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Forget Self-Driving Cars: This 190-Foot Autonomous Superyacht Concept Can Self-Sail the High Seas

April 8, 2020

The vessel, known as Tempo, will integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into different aspects of its design. This promises to not only improve the onboard experience, but it will also mean that some systems can be operated without human assistance.

There are three core areas in which the autonomous tech will be focused: navigational autonomy, equipment health monitoring, and mechanical and electrical systems automation. Optimizing these three branches with AI will have a profound effect on the operation of the superyacht, namely maximizing efficiency and reducing maintenance costs…

While unmanned vessels have been operating in the commercial and military space for some time, Tempo represents a major leap within the private superyacht world. Indeed, her very moniker is tied to the increased operational tempo of which the AI is possible. This uptick in speed and efficiency will give superyacht captains and crew more time and freedom to pursue other tasks.
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Nuro gets the green light to test driverless delivery robots in California

April 8, 2020

Nuro, the self-driving startup founded by two ex-Google engineers, was approved to test its driverless delivery robots on public roads in California. The company is the second to receive a driverless permit in the state.

Nuro, which has tested its driverless grocery delivery service in Arizona and Texas, is authorized to test two light-duty delivery vehicles in nine Bay Area cities, according the California DMV. This includes portions of the cities of Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Woodside. The vehicles can’t exceed 25 mph and are only approved to operate in fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph.

Waymo is the only other company to receive a permit from the DMV for driverless testing — but has yet to exercise that privilege.
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Supervised self-driving shuttles are moving COVID-19 tests in Florida

April 7, 2020

Autonomous shuttles are being used to move COVID-19 tests from a Jacksonville, Florida testing site to a nearby Mayo Clinic processing location, in what the medical nonprofit is calling a “first” for the US. But as is often the case with autonomous vehicle pilot programs, there’s a catch: during each run made to and from the clinic, the self-driving shuttles are being trailed by an SUV driven by a human.

The SUV can be spotted in a video released by the Mayo Clinic (seen above), after one of the Mayo Clinic workers loads the cooler of tests onto the self-driving shuttle. The SUV then follows the shuttle across the Mayo Clinic’s campus, where the batch of fresh tests is swapped for another cooler. Four of these vehicles have made the same run back and forth each day since March 30th.
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Road Safety: switch to cycling to keep others safe

April 7, 2020

Analysis from the UK Department for Transport compares the risk of being injured when you are cycling, driving or walking. Motorcyclists have an especially high risk of death, followed by pedestrians and cyclists. Those in vans, buses or lorries are safest.

But this is only half the story. Our research found that while motorcyclists themselves have a high risk of being killed, motorbikes also pose a startlingly high risk to others. Per kilometre, motorcycling kills twice as many other people as car driving.

In addition, the majority – more than eight out of ten – of cyclist fatalities occurred when the cyclist was hit by a motor vehicle. In most cases, it’s not cycling itself that kills: it’s colliding with heavy, powered vehicles.

Our new research shows how many deaths to other people different types of vehicles cause. We’ve also examined how the gender of the person driving or riding affects the amount of other-party deaths.
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General Motors Files Patent for a Blockchain-Based Navigation Map

April 7, 2020

Major car manufacturer, General Motors, or GM, has filed a patent application for a continuously updating navigation map system. The system would use blockchain to integrate data from vehicle sensors and build a reliable map for autonomous vehicles.

According to the filing, which was submitted on Oct. 1, 2018 and published on April 2, 2020, existing maps are “difficult to keep dynamic without incurring large costs.”One potential reason for this is that most maps are maintained through specialized vehicles, whose reach will necessarily be limited to just a few specific sections of the world.

General Motors’ solution is to distribute the process to many vehicles, which would collect data about their surroundings through sensors as they simply drive around.The real-time data would be compared with a discrepancy detector, which analyzes the existing maps.
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Australian Company Unveils 1,340 Horsepower Electric Motor for Hypercar, Hyperloop Applications

April 7, 2020

An Australian company by the name of HyperPower Technologies has developed an electric motor that generates a mammoth 1,340 horsepower.

The electric motor, code-named the QFM-360-X, measures about 17 inches in diameter and is designed to be scalable. HyperPower said ten of them could be mounted on a common shaft to deliver 13,400 hp.

To demonstrate the performance, HyperPower teamed up with electric drag racers Top EV Racing and built a Top Fuel-style dragster powered by four of the motors for a combined output of 5,360 hp. Performance estimates for the electric beast include a 0-124 mph time of 0.8 seconds, a 0-330 mph time of 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 380 mph…

Some of the potential areas where we might see the motors turn up include aerospace applications, mining, high-speed rail including hyperloops should the technology eventuate, and yes, even hypercars. A car running just one of the motors would already be among the most powerful cars in production.
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Day or night, retroreflective and light-up gear can save pedestrians’ and cyclists’ lives

April 6, 2020

Moreover, wearing retroreflective strips on moving joints of the body like arms, knees, wrists, and ankles has also been shown to greatly increase pedestrian visibility. A study found that participants in a moving vehicle noticed pedestrians who wore retroreflective strips on their arms and legs at distances that were 10 times longer than when the pedestrian was just wearing a retroreflective vest on their chest. This is called biological motion or biomotion…

A pilot study that I led compared the visibility of bicycle mounted lights and bicyclist worn retroreflective materials on roads during both night and day conditions. In this study participants driving a vehicle on a public road, and the distances at which they were able to detect bicyclists equipped with different kinds of visibility enhancing devices like flashing lights, steady-on lights, and biomotion bands were compared. Flashing head and tail lights were detected from farther away than biomotion bands during both day and night.
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Mapping How Cities Are Reclaiming Street Space

April 6, 2020

At least 50 cities, including Los Angeles and Detroit, have suspended bus fares. At least ten, including London and Glasgow, have made bikeshare systems free, and at least a dozen (not on the map) have lifted parking fees and enforcement.

A few large cities, with established communities of pedestrian and cyclist advocates, have taken more drastic actions. At least seven U.S. and Canadian cities, including Portland, Minneapolis, and Calgary,* have temporarily stopped or limited access to vehicles on certain corridors in order to help walking, biking, and outdoor respite-taking happen in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Bogotá, Mexico City, and Berlin have all expanded cycling networks to make way for bikes, which have emerged as the non-car mode of choice in a time of social distance. Around the world, calls to increase urban sidewalk space to allow for safer pedestrian use are getting louder.
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GM is working with Honda to build two new electric vehicles

April 6, 2020

General Motors and Honda are joining forces to develop two new electric vehicles, the companies announced on Thursday. They’ll have Honda nameplates but will be built using GM’s newly announced flexible EV platform with its Ultium-branded improved battery packs.

Honda will design the exteriors and interiors of the new EVs, while the platform will be engineered to support Honda’s specifications, the companies say. They will be manufactured at GM’s North American plants, with sales expected to begin in the 2024 model year.
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LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE ROADWAY AND WORK ZONE SAFETY IN NEVADA

April 6, 2020

The RTC, together with the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) and Nevada DOT (NDOT), launched an artificial intelligence (A.I.) project on one of the busiest sections of I-15 with technology company Waycare in 2018. Waycare’s A.I. platform and real-time data analysis enables detection of significantly more traffic crashes, facilitating faster validation and reducing emergency response times. Typically, law enforcement or drivers would have to call in a crash. Waycare eliminates the gap between dialing 911 or 311 and dispatching help. When every second counts, Waycare reports crash locations in real time. This is done by analyzing data from a variety of sources, including in-vehicle navigation devices, roadside traffic detectors, the Waze app, and other telematics providers. In fact, Waycare’s technology is expected to generate more data than all road sensors generate in Las Vegas today.
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Volvo Accelerates Self-Driving Car Development

April 6, 2020

Volvo is creating a standalone company to focus on autonomous cars.

The assisted and autonomous driving software company Zenuity is being split into two.

One part is a new standalone company focusing on the “development and commercialization of unsupervised autonomous drive software,” to be owned by Volvo Cars.

The second part is designed to focus on the development and commercialization of advanced driver assistance systems and will be integrated into the automotive safety equipment company Veoneer.

Zenuity was a 50-50 joint venture between Volvo Cars and Veoneer.

The plan is for the Volvo Cars’ part of Zenuity to focus on development of unsupervised autonomous drive software slated for the next generation of cars based on Volvo’s SPA2 vehicle architecture.
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This is just a test: University of Iowa puts rural autonomous driving through its paces

April 6, 2020

At a casual glance, it looks like any Lincoln MKZ. But it’s smarter.

“It can talk to a couple school buses in the Solon Community district,” Omar Ahmad said. “It can talk to a couple of tractors.”

One of a small fleet of test vehicles maintained by the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator, or NADS, the Lincoln recently served as a test platform for technology Ahmad, NADS’ deputy director, and others expect will improve travel for rural Americans…

“We don’t have that. Our economy is more rural, which means driving on gravel roads, driving on roads that are not marked. We see a great opportunity in being a leader in the rural automated driving space.”

A $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is funding NADS research into how automated vehicles operate on rural roads.
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Lucid Air electric car completes 400-mile loop between San Francisco and L.A.

April 6, 2020

Lucid Motors has said its upcoming Air electric car will have 400 miles of range, something even Tesla has not been able to achieve. The company claims to have hit that target in real-world conditions.

Lucid just released a video showing a prototype Air driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back — covering 400 miles in each direction. The car drove each leg without charging, only plugging in during an overnight stop in L.A., according to Lucid. The trip took place in February, before California was put under a statewide shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s worth noting that the car used was a prototype; you can see its incomplete interior in the video.
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This Battery Breakthrough Changes Everything

April 2, 2020

The biggest recent development was the lithium-ion battery with its excellent power per size-weight rating, which has gradually been replacing many others in portable gear like smartphones. It’s also slated to be the prime power source in our future vehicles, the EVs, and self-drivers. But now with this recent announcement, that could change.

At their press conference last week, the Battery Advanced Development Inc. announced its breakthrough battery technology. The new battery uses an unusual combination of chemicals for the electrodes and the electrolyte, an elixir they would not divulge. Unlike some of the new batteries that require special rare chemicals, this battery uses a stew of ingredients that are all readily available from existing resources.

With patents pending, the company is working toward producing a signature product. Now that the chemistry is out of the way, the next step is the engineering and manufacturing to mass-produce some versions of the product profitably.
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COVID-19 generates white knights in freight industries

April 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tsunami of supply chain issues never before seen. As countries shut down borders and as people quarantine themselves at home, the men and women in logistics continue to pull long hours at their workplaces, making sure essential commodities reach people on time.

Amidst this chaos, companies in the freight space are doing their bit by opening up premium subscriptions and introducing new services to make the lives of logistics personnel easier. FreightWaves highlights some of these good samaritan efforts.
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COVID-19 is Creating the Largest Ever Telecommunity, But Not for Everyone

April 1, 2020

Carnegie Mellon University’s Metro21: Smart Cities Institute is addressing these broadband connectivity issues by harnessing the necessary R&D to deploy accessible broadband solutions with our municipal partners. We have researchers at the leading edge of telecommunications technology who are focusing their efforts on how to ensure that the deployment of this technology is done equitably, effectively, and efficiently. Faculty Professor Jon Peha recently published a paper on “Spectrum for V2X: Allocation and Sharing” in IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking, and Professor Swarun Kumar recently received the National Science Foundation CAREER award for his work on Pushing the Limits of Low-Power Wide-Area Networks.

We shouldn’t wait for the next pandemic to change the status quo of broadband. We should be investing now in our digital infrastructure and related research, development, and deployment of new technology, as well as enacting more effective policy standards. Only then will we be able to have equitable and sustainable telecommunities supporting economic growth and prosperity for all.
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Today’s Pickup: Lytx introduces driver identification technology

April 1, 2020

Lytx has introduced a new technology that allows for easy matching of drivers to vehicles, giving fleet managers more insight into driver identification.

Lytx Badge requires no additional hardware and utilizes a QR code to assign drivers to vehicles. Drivers, or technicians, simply display their driver identification or QR code on their phone to the Lytx DriveCam event recorder, which scans the ID or code and once identified, sets up the driver for driving. The Lytx Badge driver identification feature works with the DriveCam SF300 device…

Once scanned, a driver’s name along with vehicle data is recorded, giving fleet managers visibility into both worker and vehicle data including a driver’s hours for each day, week and month; how much time the vehicle is moving during each shift; and how much idle time occurs, Lytx said.
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Build Cities for Bikes, Buses, and Feet—Not Cars

April 1, 2020

Back when Jeff Tumlin was on staff at the urban planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard, he worked on this remaking of Octavia Street and Hayes Valley. Now Tumlin—tall, lean, and bearded—is the new head of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency. On a sunny winter morning, he and I head for that green space so he can show me the freeway’s ghost, barely visible in the odd, polygonal footprints of newer buildings along Hayes Street—they’re catawampus, tucked into the spaces where the concrete artery used to curve through, insensible to the city’s grid…

Transportation and housing are as intertwined as strands of DNA. But in California, legislation that would have made it easier to build clustered, multiunit housing near transit lines has failed to pass the state’s Senate two years in a row. If you make it illegal to build dense cities, it’s hard to cut carbon. “Housing policy is climate policy,” says Constantine Samaras, a climate and energy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. “City policy is climate policy.”
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Via raises $200 million to optimize ride-sharing routes with AI

March 31, 2020

Transportation startup Via today announced that it has raised $200 million in series E financing, bringing its total raised to over $500 million at a $2.25 billion valuation — more than double its $1 billion valuation in 2017. According to cofounders Oren Shoval and Daniel Ramot, part of the funding will enable Via to expand its efforts around the novel coronavirus outbreak, which include emergency services and transit network optimization in locations like the city of Berlin, the state of Ohio, and the country of Malta.

Via’s ride-sharing app and service tap AI to combine multiple passengers or packages headed in the same direction in real time, ostensibly reducing urban congestion and emissions while providing a lower-cost mobility service. Shared rides are usually from corner-to-corner, requiring passengers to walk to a nearby pickup point indicated on the app.
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NACTO resource hub tracks COVID-19’s impact on transportation

March 31, 2020

Dive Brief:

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) launched the Transportation Response Center, an online resource to give mayors and other leaders real-time information on the transportation strategies cities are deploying to adapt to the new coronavirus.

The resource hub will serve as a repository of “actionable, adaptable practices” to protect residents from COVID-19 such as efforts to convert parking spaces into pick-up zones for food from restaurants; to allow rear-door bus boarding or waive transit fares; to open certain roads for pedestrians and bicyclists exclusively.

The hub will also have safety information on how agencies can keep workers protected; how to provide safe rides to testing facilities; and how to publicly communicate new transit policies.
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German state of Baden-Württemberg to run battery-powered trains

March 30, 2020

Germany’s regional rail transport authority Landesanstalt Schienenfahrzeuge Baden-Württemberg (SFBW) has purchased 20 battery-powered trains from Siemens Mobility for operation in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg.

The Mireo Plus B two-car electric trainsets can operate on rail routes with or without overhead power lines due to their battery hybrid drive. They are scheduled to operate in Network 8 of the Ortenau regional system. Under the terms of the €77 million contract, Siemens Mobility will also provide maintenance of the trains for nearly 30 years.

Siemens will also be responsible for energy consumption and energy costs over the entire contract period of 29.5 years.

The Mireo Plus B has a range of around 80km while in battery operation. Batteries can be charged via the overhead line while operating along electrified sections and by recuperating the train’s braking energy.
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No driver needed: Self-driving trucks are starting to move cargo on the nation’s highways

March 30, 2020

No driver likes being stuck between two trucks barreling down the highway — especially when one of those trucks is driving itself.

That’s not likely to happen anytime soon. But that’s only because autonomous vehicles being put on the roads are set up to follow one another too closely for any driver to nudge their way in, said Cetin Mericli, co-founder and CEO of trucking technology company Locomation.

Based on the North Side, Locomation is bringing its self-driving trucks off the test track and onto the highway this spring. The company recently announced a partnership with transportation logistics company Wilson Logistics to move cargo on autonomous trucks more than 400 miles between Oregon and Idaho.

To get self-driving trucks on the highway, Locomation uses a convoy system. One truck — driven by a human — will lead, guiding the trailing autonomous truck down the highway and helping it to stay between the lines, navigate lane changes and avoid other cars.
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FCC gives access to 5.9GHz spectrum for rural wireless broadband amid coronavirus pandemic

March 30, 2020

The US Federal Communications Commission is taking some steps to help get broadband to rural Americans who don’t have it. On Friday, the agency granted nearly three dozen fixed-wireless internet service providers, or WISPs, temporary access to the 5.9GHz band of spectrum.

The agency is giving the 33 WISPs access for 60 days to help them get broadband to rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary access to the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in that band is sort of a dry run for the FCC’s plan to free up this portion of the 5.9GHz spectrum for unlicensed use. In December, the agency voted to split that band of spectrum so it could be shared with providers, allocating the lower 45 megahertz for unlicensed use. The upper 30 megahertz is allocated for the use of Qualcomm’s cellular vehicle-to-everything protocol (C-V2X).
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Will this crisis help set autonomous AI on the right course?

March 30, 2020

Suddenly, autonomous machines need to be better than just proof of concept. They must be robust enough to work independently across various real-life situations.

In some ways, the epidemic accelerates an automated future that’s already on its way. It has exposed problems that have long existed in the AI venture scene: buzzwords and hype cloud people’s judgment, making it difficult to see real progress.

The industry needs to take on much-needed reforms towards real-world autonomous systems in the following three areas:
1. Rethink metrics…
2. Redesign error handling and communication…
3. Redefine human-machine interaction
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How Smart Cities Can Defend Against Pandemics

March 30, 2020

Social distancing is one of the greatest defenses against the current COVID-19 threat, as the virus is spread easily and can live on surfaces for up to three days. Cities, such as Wuhan, and entire countries, such as Italy, have issued “shelter in place” orders barring residents and visitors from leaving their homes to stop the transmission.

Transportation of food and other goods has required delivery drivers and other transportation and logistics employees to work through many of these orders, yet as autonomous delivery robots become more mainstream, this need will wane in the future.

Smart cities that embrace autonomous delivery options such as drones, driverless trucks, and even autonomous ships can seamlessly control the transportation of goods and services in times of crisis. This gives cities the power to prioritize needs, such as the delivery of medicine.
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