and assessments.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) mechanisms in place.
Implementing emerging technologies (e.g., AI, blockchain) for cybersecurity.
Access to sensitive information restricted based on job roles.
Other (let us know!).

OpenAI might’ve found a body for ChatGPT’s soul: Figure, a less-than-two-year-old robotics company that doesn’t have a commercial product yet but wants to put billions of C-3PO types in workplaces and homes worldwide. PoisedToRevolutionizeHowWeWork
(Source: Tech Crunch)

A Canadian university is removing 29 vending machines from campus after students discovered the touch-screen snack dispensers had been secretly monitoring them through tiny cameras. Surveillance-FreeSnacking
(Source: Morning Brew)

OpenAI unveiled its text-to-video AI tool. Named Sora, the tool can generate videos up to a minute long based on a user text prompt. MindBlowing
(Source: The Verge)
The Chinese firm EHang reached an important milestone: they flew a completely unmanned, autonomous passenger drone on its first commercial flight using 16 different rotors and fueled entirely by an electric battery.
(Source: VOX)
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