Two ex-Google employees are turning existing trucks into autonomous vehicles

June 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Green

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To some, the Trucker is a modern folk hero, an American archetype engaged in cross-country adventure to ensure that consumerism keeps on truckin’ . But if you remove the red, white, and blue colored glasses,  trucking can be seen as dangerous to the driver , those who share the road, and the environment . If the innovators at Otto, a newly founded business dedicated to transforming the commercial trucking industry with self-driving vehicles , have their way, the trucker may undergo a healthful, green makeover for the potential benefit of society at large. Previously under development out of the public eye, Otto was unveiled in a Medium post written by Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, two of the ex-Google employees that founded Otto. In the post, the authors detail the costs of the trucking status quo: 28% of road pollution is generated by commercial trucking, despite the sector only accounting for 1% of all road traffic; road fatalities exacerbated by exhausted truck drivers; inefficient use of resources to move goods; and a shortage of workers willing to drive trucks. Otto’s solution? Autonomous trucks. “We intend to enhance the capabilities of the Otto truck, collect safety data to demonstrate its benefits, and bring this technology to every corner of the U.S. highway system,” said Levandowski and Lior. Related: Six semi-autonomous trucks just drove 1,300 miles across Europe Otto’s approach is unique in that it is designing technology to complement truck drivers, not replace them. They intend to install technology on existing trucks to allow truck drivers to, among other things, get enough sleep so that they can safely guide their cargo to its destination. However, one wonders how long this delicate balance between labor and automation can last. As autonomous driving technology continues to improve and costs of labor rise, businesses may make the decision to forgo human drivers altogether. The fate of these truck drivers and the businesses and communities designed around truck routes remains unclear. Technology may reduce the harm of trucking, but better policy will be needed to handle the fallout of disruptive change. Via AutoBlog Images via Otto

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Two ex-Google employees are turning existing trucks into autonomous vehicles

Solar Relief is providing emergency housing and solar power to communities in need

June 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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Solar Relief has developed a Portable Power Supply product that can operate a range of electrical appliances using clean energy. Inventor Trent Small lived through Cyclone Yasi and felt the effects of not having access to mains power for a number of days, so he decided to create a system that could provide reliable, clean energy in case of emergency . Solar Relief also provides Safe Houses, powered by the Portable Supply unit, to give people an eco-friendly, safe, strong space that can be deployed anywhere globally. A portable, non reflective, flexible solar panel is sold as an accessory to the housing units and Portable Supply Unit and could be used by campers and people living off the grid, in addition to those needing emergency relief. Solar Relief has recently been to Fiji after Cyclone Winston devastated the country and through the help of organizations such as Rotary and QLD Master Builders Foundation , they have been able to provide PPS units to schools and villages which would not have access to power for in the foreseeable future. https://youtu.be/F0vXD_yYqEs + Solar Relief

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Solar Relief is providing emergency housing and solar power to communities in need

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