The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending October 20, 2023, closed at 2,944.04 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was down -2.63% (or 79.56 basis points). Twenty-four RDWI members lost value last week from -0.02% (Bristol-Myers Squibb) to -5.91% (Oracle). General Motors was unchanged for the week (29.66).
The University of California at Berkeley and SKS Partners, San Francisco, last week announced the creation of a $2 billion R&D hub to be located on 36 acres of the former Moffett Field air base in Mountain View, California. Named the Berkeley Space Center, the proposed R&D facility is expected to employ about 6,000 researchers working in astronautics, quantum computing, climate studies, and the social sciences. The plan calls for 1.4 million ft2 of Class-A and R&D space, a conference center, academic facilities, retail shops, 18 acres of open space, and student and faculty housing. The cost has been committed over the next 10 years from various private funding sources. The center is a partnership between UC Berkeley, NASA Ames Research Center, developer SKS Partners, and several construction companies.
RDW Index member IBM, Armonk, New York, announced last week the signing of three memorandum of understandings (MOUs) with India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to set up a national artificial intelligence (AI) Innovation Platform backed by India’s AI program. A new research center for a semiconductor R&D ecosystem will be formed under the agreement with efforts to build quantum services and related infrastructures throughout the country. The Digital India Corporation formed between IBM and the ministry will help set up a unique AI innovation ecosystem that will focus exclusively on AI skills, development, and integration of advanced foundation models.
Airbus, Blagnac, France, announced last week that it will set up an R&D center in South Korea. The center will be key to expanding Airbus’s industrial footprint in South Korea through new partnerships in next-generation helicopter development and joint space ventures.
Rolls-Royce Holdings, London, announced last week that it will cut 2,000 to 2,500 jobs worldwide as part of its transformation program and strategy review. The cuts are expected to create a more agile business better able to serve customers, deliver cost efficiencies, and help improve its supply chain and procurement operations. The company’s engineering technology and safety teams will be merged into a single team, responsible for product safety, engineering standards, process methods, and tools.
Nvidia, Santa Clara, California, and Foxconn Technology Group, Taipei, Taiwan, announced last week that they are expanding their partnership to develop a new class of data centers that can power AI services. The companies will use their technologies to build data centers that can help digitize manufacturing and develop AI-powered electric vehicles (EVs) and robotics among other applications. Foxconn is expected to build many systems based on Nvidia’s CPUs (central processing units), GPUs (graphics processing units), and networking for its global customer base.
The Cruise driverless car unit of RDW Index member General Motors, Detroit, is facing a new safety investigation by regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Washington, D.C., following reports of its autonomous vehicles exhibiting risky behavior around pedestrians. The NHTSA is aware of four incidents, including two resulting in injuries and its is seeking to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem. One Cruise vehicle with no passengers hit a pedestrian and had to be lifted off the injured pedestrian by rescue crews.
The U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C., last week stated that it would significantly constrict exports of AI chips, such as those manufactured by Nvidia and Intel, to sell existing products in China and to introduce new products that circumvent the rules. The move aims to close loopholes in export controls announced a year ago. The updated rules expand the U.S. government’s authority to determine what products U.S. companies can and cannot sell in the name of national security. Shipments of high-end AI chips are now banned without a license.
The chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, and other fed personnel last week noted that the run-up in long-term treasury yields could allow the central bank to suspend its long run of interest rate increases if progress on inflation continues. They noted that continued swift rate increases could slow the economy. The officials now claim that the central bank can wait until early 2024 to decide whether rapid rate increases over the past 20 months have done enough to keep inflation heading lower.
GM’s Cruise self-driving unit and RDW Index member Honda, Tokyo, announced last week that they plan to begin offering a driverless ride service in Tokyo in early 2026. With the service, customers will be able to use an app on their smartphone to call a self-driving vehicle to pick them up and drop them off at a designated destination. The service will start with a few dozen self-driving vehicles operating in central Tokyo and later expand to a fleet of 500. The companies plan to establish a joint venture to provide the autonomous ride service in the first half of 2024 and aim to eventually expand beyond Tokyo.
Pharmacy chain CVS Health, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, announced last week that it plans to pull some of the most common decongestants from its shelves and will no longer sell them after U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulators determined that an ingredient, phenylephrine, doesn’t work as it was expected. Oral products that contain the ingredient include Sudafed PE. The ingredient was first permitted for use in 1938 and didn’t go through the rigorous clinical trials that regulators require today for medications.
R&D World’s R&D Index is a weekly stock market summary of the top international companies involved in R&D. The top 25 industrial R&D spenders in 2020 were selected based on the latest listings from Schonfeld & Associates’ June 2020 R&D Ratios & Budgets. These 25 companies include pharmaceutical (10 companies), automotive (6 companies), and ICT (9 companies) which invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spending in the world by government, industries and academia combined, according to R&D World’s 2021 Global R&D Funding Forecast. The stock prices used in the R&D World Index are tabulated from NASDAQ, NYSE, and OTC common stock prices for the companies selected at the close of stock trading business on the Friday preceding the online publication of the R&D World Index.