US government issues first guidelines for self-driving car safety

September 26, 2016 by  
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The United States federal government issued inaugural guidelines for the safety of self-driving , or autonomous , vehicles. As more companies test the technology, including road tests like Uber is conducting in Pittsburgh , the guidelines are meant to encourage consistent rules without over-regulating the still-developing industry. The new federal guidelines addressed four major areas. National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients and United States Department of Transportation Anthony Foxx appeared together to announce the guidelines. The two officials introduced a ” 15-point safety checklist ,” discussed how regulations currently in play could apply to self-driving cars, called on states to develop consistent rules for self-driving cars, and left an opening for further regulation in the future. Related: Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh The guidelines were meant to allow government to regulate the self-driving car industry without suffocating innovators moving the technology forward. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesperson Bryan Thomas said, “We left some areas intentionally vague because we wanted to outline the areas that need to be addressed and leave the rest to innovators.” President Barack Obama announced his administration would issue guidelines in a piece published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. According to President Obama, “Right now, too many people die on our roads – 35,200 last year alone – with 94 percent of those the result of human error or choice. Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year. And right now, for too many senior citizens and Americans with disabilities, driving isn’t an option. Automated vehicles could change their lives.” President Obama also spoke of the need for some regulation – but not too much regulation – as the self-driving car industry develops. He said self-driving cars could make roads “less polluted” and “less congested.” Via The New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons and Norsk Elbilforening on Flickr

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US government issues first guidelines for self-driving car safety

Grass-roofed arches and planted terraces bring nature into this modern bazaar in India

September 26, 2016 by  
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Avadh Shilpgram contains nearly 200 craft shops, some of which are air-conditioned; craft courts; a dormitory hostel; auditorium, and food court. The walled bazaar’s layout is organized along a centrally placed spiral that culminates into a tight curl with an open plaza at the center. The spiral comprises a series of steel-framed arches clad in Red Agra sandstone in a Jaali pattern, the motif of which was inspired by the renowned Lucknowi embroidery craft called ‘Chikan kari.’ The grand arches let natural light and ventilation flow through the space and recall the large arches found in the Buland Darwaza in Agra. Related: 7,000 Shipping Containers Used to Create Bazaar in Kyrgyzstan Craft shops and courts line the arches and offer local craftspeople a place to sell their wares and teach their craft. “During the design process, the layout of the twenty-acre Awadh Shilpgram evolved organically from the commercial, cultural, social and leisurely interactions of people,” write the architects. “An elliptical form enables a smooth corner-free circulation; it narrows down while spiralling inward, and emulates the density and vibrancy of the Lucknowi Bazaars of yesteryears; the bazaars with the streets that got progressively narrower.” To balance the paved surfaces, the architects added large amounts of landscaping, from the green space that hugs the outer rim of the spiral to the planted terraces in the amphitheater and the grass-covered arched workshop spaces. + Archohm Via Dezeen

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Grass-roofed arches and planted terraces bring nature into this modern bazaar in India

Sanne Visser unveils super-strong rope bags made from human hair

September 26, 2016 by  
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https://vimeo.com/171334044 While it may sound disturbing at first, hair actually has a number of properties which make it perfect for use in yarn : it has a high tensile strength, is thermally insulating, flexible, lightweight, and oil-absorbent. A single human hair can hold up to 100 grams of weight, meaning that an entire head of hair could potentially withstand a whopping 12 tons. This varies, of course, on the health of the person they come from, and there also seems to be ethnic variation when it comes to hair strength. (Fun fact: Asian hair is apparently the strongest.) Related: Studio Swine’s Stylish Eyeglasses are Made of Human Hair The hair is collected shortly after being cut from its owner, and then spun into 2-ply yarn before it’s woven into ropes. From there, the ropes are transformed into any number of useful items. Unfortunately, the process is limited at the moment to the clippings Visser is able to obtain. In order to put her designs into production on a wider scale, a waste management system would have to be implemented in barbershops and salons to collect the hair so it could be repurposed. Practical challenges aside, it’s an interesting and innovative idea, and we loved the sample products we saw at Designersblock at the London Design Fair last week! + Sanne Visser + London Design Festival + Inhabitat coverage of London Design Festival Images via Mike Chino and Sanne Visser

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Sanne Visser unveils super-strong rope bags made from human hair

Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

September 15, 2016 by  
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Pittsburgh Uber riders now have a chance of being greeted by a self-driving car . Uber just rolled out a fleet of autonomous cars to test the technology in the real world. They’ll also watch how passengers and other drivers respond to the autonomous vehicles . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmofgf-Y3Mc Uber’s self-driving cars are outfitted with a Lidar unit, which is provides a 360 degree view, and cameras so the cars can respond to the unexpected along the road. While the technology is advanced enough for fully autonomous driving, for now a human driver will ride along, poised to take the wheel if necessary. Related: Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car Testing how the self-driving cars respond to obstacles and how humans respond to the cars are both important aspects of Uber’s real-world research. Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Aaron Steinfeld told TechCrunch, “Autonomy – typically people are a little bit nervous about it. But once they experience it they tend to build up familiarity and become accepting of it.” What about all the drivers who could lose their jobs? While Uber says technology can be ” disrupting ,” they also said self-driving cars could open up new employment opportunities. Self-driving Uber cars ultimately could cruise around cities 24 hours each day, and thus would require more maintenance than the average car which may only be driven for a few hours daily. According to a statement from the company, “Of course, we can’t predict exactly what the future will hold. But we know that self-driving Ubers have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society: reducing the number of traffic accidents, which today kill 1.3 million people a year; freeing up the 20 percent of space in cities currently used to park the world’s billion plus cars ; and cutting congestion, which wastes trillions of hours every year.” + Uber Via TechCrunch Images via Uber

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Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

Fords self-driving car will have no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brakes

September 14, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lITdVxm_hD0 Right now, the existing prototypes are, admittedly, a little quirky: the company has built a set of bulky sensors and mounted them on the roof of a series of modified Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicles while their software is under development. But by 2021, the company plans to have fleets of the new vehicles on the road as part of an on-demand mobility service that would compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft. Related: Ford Begins Testing Self-Driving Technology with Automated Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle The autonomous vehicles won’t be available for personal purchase to begin with – Ford claims that production will simply be too expensive for them to be affordable for the average consumer. However, given that an autonomous ridesharing service would be able to operate significantly more cheaply than one requiring human drivers, for many people hailing rides as needed might end up being more affordable than owning a car at all. Fields was quick to emphasize, however, that Ford is by no means planning to phase out the creation of conventional cars, nor is it attempting to transition away from producing personal vehicles. Instead, the company plans to expand into both markets simultaneously. Related: Ford to transform Dearborn HQ into a healthier and greener campus committed to sustainability To reach this ambitious 2021 goal, Ford is tripling the number of cars in its self-driving test fleet , with 30 of the Fusion Hybrids taking to the roads in California, Arizona, and Michigan by the end of 2016. Then, in 2017, that number will triple again. Ford has also expanded its research into advanced algorithms, 3D mapping, LiDAR, and radar and camera sensors, acquiring and investing in a number of companies in Silicon Valley and beyond. The company is also expanding its Palo Alto campus in 2017 in order to better collaborate with its tech partners. + Further With Ford Images via Ford Motors and Julie M. Rodriguez

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Fords self-driving car will have no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brakes

Romania races to save some of the last untouched forests in Europe

September 14, 2016 by  
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Romania’s forests are in trouble – and the government has teamed up with Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs to save them. The initiative is racing to map forested areas in a national database to ensure federal protection status. Both legal and illegal logging have devastated the woodlands in the last decade, but it is not too late for the unspoiled wilderness that still remains. The national database that will track the expansive forests is predicted to go online within the next six months. Several of Romania’s beech forests may also qualify as UNESCO world heritage sites , further protecting the area and inviting reverent hiking enthusiasts, instead of loggers. Valentin Salageanu, the Greenpeace forest campaign coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe, estimated about half of the 250,000 hectares of woodlands has been destroyed since 2005. He told Reuters , “Many of them were destroyed in the last 10 years … partially as a result of both illegal and poorly executed legal logging.” Related: Despite protests, Poland commences logging in Europe’s last primeval woodland In addition to mapping the area, the country’s environment ministry has increased guard presence and enforced harsh fines for any illegal timber cutting, shipping, or trading. They have also encouraged residents to use the Forest Inspector mobile app, which allows users to track logging trucks and provides the government with invaluable on-the-ground intel. Via Reuters Images via Good Free Photos , Flickr

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Romania races to save some of the last untouched forests in Europe

INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

August 4, 2016 by  
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Autonomous vehicles have finally come of age and will revolutionize the way people commute by improving traffic flow, easing road travel hassles and improving road safety. But to achieve these goals, the autonomous vehicle industry will have to overcome a host of legal, ethical and engineering challenges. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by Ohio University’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering degree program. + Ohio University

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INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

INFOGRAPHIC: Are self-driving cars legal?

June 14, 2016 by  
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The buzz around self-driving cars is growing, but they’re thus far only legal in four U.S. states. Personal Injury San Diego developed an infographic that examines the legality of self-driving cars, the differences between levels of automation, and the leaders in the field. Google may be the company grabbing the most headlines for self-driving cars, but they don’t actually hold the most patents in the field. Keep reading to learn more about the exciting new technology and the future of self-driving cars. + Personal Injury San Diego

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INFOGRAPHIC: Are self-driving cars legal?

Almost every car sold in the U.S. will have standard automatic braking by 2022

March 23, 2016 by  
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While it will take some time until fully autonomous cars become widely available, some of the technology will find its way into most cars within the next few years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have announced that 20 automakers will make automatic emergency braking standard on most of their models by the fall of 2022. This equates to “more than 99 percent” of all models that will be for sale in the U.S. Read the rest of Almost every car sold in the U.S. will have standard automatic braking by 2022

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Goodyear’s crazy new spherical tires prove moving sideways is actually a giant leap forward

March 3, 2016 by  
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Goodyear just unveiled two incredible new tires developed specifically for autonomous cars this week at the 86th Geneva International Motor show . One is a spherical tire that allows cars to drive in any direction, and the other is a smart tire that reads and automatically responds to changing conditions. With the launch of these two concepts, Goodyear illustrates the wilder side of automotive technology, and it’s safe to say the industry is pleased. Read the rest of Goodyear’s crazy new spherical tires prove moving sideways is actually a giant leap forward

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Goodyear’s crazy new spherical tires prove moving sideways is actually a giant leap forward

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