In today’s survey of technology news: Microsoft reorganizes to focus on the cloud; NASA to test asteroid deflection technique; kit turns some cars into self-driving vehicles.

Microsoft reorganizes sales force

Microsoft has reorganized its global sales force in an effort to concentrate on selling cloud services instead of standalone software, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The WSJ says it won’t result in immediate layoffs but could result in thousands of job losses later on because of the change.

WSJ: Microsft reorganizes

NASA to test asteroid deflection technique

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to test an asteroid deflection technique on a passing space rock. Massive extinctions of life on Earth have been attributed to asteroid collisions.

NASA has moved the project to the design stage.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) program, designed and managed by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, will create a spacecraft the size of a refrigerator able to deflect an asteroid from a collision course with Earth…if all goes as planned.

It uses a “kinetic impactor technique” that smacks the asteroid in a way that shifts its orbit.

DART will be shot at an asteroid called Didymos approaching Earth in 2022 or 2024, but the asteroid is no actual threat to the planet.

“DART is a critical step in demonstrating we can protect our planet from a future asteroid impact,” said Andy Cheng, DART co-leader. “Since we don’t know that much about their internal structure or composition, we need to perform this experiment on a real asteroid.”

Bolt-on kit turns some cars autonomous

A Silicon Valley startup called Drivge ai, founded by former Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab researchers, is developing a kit intended to transform some cars into self-driving vehicles.

The company, which closed a Series B funding last week, will target enterprise customers. The kit includes radar, LIDAR, and AI software. Targeting large fleets rather than individual vehicles would make the cost of conversion cheaper per vehicle.

The much-touted advantages of self-driving cars include fewer accidents and better fuel economy.

Pilot projects with select customers are planned.

Drive ai