India to ban driverless cars to protect citizens jobs

July 25, 2017 by  
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By the year 2030, 25 percent of American citizens will transit via self-driving vehicles – but the situation will be very different in India. This is because India’s transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, announced today that self-driving cars will not be allowed in the country. He told reporters, “We won’t allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this.” As Engadget reports, the statement does not reflect safety concerns. Rather, Gadkari rejects self-driving vehicles because they could potentially take jobs away from drivers in the country. “We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment , you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs,” said Gadkari. India’s transport and highways minister added that the government is working on opening several training facilities across the country in an effort to ensure 5,000 more professional drivers take to the roads over the next few years. He rejects the notion of self-driving vehicles, even while admitting that India is presently short about 22,000 commercial drivers. Though the decision may seem like a negative development, India wasn’t on track to receive self-driving technology anytime soon. According to statements made by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, this is because the country’s haphazard roads and congested traffic present great barriers to the implementation of driverless cars. Related: Half of the World’s Consumers Trust Autonomous Cars, According to a New Study India-based Tata Elxsi is ambitious to introduce autonomous vehicles to the country, however. In recent months, the company has been testing self-driving vehicles on a track designed to resemble the country’s roads. Engineers have even gone as far as to install pedestrians, livestock, unsigned merge lanes and limited signage on the track to give the driverless cars as “real of an experience as possible.” With this new declaration by Gadkari, however, it is unknown what action the company will take. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Self-driving car lane envisioned for commute between Vancouver and Seattle

September 29, 2016 by  
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Self-driving cars could revolutionize the way we commute, but city planners and governments will first need to consider how roads need to be altered to accommodate them . Seattle-based venture capital organization Madrona Venture Group created a report on incorporating driverless cars into the I-5 interstate between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Their report includes details for a lane entirely dedicated to self-driving cars. As companies from Uber to Ford to Google work away on self-driving cars, Madrona Venture Group says driverless cars could be “feasible and safe within the next five to ten years.” They recommend starting the transition to accommodate these vehicles by allowing them to utilize the HOV, or carpool, lane. As more self-driving cars enter roadways, the carpool lane could be dedicated solely to autonomous vehicles. Related: Will driverless cars fuel suburban sprawl? Madrona Venture Group went one step further, writing as self-driving cars mostly replace the cars of today, manually operated cars could even be barred from I-5 except at certain hours when less vehicles are on the road. The entire process could take place over “ten to fifteen years.” It takes about two and a half hours to drive from Seattle to Vancouver. Madrona Venture Group envisions a future, along with other driverless car innovators, where that time is spent relaxing or working instead of driving. “Imagine being able to watch a video or sporting event, prepare for a business meeting, work on your novel, or plan a game with your children. It is difficult to place a dollar value on this but one source has estimated this at more than $1 trillion a year in the U.S.,” they said in their report. They add self-driving cars could reduce traffic, save lives, and cause less accidents. As some cities consider high speed trains , Madrona Venture Group notes self-driving cars could be a cheaper option for improved transportation that could benefit commuters sooner than a high speed train. The organization said their plan will probably be controversial at first, but as people realize the benefits of the new technology, more will embrace self-driving cars. Via Mental Floss and Madrona Venture Group Images via Wikimedia Commons and Madrona Venture Group

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Singapore rolls out the world’s first fleet of self-driving taxis

August 25, 2016 by  
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The world’s first driverless taxis just launched today in Singapore, beating Uber to the road by a matter of weeks. According to Phys.org , the autonomous vehicle software startup nuTonomy will offer certain members of the public a free ride, which they can order using their smartphones. While Uber’s first self-driving cars are set to launch this month in Pittsburgh, nuTonomy is the first company to actually roll out its self-driving fleet in a move designed to reduce congestion on the city streets. For now, nuTonomy officials told Phys.org they are starting small with a fleet of six cars on the road. By the end of the year, that number should double, and by 2018, the company hopes to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore. They hope their model will be adopted in cities around the world. “For now, the taxis only will run in a 2.5-square-mile business and residential district called “one-north,” and pick-ups and drop-offs will be limited to specified locations, according to Phys.org. “And riders must have an invitation from nuTonomy to use the service. The company says dozens have signed up for the launch, and it plans to expand that list to thousands of people within a few months.” The cars will not be completely driverless for now. Using modified Renault Zie and Mitsubishi 1-MiEV electric vehicles, nuTonomy will dispatch two people with each taxi – a driver who can take over the wheel if necessary, and a researcher who will monitor the car’s various computers from the back seat. “Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar—a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar—including one that constantly spins on the roof. There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in traffic lights,” writes Phys.org. Doug Parker, nuTonomy’s chief operating officer, said that eventually, driverless taxis could shrink the number of cars on Singapore’s roads from 900,000 to 300,000. “When you are able to take that many cars off the road, it creates a lot of possibilities. You can create smaller roads, you can create much smaller car parks,” Parker said. “I think it will change how people interact with the city going forward.” + nuTonomy Via Phys.org

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Singapore rolls out the world’s first fleet of self-driving taxis

Will driverless cars fuel suburban sprawl?

June 30, 2016 by  
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In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal , writer Christopher Mims argues that driverless cars like those being developed by Google and Uber might lead to greater suburban sprawl. On the face of it, the argument makes a certain sort of sense: other major advances in transportation technology have enabled us to live farther and farther from where we work and play, so why wouldn’t self-driving cars change our lifestyles even further? Mims offers a few points to back his predictions: the first is that ordering a ride from a self-driving car is likely to be significantly less expensive than car ownership, allowing people to invest in larger, nicer housing further away from the city . He also points out that a lengthy commute that might be intolerable in a regular car might be downright relaxing if commuters were able to use it as time to simply relax during the trip. Related: Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car However, there are some obvious holes in this logic. While Mims takes care to point out a recent survey claiming that 66% of millennials prefer to live in the suburbs, the study has some glaring flaws . It only included that small portion of the millennial population that is in the market for a home or intends to purchase one in the next three years. Only about a third of millennials fall into that category — the rest either prefer to rent as a cost-savings measure (understandable, giving the rising tide of student loan debt), aren’t able to qualify for a mortgage, or simply aren’t interested in home ownership. The majority of millennials, at least, probably aren’t going anywhere. It also doesn’t make sense to compare the advent of the driverless car to the invention of the automobile itself. While it’s true that cars made it easier to travel longer distances than had ever been possible before, dramatically reducing the length of trips, that’s not true for self-driving cars. No matter whether a vehicle is controlled by man or machine, an hour-long commute will still take an hour out of the commuter’s day, so it’s unlikely an impatient person who values living close to work will have a dramatic change of heart simply because the drive requires them to pay a bit less attention to the road. Related: Google patents sticky “fly paper” car hood to protect pedestrians in self-driving car crashes Worth noting, as well, is the fact that many strongly disagree about the impact driverless cars may really have on the way we live. Carlo Ratti, an MIT researcher for the school’s Senseable City Lab , believes the opposite: that self-driving cars will allow people to more easily live in denser urban areas . But the truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know, and until self-driving vehicle technology has progressed to the point where it’s a viable everyday transit option, that will remain the case. What do you think? Sound off in the comments… Via The Wall Street Journal Images via Wikipedia

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Gran Mediterraneo Tower in Tel Aviv will combine a lush vertical garden and an automated car park

April 7, 2016 by  
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Apple unveils self-driving mini electric home on wheels

April 1, 2016 by  
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Apple is taking an enormous bite out of the driverless car market with a brand new electric vehicle that doubles as a tiny house . The company announced the iHouse will come with a staggering 350-mile range and new patented technology that turns the car into a mobile home complete with a bed, bathroom, kitchen and even a pizza oven using a simple voice command. Read the rest of Apple unveils self-driving mini electric home on wheels

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Obama administration announces $4B initiative to support driverless car technology

January 14, 2016 by  
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This morning in Detroit, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the plan to develop a blueprint for driverless technology within the next six months. Many a car maker is racing to be the first to develop a fully autonomous vehicle , but nobody has any idea when such a car would even be allowed to hit the road without a human ready to take control at a moment’s notice. Given that, companies like Google , Tesla , Nissan, and more are likely to welcome the Obama administration’s new initiative to help support self-driving car technology . Read the rest of Obama administration announces $4B initiative to support driverless car technology

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Cypher CO2ling Plant converts cooling towers into vibrant green communities

January 14, 2016 by  
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NASA rolls out new asteroid detection program to defend Earth from destructive meteors

January 14, 2016 by  
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Meteors land on Earth frequently, but most break up as they enter our atmosphere and the resulting pieces are too small to do much damage. Once in a while, though, a larger meteor will make it closer to the planet’s surface before exploding. NASA is responding to the potential threats with a new endeavor, the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). Its purpose is to determine the best way to track what the agency calls near-Earth objects (NEOs) – those are big asteroids and meteors to the rest of us. The PDCO will also work on figuring out how to stop meteors from hitting Earth – just like in the movies. Read the rest of NASA rolls out new asteroid detection program to defend Earth from destructive meteors

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Mind-controlled driving system could give ‘smart car’ a new meaning

December 11, 2015 by  
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While Google and Tesla are hard at work developing cars that drive themselves , researchers at a university in China have created a unique system that enables a person to drive a car using mind control . Granted, it’s only possible to drive in a straight line using this technology – so far – but its developers are still working on it. The system reads brain waves and uses a computer program to ‘translate’ them into signals that tell a car what to do. It’s the next best thing to telekinesis, plus it can help get you where you need to go. Read the rest of Mind-controlled driving system could give ‘smart car’ a new meaning

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