Why GM and Ford face a long road ahead in the race to low-carbon transportation

January 23, 2018 by  
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As electrification charges ahead, today’s leaders come from Germany and Japan.

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Why GM and Ford face a long road ahead in the race to low-carbon transportation

GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel

January 12, 2018 by  
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You won’t need a steering wheel in the autonomous cars of the future. General Motors (GM) just brought us a little closer to this bold new reality with the Cruise AV. It lacks that apparatus along with pedals and manual controls – and they’d like to see the driverless cars on the roads next year. GM’s Cruise AV could hit the streets as soon as 2019. They’ve filed a safety petition with the Department of Transportation for their fourth-generation of the car. The company says the Cruise AV is the “first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls.” Related: Toyota’s ultra customizable self-driving vehicle can transport people, goods, or services GM said they spent hours of real-world testing to develop the Cruise AV. The car company acquired LIDAR technology company Strobe last fall, with Strobe’s engineers joining GM’s Cruise Automation team to develop the technology for self-driving cars. The car is equipped with advanced sensor systems and has two main computer systems, so if the primary computer fails the secondary system can jump in. A crash-imminent braking system also serves as a backup, ready to hit the brakes if needed. “Our Cruise AV has the potential to provide a level of safety far beyond the capabilities of humans,” GM said in their 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report . GM says all their autonomous vehicles will be electric . They paint a vision of a world free of car crashes – since human driver error is “the primary cause of 94 percent of crashes,” according to GM , their driverless cars could help pave the way for safer road travel. They’re also marketing self-driving cars as offering mobility no matter a person’s age or physical capabilities. You can read GM’s 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report here . Via General Motors ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) Images via General Motors ( 1 , 2 ) and Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

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GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel

Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

October 9, 2017 by  
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Under the UberONE service, which utilizes only electric vehicles, Uber will add 50 new Tesla electric cars to its ride-sharing fleet in Dubai. “We are tremendously excited to be the exclusive ride-hailing partner for this fleet of premium electric vehicles in Dubai, in partnership with Dubai Taxi Corporation, and for the clean vehicle technology to deliver our driver-partners and riders with more efficient, less-polluting mobility,” said Chris Free, General Manager for Uber UAE. “We will continue to work hand in hand with Dubai Taxi Corporation to bring innovative infrastructural solutions to Dubai and grow the city’s smart mobility ecosystem.” This expansion announcement by Uber builds upon Tesla’s entrance into the United Arab Emirates market earlier this year, in which it signed a deal to provide 200 Model S/X self-driving vehicles to the Dubai Taxi Corporation. Uber’s electric moves in Dubai are only its latest in a global campaign to encourage greater use of electric vehicles by its drivers. In London , Uber, which is currently not authorized to work in the city, announced a program to shift its 40,000 London-based drivers to using electric cars. In Oregon, a similar program empowers Uber EV drivers as electric ambassadors who educate their passengers about electric vehicles. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona In addition to its reinforcement of ride-hailing fleets, Tesla has recently begun customer deliveries of its Model X and Model S vehicles in Dubai. The wealthy emirate features prominently in Tesla’s regional strategy and for that reason, the company has invested in charging infrastructure in Dubai as well. Dubai itself has taken several important moves towards a more sustainable society, including a massive solar power park which will contain the world’s tallest solar tower , and a plan to build 500km of bike lakes . As for its taxi services, Uber will have competition; the first flying taxis have officially started testing in Dubai. Via Electrek Images via Tesla, Elliott Brown/Flickr ,  Brandon/Flickr , and Michiel2005/Flickr

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Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

Getaway is launching new tiny house rentals in Washington DC and Boston

October 9, 2017 by  
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Getaway tiny houses  are expanding, and we couldn’t be more excited. Until now, you could only rent one of the off-grid houses outside parts of Boston and New York, but now you can also spend the night away from the hustle of  Washington DC . Getaway is also expanding in Boston, so you will have even more options for a weekend escape outside of Beantown. At $99 a night, users of Harvard Innovation Lab startup’s Getaway houses get a hotel-level experience in the middle of a forest. The cabins have no Wi-Fi or TV, which helps you completely disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. All other aspects of the structure were designed for ultimate comfort. Related: Harvard student startup unveils third tiny house that can be rented for $99 a night The majority of the structure are located within two hours from the city, with a special series of three cabins located on New York harbor beaches accessible by public transport and a half-hour drive from Prospect Park. The company recently closed a round of funding to the tune of $15 million, and is set to expand in Boston by 20 houses this fall. + Getaway House Lead photo by Roderick Aichinger

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Getaway is launching new tiny house rentals in Washington DC and Boston

This entire barley field was planted and harvested without humans

October 4, 2017 by  
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Drones and autonomous machinery just seeded, tended, and harvested a crop of barley in the United Kingdom without drivers on tractor seats or farmers working the field. A project of Hands Free Hectare , the barley field explored the idea of autonomous farming . Hands Free Hectare, an effort of Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions , recently celebrated a successful harvest. They set out to be the first project to plant, care for, and harvest crops with solely drones and autonomous machines, funding the project with under £200,000, or around $265,037, which they said was a low budget compared with other autonomous farming vehicle projects. They drew on open source technology and machinery farmers could purchase today. Related: Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers Mechatronics researcher Martin Abell of Precision Decisions said in a statement, “This project aimed to prove that there’s no technological reason why a field can’t be farmed without humans working the land directly now and we’ve done that. We set out to identify the opportunities for farming and to prove that it’s possible to autonomously farm the land, and that’s been the great success of the project.” The researchers predicted they’d harvest around five metric tons, according to Abell, who said they hadn’t quite reached their target, but their agronomist “predicted 4.5 tonnes and it looks like he’s on the money.” Automation is the future of agriculture, according to researcher Kit Franklin of Harper Adams University, who said in the team’s first press release from late last year, “It’s not about putting people out of jobs ; instead changing the job they do. The tractor driver won’t be physically in the tractor driving up and down a field. Instead, they will be a fleet manager and agricultural analysts, looking after a number of farming robots and meticulously monitoring the development of their crops .” What will happen to the barley? The Hands Free Hectare researchers plan to use it in a beer . They also aim to repeat their experiment with a winter crop. + Hands Free Hectare Via Hands Free Hectare Images via Hands Free Hectare Facebook and Hands Free Hectare Twitter

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This entire barley field was planted and harvested without humans

Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

August 2, 2017 by  
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Atlanta’s roads are about to enter the future as driverless cars start hitting the streets. Georgia Tech, the City of Atlanta and City Hall joined to launch a test that will help open up the city to autonomous traffic. Self-driving cars will head down a “smart corridor” in Atlanta, guided by a network of Wi-Fi, GPS, sensors and other smart transmitters on September 14. The test run will take place on Atlanta’s North Avenue down a mile-and-a-half stretch of carefully managed roadway. Of course, there will be a human in place to take over in case the technology doesn’t live up to expectations. Atlanta is testing the technology as part of the Safer Roads Challenge , and they are just the third city in the world to do so. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona The technology isn’t the only obstacle holding back autonomous cars. Questions about who is liable in a crash, what happens if a guidance system is hacked and how to handle the transition period where there are still drivers trying to navigate streets full of autonomous vehicles. Still, it’s exciting to see the technology marching forward . It may be only a matter of time before self-driving cars become the norm rather than the exception. Via Curbed and Atlanta Magazine Images via Unsplash and Google

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Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017

February 17, 2017 by  
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Adding to its reputation as a leader in experimental transportation , Dubai is hoping to launch autonomous air taxis capable of transporting people far above the city’s traffic woes as soon as the middle of 2017. According to Auto Blog, the United Arab Emirates Roads and Transportation authority announced the plans earlier this week, after a demonstration of the technology at the three-day World Government Summit . The Chinese-made Ehang 184 drone used in the demonstration can travel at 62 miles per hour at heights up to 984 feet. The drone is powered by an electric motor that can spin its eight propellers for up to 30 minutes at a time, with a two-hour recharge cycle in between. Specially designed to withstand the extreme desert temperatures of the Middle East , the Ehang 184 also comes equipped with a variety of safety features designed to provide peace of mind to those brave souls who choose to fly in it. This includes a program that tells the drone to automatically land at the nearest safe destination if even the most minor thing goes wrong, and secure networks designed to ward off hackers. The fact that its flights are all monitored throughout by ground control should add additional assurance. Related: Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff And people could be trusting the Ehang drone with their lives sooner, rather than later, as the head of Dubai’s transportation authority has told the Kuwait Times his ministry is already experimenting with using the autonomous vehicle in-flight. Dubai’s experiments with autonomous drone taxis are just one part of its forward-thinking approach to transport. The country is also the future home of the Elon Musk’s first Hyperloop project , which will connect Abu Dhabi to Dubai, a 100-mile trip that will take just 12 minutes. Via Auto Blog Images via ETC-USC and Sam Valadi , Flickr Creative Commons

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Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017

Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

February 17, 2017 by  
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Not only are Tesla cars saving the environment , they’re also saving lives. Earlier this week a Tesla Model S driver in Germany noticed a Volkswagen Passat swerving on the Autobahn. Realizing the car’s driver was unconscious, Tesla driver Manfred Kick risked his vehicle to save the driver’s life. Then Elon Musk got wind of Kick’s heroism. When he saw the Volkswagen hitting the guardrail, Kick pulled up next to the car and realized the driver was unconscious – it’s possible he experienced a stroke. So Kick pulled his Tesla in front of the Volkswagen and tapped the brakes until he could bring both cars to a halt. He was able to administer some first aid and ask other drivers who stopped to call for help. A Munich fire station, who commended Kick for incredible courage, reported an emergency medical team treated the Volkswagen driver, who is around 47 years old, before taking him to a special clinic. Related: Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened? https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/831972613912080384 At first Kick wasn’t sure whose insurance company would have to cover repair costs. In the process of bringing the Volkswagen to a safe stop he incurred around 10,000 Euros of combined damage. But he told German publication Muenchner Merkur, “The most important thing is that the man is all right again.” The police reported the Volkswagen driver’s condition is stable, according to Muenchner Merkur. But it turns out Kick won’t have to worry about repair costs after all. Elon Musk praised his actions on Twitter, and said his electric vehicle company will cover repair costs “free of charge and expedited.” Mashable reported while German police must conduct an investigation into Kick, policemen said he probably won’t get a fine, but an award. Via Jalopnik and Muenchner Merkur Images via Feuerwehr München on Facebook

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Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff

February 8, 2017 by  
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https://youtu.be/OVRI7pEmKkg At just 22-inches-tall, Gita (meaning “fast trip” in Italian) can move at speeds up to 22 miles per hour, with the capacity to carry up to 40 pounds and a zero turning radius that lets it navigate easily through even the most complex environments. It also has a communicative personality along with the ability to learn and navigate both indoors and out, provided it has the guidance of a human. When on the move, it can either follow you as you walk, or navigate independently in places it is familiar with. Related: Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car “designed by millennials for millennials” In terms of its design, it features a sleek and shiny surface, with compartments that barely show their presence. It has large rubber tire treats, with LED lights embedded that illuminate in various colors, along with cameras positioned throughout the body to help Gita navigate. According to Kris Naudus at Engadget, Gita’s main compartment was big enough to store his work backpack and contents, including a 14-inch notebook computer laid flat, with some room to spare on the edges. For those seeking to lug larger loads, Piaggio is currently working on Gita’s sibling, Kilo, which will be able to carry up to 200 pounds. Gita is currently not available to purchase, but Piaggio Fast Forward is in the process of sending the helpers out on business-to-business missions, with an eye toward consumer applications. + Piaggio Fast Forward Via Businesswire and Engadget, Images via Piaggio Fast Forward

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Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff

Patagonia boycotts huge Outdoor Retailer show to protest Utah Republicans

February 8, 2017 by  
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Sustainable outdoor gear company Patagonia is putting their popularity, and revenue, towards defending conservation in Utah . After Republican governor Gary Herbert urged Donald Trump’s administration to snatch away protection for the newly created national monument Bears Ears, Patagonia announced their boycott of Outdoor Retailer , a show that rakes in millions of dollars for Salt Lake City. Founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in a recent opinion editorial , “If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home.” President Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument in December. But Utah’s governor recently signed a resolution calling on the new administration to yank away protection for Bears Ears, and Patagonia isn’t happy about it. CEO Rose Marcario announced in a February 7 press release Patagonia would withdraw from Outdoor Retailer, and felt confident other retailers and manufacturers would “join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conservation.” Related: Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort In his opinion piece, titled “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?” Chouinard said outdoor recreation supports 122,000 jobs in Utah, and generates $12 billion in consumer spending. He described Outdoor Retailer as a cash cow for Salt Lake City, noting hundreds of companies spend loads of money to show off products at the event, and USA Today said the show brings in $45 million in annual direct spending for Utah. But due to the new overture to rescind public land protection, Chouinard accused Herbert of creating “a hostile environment that puts our industry at risk.” “The outdoor industry creates three times the amount of jobs than the fossil fuels industry, yet the Governor has spent most of his time in office trying to rip taxpayer-owned lands out from under us and hand them over to drilling and mining companies,” wrote Chouinard. He said Bears Ears contains archaeological treasures from thousands of years of Native American history, and beautiful red rocks cherished by rock climbers worldwide. “Politicians in the state don’t seem to get that the outdoor industry – and their own economy – depend on access to public lands for recreation.” Via Patagonia Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Patagonia boycotts huge Outdoor Retailer show to protest Utah Republicans

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