(GeekWire Photo) Amazon has acquired Canvas Technology, a Boulder, Colo., robotics company that powers autonomous vehicles in industrial settings. Amazon for years now has pushed to automate parts of its warehouses, deploying robots alongside human workers. This acquisition continues that focus, building on Amazon’s $775 million acquisition of robotics company Kiva Systems in 2012. The company’s technology essentially boils down to driverless cars for warehouses. Canvas Technology uses “spatial artificial intelligence” and state of the art cameras to help vehicles autonomously navigate through areas with a lot of moving parts, including people on foot and operating equipment. the acquisition, and we’ve reached out to Amazon for further comment.
(Bigstock Photo) It’s easier to win cloud business when it’s easier for potential customers to move their data into your cloud, and Google thinks a startup called Alooma can help move that needle. Google announced Tuesday that it has acquired for an undisclosed amount, although this deal likely didn’t break the bank given that Alooma had raised $15 million, a relatively small amount of money these days. Alooma’s software makes it easier to move data from where it was generated, such as a sales database or application, into data warehouses like Snowflake or Google’s Big Query for detailed analysis. It sounds like Google plans to use Alooma as a tool for migrating customer data into Google Cloud. “This simplified migration path also opens the door for customers to take advantage of all the technologies we have to offer, including analytics, security, AI and machine learning,” . “Data is the lifeblood of business and has only become more important as the volume of information the world produces grows,” Alooma co-founders Yoni Broyde and Yair Weinberger . While everyone agrees that data is the engine that drives so much of the modern world — for better or worse — data can be very hard to move from one place to another. The deal comes as on the company. Last week that Google Cloud will “accelerate the growth even faster than we have to date,” which the company is going to have to do should it want to make a dent in a cloud computing market dominated by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Official art for Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. (Obsidian press kit) This weekend marked Microsoft’s, the fourth-annual showcase for the Xbox family of products, held in Mexico City. A lot was announced, including an upcoming expansion for Forza Horizon 4, but the biggest story of the show was that . Both studios are legendary within the video game industry for making big, immersive, and popular role-playing games like Wasteland 2, The Bard’s Tale, Fallout: New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity. On Microsoft’s side, this puts two veteran studios in the company’s portfolio, which offers the prospect that the next couple of big computer role-playing games (CRPGs) will be exclusive to Microsoft platforms. This is especially useful as talk has recently begun to spin up concerning the next , with rumors of a new Xbox coming in 2020. If both Obsidian and InXile make new Microsoft-exclusive CRPGs, it would be a big feather in the company’s cap going forward, particularly in the enthusiast market and press. For Obsidian and InXile, both studios have recently been reliant on in order to make their games, and crowdfunding tends to be driven by the nostalgia market. Access to Microsoft’s funding would allow both companies to explore new intellectual properties, take their time with new projects, and work with more flexible budgets. (You could draw a parallel between Obsidian/InXile and the Seattle-based Harebrained Studios, which was in a similar boat until .) was founded in 2003 in Irvine, California by veterans of the then-recently-shuttered Black Isle Entertainment, a division of Interplay. While working at Black Isle, the Obsidian team was responsible for some of the most popular CRPGs of the late 1990s and early 2000s, including Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Neverwinter Nights. As an independent developer, Obsidian’s first big project was 2004’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Since then, the company has done work-for-hire in several major franchises, such as South Park, Sonic The Hedgehog, and Fallout, before becoming one of the first big crowdfunding successes in gaming with its throwback series Pillars of Eternity. was founded in 2002 by Brian Fargo, one of Interplay’s co-founders, after his departure from the company; InXile’s name is taken from about being Interplay’s “leader in exile.” The new company’s first title was 2004’s The Bard’s Tale, an action-RPG that gently mocked the conventions of the genre and starred Cary Elwes as the voice of its main character. After making Hunted: The Demon’s Forge for Bethesda, InXile got back on the industry’s radar by revisiting the old post-apocalyptic Wasteland franchise, using money from a successful Kickstarter to make 2014’s Wasteland 2, which was recently ported to the Nintendo Switch. InXile currently maintains studios in Newport Beach, Calif. and New Orleans, La., and is currently working on Wasteland III. Other big announcements that came out of X018 include: “Fortune Island,” the new expansion for the Microsoft-exclusive racing game , which brings players to the stormy northern British Isles on December 13th; All Microsoft Game Pass holders receiving a copy of the smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on November 12th; New content packs coming for State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves; and, The official debut of Void Bastards (no, really, that’s the actual title), a bizarre strategy-based first-person shooter from one of the co-founders of the late Irrational Games, makers of the BioShock series.