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Transportation

Self-Driving Cars Will Be In 30 US Cities By the End of Next Year 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-not-yours dept.
schwit1 sends this report from the New York Observer: Automated vehicle pilot projects will roll out in the U.K. and in six to 10 U.S. cities this year, with the first unveiling projected to be in Tampa Bay, Florida as soon as late spring. The following year, trial programs will launch in 12 to 20 more U.S. locations, which means driverless cars will be on roads in up to 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2016. The trials will be run by Comet LLC, a consulting firm focused on automated vehicle commercialization. ... they’re focusing on semi-controlled areas and that the driverless vehicles will serve a number of different purposes—both public and private. The vehicles themselves—which are all developed by Veeo Systems—will even vary from two-seaters to full-size buses that can transport 70 people. At some locations, the vehicles will drive on their own paths, occasionally crossing vehicle and pedestrian traffic, while at others, the vehicles will be completely integrated with existing cars.
Transportation

Robocops Being Used As Traffic Police In Democratic Republic of Congo 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-citizen dept.
mspohr writes "The Guardian describes robocops used in Kinshasa to direct traffic: "The solar-powered aluminum robots are huge, towering over the jammed streets of Kinshasa, as cars and motorcycles jostle for road room, their horns blasting. Each hand on the odd-looking machines — built to withstand the year-round hot climate — is fitted with green and red lights that regulate the flow of traffic in the sprawling city of nine million. The robots are also equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras that record the flow of traffic and send real-time images to the police station. These are second generation robots designed by a Congolese association of women engineers. Although the humanoids look more like giant toys than real policemen, motorists have given them a thumbs up. 'There are certain drivers who don't respect the traffic police. But with the robot it will be different. We should respect the robot,' taxi driver Poro Zidane told AFP."
Sci-Fi

Harrison Ford's Plane Crashes On Golf Course 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the kessel-run-practice dept.
First time accepted submitter dark.nebulae writes Harrison Ford's PT-22 crash landed on a golf course in Los Angeles. From the article: "Actor Harrison Ford was hospitalized Thursday afternoon after a single-engine plane he was piloting crashed onto a Venice golf course shortly after takeoff. Just before 4:30 p.m. a family member confirmed to NBC4 that the actor is 'fine' and suffered a few gashes. Aerial footage of the minutes after the crash showed the small single-engine vintage World War II trainer plane crashed on the ground at Penmar Golf Club, and one person being treated by paramedics and being transported to a hospital. Firefighters described his injuries were described as 'moderate.'"
Transportation

Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car? 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the easy-driver dept.
agent elevator writes Not as strange a question as it seems, writes Mark Harris at IEEE Spectrum : "Self-driving cars promise a future where you can watch television, sip cocktails, or snooze all the way home. But what happens when something goes wrong? Today's drivers have not been taught how to cope with runaway acceleration, unexpected braking, or a car that wants to steer into a wall." The California DMV is considering something that would be similar to requirements for robocar test-driver training." Hallie Siegel points out this article arguing that we need to be careful about how many rules we make for self-driving cars before they become common. Governments and lawmakers across the world are debating how to best regulate autonomous cars, both for testing, and for operation. Robocar expert Brad Templeton argues that that there is a danger that regulations might be drafted long before the shape of the first commercial deployments of the technology take place.
Security

Uber Discloses Database Breach, Targets GitHub With Subpoena 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-day-another-breach dept.
New submitter SwampApe tips news that Uber has revealed a database breach from 2014. The company says the database contained names and diver's license numbers of their drivers, about 50,000 of which were accessed by an unauthorized third party. As part of their investigation into who was behind the breach, Uber has filed a lawsuit which includes a subpoena request for GitHub. "Uber's security team knows the public IP address used by the database invader, and wants to link that number against the IP addresses and usernames of anyone who looked at the GitHub-hosted gist in question – ID 9556255 – which we note today no longer exists. It's possible the gist contained a leaked login key, or internal source code that contained a key that should not have been made public."
Transportation

Hyperloop Testing Starts Next Year 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the series-of-tubes dept.
neanderslob writes: In 2013, Elon Musk told us about a theoretical transportation system he'd been thinking about for a while. It was called "hyperloop," and it was a tube-based system capable of sending people and things at speeds of up to 800mph. Now, a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to start construction on an actual hyperloop next year. The idea is to build it to serve Quay Valley (a proposed 75,000-resident solar power city in Kings County, California). The project will be paid for with $100 million the company expects to raise through a direct public offering in the third quarter of this year. The track itself will be a 5-mile loop and won't reach anywhere close to the 800mph Musk proposed in his white paper — but it's a start.
Australia

Researchers Create World's First 3D-Printed Jet Engines 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-fly-the-3d-printed-skies dept.
Zothecula writes: Working with colleagues from Deakin University and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), researchers from Australia's Monash University have created the world's first 3D-printed jet engine. While they were at it, they created the world's second one, too. One of them is currently on display at the International Air Show in Avalon, Australia, while the other can be seen at the headquarters of French aerospace company Microturbo, in Toulouse.
Businesses

Teamsters Seek To Unionize More Tech Shuttle Bus Drivers In Silicon Valley 301

Posted by samzenpus
from the shuttle-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about the effort to unionize shuttle drivers in Silicon Valley. "Shuttle bus drivers for five prominent tech companies will decide whether to unionize on Friday in a vote that has the potential to dramatically expand organized labor's territory in Silicon Valley and embolden others in the tech industry's burgeoning class of service workers to demand better working conditions. Drivers who ferry Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, eBay and Zynga workers -- all employed by contractor Compass Transportation -- will decide whether to join the Teamsters union in an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Union leaders say they want to bring the drivers into the fold so they can negotiate better pay and benefits -- as well as relief from a split shift that has the drivers working morning and evening shifts with no pay in between. A contract the Teamsters struck over the weekend for Facebook's shuttle bus drivers, who work for Loop Transportation, offers a glimpse of what may be possible: paid sick and vacation time, full health care coverage and wages of up to $27.50 an hour."
Businesses

Amazon Files Patent For Mobile 3D Printing Delivery Trucks 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-your-almost-functional-lego-replica-in-30-minutes-or-it's-free dept.
ErnieKey writes: Amazon has been inching its way into the 3D printing space over the past 10 months or so. This week, however, the U.S. Patent office published a filing by Amazon for mobile 3D printing delivery trucks. The trucks would have 3D printers and CNC machines on board and be able to communicate with a central hub. When a product is ordered, the mobile 3D printing truck that's closest to the consumer's home or office would then get the order, print it, and deliver it as soon as possible.
Mars

Mars One Does Not Renew Contracts For Robotic Missions 110

Posted by timothy
from the first-one-was-good-enough dept.
braindrainbahrain writes Mars One is, of course, the highly speculative, low credibility project to land humans on Mars after a one-way trip. In 2013 they had announced that two contracts had been awarded to the aerospace industry to develop a Mars orbiter and a Mars lander to carry a science experiment payload to the surface. Both contracts have been completed, but so far, Mars One has no immediate plans to renew the contracts and pursue further development of the crafts.
Transportation

The Best, and Worst, Places To Drive Your Electric Car 212

Posted by timothy
from the consult-a-chart-of-gas-tax-rates-too dept.
sciencehabit writes For those tired of winter, you're not alone. Electric cars hate the cold, too. Researchers have conducted the first investigation into how electric vehicles fare in different U.S. climates. The verdict (abstract): Electric car buyers in the chilly Midwest and sizzling Southwest get less bang for their buck, where poor energy efficiency and coal power plants unite to turn electric vehicles into bigger polluters.
Transportation

Delivery Drones: More Feasible If They Come By Truck 129

Posted by timothy
from the last-mile-problem dept.
malachiorion writes Amazon's drone delivery service was never going to work. It was too autonomous, and simply too risky to be approved by the FAA in the timeframe that Jeff Bezos specified (as early as this year). And yet, the media is still hung up on Amazon, and much of the coverage of the FAA's newly released drone rules center around Prime Air, a program that was essentially a PR stunt. Meanwhile, a Cincinnati-based company that makes electric delivery trucks has an idea that's been largely ignored, but that's much more feasible. The Horsefly launches from and returns to a delivery truck once it reaches a given neighborhood, with a mix of autonomous flight to destination, driver-specified drop-off locations, and remote-piloted landings. The company will still need to secure exemptions from the FAA, but unlike Amazon, they at least have a chance. There's more detail about Amp's technically impressive (and seemingly damn tough) drone in my story for Popular Science.
Transportation

Federal Study: Marijuana Use Doesn't Increase Auto Crash Rates 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-still-don't-do-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After the legalization of marijuana in multiple states around the U.S., many are worried about a corresponding uptick in car crashes as people drive while under the influence of pot. But according to a new federal study (PDF) commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those fears seem unfounded. They report that after adjusting for other factors (people who tend to drive after using marijuana also tend to be more crash-prone in general), there was no statistically significant increase in crash rates by drivers who tested positive for the drug. It's still a bad idea to drive high, but driving drunk is far, far worse: "One substance was shown to have a major influence on crashes: alcohol. The study confirmed the enormous danger of drinking and driving, even after age and sex adjustment: drivers with a 0.05% blood-alcohol level were found to be twice as likely to be in a crash. For a person weighing 180 to 190 pounds, that could be a single can of beer, glass of wine, or shot of liquor. At 0.08% (two drinks), the likelihood is quadrupled, and at .20% (four drinks or more), the risk is higher by 23 times."
Mars

Elon Musk To Write a Book About Earth Sustainability and Mars Colonization 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the use-your-words dept.
MarkWhittington writes Elon Musk has taken on quite a number of projects with a goal of changing the world while making lots of money doing so. He proposes to revolutionize space travel through his commercial launch company, SpaceX. His more earthly endeavors have included electric cars, home solar power, a transportation system called the Hyperloop, a space based Internet and, most recently, a battery that can power a house. Now, according to a story in Business Insider, Musk will open his mind on his views on "sustainability" was well as Mars colonization in book form.
Transportation

Apple Hiring Automotive Experts 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the cars-with-just-one-button dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A report at the Financial Times (paywalled) says Apple is on an aggressive hiring push to pick up automotive experts. Recent rumors suggest Apple is putting together a transportation research lab, and nobody outside the company is quite sure why. It's unlikely they's want to build an entire car themselves, but quite possible they see a big space for Apple technology within motor vehicles, much as Google seems to. They already have CarPlay, and it will doubtless grow, but we still don't have anything approaching a dominant platform for car software. Whatever they're working on, it looks like the competition for more robust computer technology in cars is heating up.
EU

EU Preparing Vast Air Passenger Database 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-spy-the-friendly-skies dept.
jfruh writes: Despite privacy concerns and doubts over its usefulness, a plan to track passengers entering or leaving the European Union in a series of national databases is likely to become reality by the end of the year. Legislation working its way through the European Parliament will authorize European nations to set up databases of the sort already in use in the UK, and to share information with each other. All the EU parties except the Greens are in favor.
Transportation

Seoul City To Introduce Uber Rival Premium Taxi Service 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the different-ride dept.
An anonymous reader writes Seoul city has today announced that it will be launching a luxury taxi service this summer to rival the global cab-hailing app Uber, adding to the obstacles that the U.S.-based firm is currently facing in the Asian market. The government's move comes after the country's transport department rejected a proposal from Uber last week for a new driver registration, and enforced its stance against Uber operating in the area. The new premium service will be introduced in Seoul city in August with 100 luxury and mid-sized saloon cars. "We will provide a premium tax service which excels that of Uber..." the Seoul government said in a statement. It stated that a taxi association would be partners of the scheme to help establish the service, but added no detail regarding which company they would be working with.
Transportation

Mooted: An Undersea Link From Finland To Estonia 149

Posted by timothy
from the to-send-along-massages-from-sweden dept.
jones_supa writes A train link between Finland and continental Europe could become a reality 15 or 20 years from now. A study carried out by Sweco Consulting recommends moving ahead with negotiations on building a railway tunnel between the capital cities Helsinki and Tallinn. According to a preliminary report out Wednesday, an undersea link would shorten the travel time between the two capitals from the current minimum 90 minutes by ship to around 30 minutes by rail. Estimated ticket cost is about 40 euros. The study, commissioned by the two cities, estimates that the undersea route could be completed after 2030 and would cost somewhere between 9 and 13 billion euros.
NASA

SpaceX Signs Lease Agreement With Air Force For Landing Pad 53

Posted by timothy
from the military-musk-complex dept.
PaisteUser writes Space News reports that SpaceX has signed a historic agreement to allow construction of a landing pad for Falcon 9 booster stages. From the article: "The U.S. Air Force announced Feb. 10 that SpaceX has signed a five-year lease for Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 13, which was used to launch Atlas rockets and missiles between 1956 and 1978. In its new role, it will serve as a landing pad for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy booster cores launched from Florida, the Air Force said. Financial terms of the lease were not disclosed." Patrick Air Force Base also provides the documentation used for the environmental impact study which details out how the landing pad will be constructed.
EU

ESA Complete Spaceplane Test Flight; IXV Safely Returns To Earth 56

Posted by timothy
from the splashdown dept.
hypnosec writes The European Space Agency has successfully completed the first test flight of its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), as planned, wherein it saw the wingless spaceplane land in one piece in the Pacific Ocean. A Vega VV04 rocket took the IXV to an altitude of 340 km, from which it separated and continued up to 412 km. Reentering from this suborbital path, it recorded a vast amount of data from more than 300 advanced and conventional sensors. According to ESA the spaceplane few east around the globe during its descent and finally landed safely in the the Pacific Ocean west of the Galapagos Islands at about 15:20 GMT.