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Volkswagen Unveils First Driverless Robo-taxi

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The Sedric
  • Volkswagen Unveils First Driverless Robo-taxi

Volkswagen Group has unveiled a self-driving concept car, the Sedric, which can drive children to school, drop their parents in the offices, and then look independently for a parking space.

The vehicle, which provides an indication of how robo-taxis could operate in the future, can also collect pre-ordered shopping or meet the owner at the station or airport, according to an online journal, ARS Technica.

Presented last week at the Geneva auto show, one of the world’s most glamorous auto exhibitions, the automaker said the concept car gave a glimpse of the future of personal transportation.

The Sedric is a small driverless pod, similar in stature to those found at Heathrow Airport, London but with a greater level of autonomy, the Telegraph of London reports in its review of the car.

The Sedric is expected to waft through the urban landscape silently with the aid of electric motors.

The idea of developing fully autonomous vehicles that would offer greater comfort and convenience than current cars, while slashing the number of road deaths and truly democratising mobility gave birth to the Sedric, ARS Technica, said, in its report.

It said it was the first concept car built by the Volkswagen Group.

It quoted the car’s Chief Designer, Mr. Michael Mauer, as saying it was developed by Volkswagen Group’s Future Centre Europe in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg.

He said, “We are systematically focusing on our customers, their wishes and requirements for the mobility of the future.

“The Volkswagen Group Future Centres give us the opportunity to conceptualise and develop new ideas of mobile life.”

According to Volkswagen, Sedric will serve as either a shared mobility system operating worldwide or a vehicle from one of the group’s brands that might be owned by an individual.

The company also noted that despite much talk in recent years about future mobility ushering in new ownership models, many people would continue to desire their own automobile in the future.

Volkswagen said it aimed to make the Sedric very simple to operate, using a remote control called the Button: pressing it summons car and identifies the user when the car arrives.

Two wide doors on each side slide open to reveal an airy interior with sofa-style seats facing towards the centre.

No steering wheel

Sedric has no steering wheel, no pedals, and no conventional cockpit controls or instruments.

Volkswagen said this would permit “a completely new sense of well-being in the vehicle-a welcome home feeling.”

According to the reviewer, the front seats fold up to provide more floor area so the rear passengers can stretch out or to house luggage. Air quality is maintained using large bamboo charcoal air filters and a collection of air-purifying plants that sit in front of the rear windscreen.

It said, “Once inside, operation is based on voice commands: you just tell Sedric where you want to go and the route you will prefer to take. Sedric responds with information on the journey time and the current traffic situation.

“Passengers – since there’s no human driver, everyone is a passenger – can sit back and relax or can engage more fully with the journey through a windscreen that is in fact a transparent, high-resolution OLED display. This can provide augmented reality data or can be used as an entertainment centre.”

The Volkswagen’s Chief Digital Officer, Johann Jungwirth, said the company would become a leading mobility provider by 2025 and would “in part become a software and services company” in the process.

Volkswagen quoted an American computer scientist, Alan Kay, as saying, “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” Jungwirth added that Volkswagen already had decades of experience with the hardware.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fintech

OPay Urges Customers to Complete BVN, NIN Verification Following CBN Directive

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Opay

OPay, a prominent financial services firm, has called upon its customers to finalize the verification of their accounts by linking their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) or National Identity Numbers (NIN) in accordance with the recent directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN, in a circular dated December 1, mandated all deposit money banks to enforce a ‘Post no Debit’ restriction on accounts lacking BVN or NIN.

Accounts without BVN would be placed under a ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ status from March 1, as outlined in the circular jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi and Haruna Mustapha, Directors at the Payments System Management Department and Financial Policy and Regulation Department, respectively.

OPay affirmed the CBN’s directive and emphasized the necessity for account holders to complete the verification process.

Dauda Gotring, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of OPay, emphasized the importance of a secure and seamless experience for customers.

He encouraged users to comply with the verification process, reassuring them of the company’s commitment to a smooth process and 24/7 customer support.

OPay provided multiple channels for customer assistance, including in-app self-service, WhatsApp, phone lines, and social media platforms.

The company’s commitment to inclusivity and technological advancement underscores its mission to enhance financial services accessibility across Nigeria.

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MTN Group Ltd. Reports 90% Plunge in Profit Amid Nigeria’s Currency Woes

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MTN

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless service provider, has announced a 90% decline in its full-year profit following the plunge in Nigerian Naira.

The company revealed that its earnings per share for the year ending December fell to a range of 1.07 rand to 3.21 rand (approximately 6 to 17 US cents), a significant drop from 10.71 rand recorded in 2022.

The Nigerian naira, which experienced a 49% depreciation in 2023 and an additional 44% decline this year, has emerged as a significant factor impacting MTN’s financial performance.

As one of the world’s worst-performing currencies against the dollar, the naira’s instability has created a volatile economic environment, prompting concerns among international businesses operating in Nigeria.

The currency crisis, stemming from a shortage of dollars and exacerbated by policy missteps and corruption, has led to an exodus of multinational corporations seeking to repatriate earnings from Africa’s largest economy.

Nigeria, with its burgeoning young population and growing tech sector, has struggled to address economic dysfunction despite its vast natural resources.

MTN Group Ltd., which boasts approximately 77 million customers in Nigeria, historically derives a substantial portion of its earnings from the country.

However, the company’s shares plummeted by as much as 7.2% in early trading following the profit announcement, reflecting investor concerns over the challenging operating environment.

Despite the bleak financial report, MTN highlighted positive metrics such as a 45% increase in data traffic and a 49% surge in mobile money transaction volumes.

However, the company refrained from providing guidance on its earnings margins, further adding to uncertainties surrounding its future financial performance.

Analysts underscored the importance of regulatory stability and economic reforms in Nigeria to restore investor confidence and mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on companies like MTN.

As businesses navigate the economic landscape, the resilience of Nigeria’s currency and regulatory framework remains a critical concern for investors and industry stakeholders alike.

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Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations

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Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.

In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.

Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.

According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”

Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.

About Leatherback

Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.

For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co

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