HopSkipDrive raises $7.4 million round led by school bus operator, Ubtech Robotics is launching Alexa-powered humanoid robot and SpaceX may increase rocket launches next year by 50 percent.

HopSkipDrive Raises $7.4 Million Round Led by School Bus Operator

HopSkipDrive, billed as a child-safe ride sharing service, announced Tuesday that it closed a $7.4 million round led by school bus operator Student Transportation Inc., the Business Journal reports. Student Transportation of Wall Township, N.J. will work with Santa Monica-based HopSkipDrive to expand its ridesharing services inside and outside of California as an alternative to school bus transportation, particularly in areas where there aren’t enough students to fill a bus.

Ubtech Robotics Launches Alexa-Powered Humanoid Robot

Ubtech Robotics announced on Tuesday the launch of Lynx, a humanoid robot with Amazon Alexa baked in, SlashGear reports. The robot utilizes Amazon’s personal assistant along with Ubtech’s robotics tech to offer a variety of services and abilities, such as a surveillance mode for keeping an eye on your home while you’re away and playing music via voice commands.

SpaceX May Increase Rocket Launches Next Year by 50 Percent

SpaceX, now on track to more than double its personal best for launches conducted in a single year, wants to further accelerate its launch pace in 2018 by perhaps 10 or more missions, SpaceNews reports. SpaceX is on track to launch 20 missions this year. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president, said the demand coming from the satellite telecommunications market for missions to geostationary transfer orbit will weigh heavily on SpaceX’s ultimate launch rate next year.

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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