Waymo adds 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs to its self-driving car service

March 27, 2018 by  
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Waymo, an autonomous vehicle company owned by Google ‘s parent company Alphabet, will add 20,000 all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUVs to its self-driving car fleet over the next two years. The stylish I-PACE SUV will be one of several vehicles available for use in the company’s self-driving car service set to open in 2018. “This year in 2018, starting in Phoenix, Arizona — members of the public will be able to take these fully self-driving cars anywhere within our service area,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said . “To work, to school, to the grocery store. Anywhere they’d go with a typical car.” Waymo’s Arizona debut comes amid the recent news that an Arizona woman was struck and killed by a self-driving car operated by Waymo’s rival Uber. Waymo recently reached a $245 million settlement with Uber over allegations that Uber had stolen trade secrets regarding Waymo’s LIDAR system. The Arizona Department of Transportation has suspended Uber from testing its autonomous vehicles in the state, while Waymo remains on the road. Uber has also shut-down similar autonomous vehicle programs in Toronto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh while investigations into the crash continue. Related: Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash The 20,000 Waymo I-PACE SUVs would be capable of servicing up to one million rides per day. In expanding its operations, Waymo emphasizes its safety record. “We’ve created 20,000 individual test scenarios for our cars to test on,” said Krafcik. The announcement of a substantial vehicle fleet for the Phoenix roll-out demonstrates that Waymo has taken a significant step forward in the race to pioneer the world of self-driving cars . The upcoming trials should demonstrate the challenges and opportunities of autonomous vehicles in greater detail. Via Mashable Images via Waymo

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Waymo adds 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs to its self-driving car service

Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

March 27, 2018 by  
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Researchers have crafted a new liquid substance that can be sprayed onto the surface of the water above vulnerable coral reefs , shielding them from intense UV and visible light beaming down from the Sun . In doing so, the spray may help to defend reefs from extreme bleaching events. 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, the biodegradable spray is made from a natural lipid and calcium carbonate, a key component of coral reefs. “It is white so it reflects and scatters all the light which hits the ocean surface,” study researcher Andrew Negri told the Sydney Morning Herald . Laboratory tests revealed that the spray was capable of reducing the amount of light reaching underwater coral by 20 percent. “In the laboratory, it actually stays on the surface for several weeks, but in the ocean it could be broken up by wave action and moved around by the currents,” explained Negri. The spray will quickly biodegrade after it is broken up. Trials in a real-world environment will begin soon to refine the spray and make it more resilient to sometimes turbulent waters . Related: Spraying spiders with graphene helps them spin webs 6 times stronger than normal Conservationists are enthused about the idea of using the spray to protect acute vulnerabilities in coral reefs. “The idea being that you could in the future, knowing there is going to be hot days ahead… spray this film on top of key reefs… and this will act as a bit of a shield… almost like an umbrella, to protect these reefs underneath and the animals underneath,” Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden told the Sydney Morning Herald . “It’s important to note that this is not intended to be a solution that can be applied over the whole 348,000 square kilometres of Great Barrier Reef ,” Marsden noted. “That would never be practical, but it could be deployed on a smaller, local level to protect high value or high-risk areas of reef.” Via The Sydney Morning Herald Images via Depositphotos (2 , 3 )

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Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

Most active volcano in Europe ‘sliding into the sea’

March 27, 2018 by  
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Volcanic eruptions or lava flows you’ve heard of, but what about a volcano sliding into the sea? Scientists say that’s exactly what’s happening to Mount Etna, which The Open University described as the most active volcano in Europe. It’s the first time scientists have directly observed anything like it, and it could have disturbing consequences in the future. “Constant movement could contribute to a major landslide along Etna’s coast, causing devastating tsunamis to surrounding areas.” Mount Etna in Italy is headed towards the Mediterranean Sea. Researchers have observed parts of volcanoes move, but according to the BBC , these scientists think this is the first time anyone has directly observed basement sliding of a whole active volcano. They drew on 11 years of GPS measurements all over Etna to make the discovery. Related: Mount Etna eruption creates a display of fire, ash, and lightning over Sicily The Open University ‘s John Murray, lead author of the study on the work, said Mount Etna is moving 14 millimeters (mm) a year toward the Mediterranean. “While 14 mm might not seem much, previous studies of long-extinct volcanoes found those sliding downslope in a similar way have resulted in catastrophic landslides later in their history,” Murray said in the university’s statement. Should we be worried? Etna might not slide into the sea in our lifetimes, so local residents needn’t be afraid, but “continued sliding for hundreds or thousands of years could cause it to become dangerously unstable,” Murray said. He told the BBC scientists should monitor the motion to see if it accelerates. Mount Etna’s movement may impact research today, however; Murray said it could interfere with signals that clue scientists into where magma is. It could be trickier to monitor the likelihood of an eruption. The Bulletin of Volcanology published the research online late last week; scientists from Université Clermont Auvergne in France and Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom contributed. + The Open University + Bulletin of Volcanology Via the BBC Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Self driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run

October 26, 2016 by  
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You can now buy beer shipped by a self-driving truck . Autonomous truck company Otto , which was founded by two former Google employees and has now joined with Uber , just made history with the ” world’s first shipment by a self-driving truck .” They transported 51,744 Budweiser beer cans around 120 miles through Colorado . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0Kzb3haK8 An Otto truck ferried the beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, passing through the Denver downtown area on the way. A professional driver was present in the truck, but monitored the vehicle while in the sleeper berth rather than the driver’s seat. The truck was equipped with lidar sensors, radar, and cameras to navigate the Colorado roads, and steered, braked, and accelerated without any human help the whole trip. According to Otto, the state of Colorado offered full support for the venture. Related: Two ex-Google employees are turning existing trucks into autonomous vehicles According to an Otto blog post on the momentous drive, “When you’ll see a truck driving down the road with nobody in the front seat, you’ll know that it’s highly unlikely to get into a collision, drive aggressively, or waste a single drop of fuel.” Otto envisions their self-driving trucks could help drivers. In a blog post on joining Uber , they cited an article from The Atlantic that said about a third of 3.5 million U.S. truckers will face a serious accident during their careers. Also, turnover in the trucking industry is rapid; companies lose around 90 percent of drivers yearly as the drivers seek better opportunities. When Otto joined with Uber they hoped to create a freight network that would create such opportunities for drivers. Otto said, “Our self-driving trucks will allow drivers to rest while their truck is moving, and our platform will ensure drivers can easily find loads and are paid fairly…Self-driving trucks together with a marketplace create a virtuous cycle where everyone benefits.” + Otto Images via Otto and Otto Facebook

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Self driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run

GM exec confirms plans to launch a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV with Lyft

July 20, 2016 by  
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A General Motors executive just confirmed that the automaker is working on an autonomous version of the upcoming Chevy Bolt EV . The self-driving Bolt will be the automaker’s first fully autonomous vehicle , and it will be available to Lyft drivers as part of the automaker’s $500 billion investment in the ride-sharing company. Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer of autonomous tech at GM , recently revealed to Tech Insider that the autonomous Chevy Bolt will be here in the near future. “We have not made that announcement yet, but what I would say is this is all coming much faster than people anticipate, so I’ll say that much. We have been transparent about that,” Fletcher stated. Related: Chevy unveils first pre-production Bolt EV ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 debut While GM has yet to reveal an expected arrival date of the autonomous Chevy Bolt EV , prototypes of the self-driving Bolt are currently being driven around San Francisco by Cruise Automation – the self-driving car startup that GM bought earlier this year. It’s being reported that GM and Lyft could start testing autonomous vehicles on public roads by the end of the year. The 2017 Chevy Bolt with its 200-mile driving range is expected to enter production by the end of the year. “What I would say is this car is a big part of a transformation of transportation and mobility,” GM’s Pam Fletcher concluded about the future of the Chevy Bolt. + General Motors Via Tech Insider All images @ Cruise Automation and General Motors

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Giant glittering dance floor inspires strangers to dance in the streets of Montreal

July 20, 2016 by  
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Spanning a pedestrian road closed off to cars between the museum and a church, the 3,000-square-foot DANCE FLOOR comprises glittering paving with golden footprints pointed in a variety of directions. The mosaic-like urban installation evokes hammered gold in reference to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Pompeii exhibition. Passersby drawn to the glint and shine of the gold footprints are invited to improvise steps on the giant dance floor . Related: Historic Church With Tiffany Stained Glass Transformed into Beautiful Concert Hall for Montreal “With Verville’s proposal the participants experiment movement, both free and structured by the course, to surrender to the pleasure of an impulsive action or casual wandering,” says a press release. “Welcoming varied and unforgettable performances, DANCE FLOOR shines a new dynamism to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ area.” The DANCE FLOOR is complemented with raised rectangular volumes, also covered in golden footprints , which can be used as seating or as an elevated surface to jump or dance on. + Jean Verville architecte Images by Maxime Brouillet and François Bodlet

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Giant glittering dance floor inspires strangers to dance in the streets of Montreal

Google’s driverless car causes an accident for the first time

March 1, 2016 by  
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This week, one of Google’s autonomous vehicles was involved in a minor fender-bender when the car backed into the side of a passing bus. While the self-driving cars have been involved in traffic accidents before , the company has always maintained that the crashes were caused by human drivers sharing the road with the vehicles. In this case, Google is accepting “partial responsibility” for the accident – a first for the company – and is working on changing its software to avoid such incidents in the future. Read the rest of Google’s driverless car causes an accident for the first time

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Ford’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid to hit the streets of California next year

December 16, 2015 by  
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Last week Ford announced plans to pour billions of dollars into electric vehicles by the year 2020, and yesterday the automaker revealed its vision for driverless cars . During a press event at Ford’s Silicon Valley Research & Innovation Center , CEO Mark Fields pinned a California license plate on the company’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid and announced that trials for the vehicle will begin next year. Read the rest of Ford’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid to hit the streets of California next year

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Uber test car conducting early research on streets of Pittsburgh for future self-driving taxi

May 27, 2015 by  
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While Google has sought wide publicity for its self-driving car efforts, Uber has been a much quieter force in the movement. Uber confirmed news of the self-driving car project in February of this year but has kept its project under wraps until last week. An Uber-branded test vehicle, a Ford sedan, was spotted for the first time in Pittsburgh. The $40 billion company aims to develop its own fleet of self-driving taxis that will eventually replace its human drivers, the most expensive part of their car service. Read the rest of Uber test car conducting early research on streets of Pittsburgh for future self-driving taxi Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous car , autonomous vehicle , car , carnegie mellon , National Robotics Engineering Center , pittsburgh , self driving taxi , self-driving car , Uber

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Uber test car conducting early research on streets of Pittsburgh for future self-driving taxi

California dishes out free solar panels to its poorest residents

May 27, 2015 by  
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Roy Rivera is a disabled man who lives on a fixed income in Sacramento, and he’s also the first California resident to receive a free rooftop solar system. But he won’t be the last. Thanks to legislation first introduced by Senator Kevin de León, the Oakland-based non-profit organization GRID Alternatives is funneling funds gathered under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GCRF), the state’s cap-and-trade program designed to discourage carbon dioxide emissions, into a program that is expected to deliver 1,600 free solar panels to California’s poorest residents by 2016 . Read the rest of California dishes out free solar panels to its poorest residents Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , “solar energy” , CA cap-and-trade , California free solar , California free solar program , clean tech , free rooftop solar panels , free solar , free solar for poor California residents , greenhouse gas emissions , Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund , GRID alternatives , reduced CO2 emissions , rooftop solar , rooftop solar panels , Roy Rivera , Sacramento , Senator Kevin de Leon , solar panels

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