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Hashtag Trending Dec. 13 – Fully self-driving cars; Activision strike; DDR5 memory scalping

Mercedes-Benz becomes the first automaker with a fully autonomous driving system, workers are staging an open-ended strike at Activision Blizzard, and scalping is rife in the memory market.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Monday, December 13, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Last Thursday, Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to pass regulatory approval for Level 3 autonomous driving system. The new system, scheduled to debut in the company’s new S-Class and EQS Sedans, will fully control the vehicle on sections of highways at up to 60km per hour. Unlike lower levels of automatic driving assist features that needed the driver’s attention, Mercedes-Benz solution is a true automatic driving feature that allows the drivers to divert their eyes off the road. The system was approved by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, but only for pre-mapped, geofenced, and closed-access highways.

A group of Activision Blizzard workers have staged an open-ended strike. The group, calling itself A better ABK Workers Alliance, has proclaimed that the strike will be ongoing until the company gives workers proper representation. The group has helped organize two previous employee walkouts in protest of the harassment and gender discrimination at the company, as highlighted by several high-profile lawsuits in the previous months. To help offset the lost wages for the workers on strike, the group has set up the ABK Strike Fund, which has raised over $100,000 in 12 hours.

Supply shortage and scalping are now plaguing computer memory. As one Tom’s Hardware article pointed out, scalpers are selling DDR5 memory kits at more than six times the retail price. DDR5 memory is more power-efficient and offers faster performance than DDR4, and with support officially arriving with Intel’s Alder Lake processors, the PC market is starting to transition to the newer technology. However, mass adoption is being stalled by short supply caused by their power management chips. This caused the problem we’re seeing now: a $300 kit of DDR5 memory being flipped for as much as $2,500 on eBay.

Now for something a bit different. A newly released eyedrop could provide sharper vision for six to 10 hours. First approved by the FDA in October, Vuity is designed to help people with age-related blurry near vision known as presbyopia. As the eye ages, it slowly loses the ability to focus on close-up objects. Most people will eventually only be able to focus on things a yard or two away by the time they hit 50. Vuity reduces the need to put on reading glasses for people with presbyopia, but a permanent solution has yet to be discovered.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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