Jurisdictions might be on-the-hook for their self-driving car laws that allow autonomous cars and for which might get into mishaps or crashes. Florida just passed a law that widens the door for self-driving driverless cars to roam their public roadways and do so without any human back-up driver involved. Some see dangers afoot, others see progress and excitement. Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, declared that by approving the new bill it showed that "Florida officially has an open-door policy to autonomous vehicle companies." There are now 29 states that have various driverless laws on their books, per the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C. Here's a question that some politicians and regulators are silently grappling with, albeit some think that they have the unarguably "right" answer and thusly have no need to lose sleep over the matter: Should states, counties, cities and townships be eagerly courting self-driving autonomous cars onto their public roadways, or should those jurisdictions be neutral about inviting them into their locales, or should they be highly questioning and require "proof until proven safe" before letting even one such autonomous car onto their turf?
Amazon has begun trialling a new home delivery initiative that sees its drivers photographing recipient's front doors as proof the package they ordered has arrived. The online retailer has been quietly rolling out the Amazon Logistics Photo On Delivery programme in carefully chosen locations across the US over the past six months, including San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, Oregon, Indianapolis and North Virginia. The move is intended to address the problem of items being lost or stolen when the addressee is not at home to take delivery. While some may find the initial concept of strangers' photographing their porch while they're out decidedly odd or even creepy, customers have the opportunity to opt out and the majority so far appear to be reassured by the scheme. "Amazon Logistics Photo On Delivery provides visual delivery confirmation - it shows customers that their package was safely delivered and where," Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kish explained.
Drones are flown at a training class in Las Vegas in anticipation of new regulations allowing their commercial use. Drones are flown at a training class in Las Vegas in anticipation of new regulations allowing their commercial use. We are in "one of the most dramatic periods of change in the history of transportation," says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He was talking about all of it: the self-driving cars, the smart-city movement, the maritime innovations. The Federal Aviation Administration expects some 600,000 drones to be used commercially within a year.
Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. On May 9, the Department of Transportation announced the first 10 project sites it chose to participate in its new three-year Drone Integration Pilot Program aimed at expanding the testing of new drone technology in a select number of local, state, and tribal jurisdictions. Selected from 149 lead applicants and over 2,800 private sector "interested parties," they're an eclectic bunch: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; projects in the city of San Diego; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority in Herndon, Virginia; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Florida; the Memphis–Shelby County Airport Authority in Tennessee; the North Carolina, Kansas, and North Dakota departments of transportation; the city of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska–Fairbanks all saw their specific public-private partnership proposals get the greenlight. The projects include plans to test various kinds of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS for short, as they are formally known), including drone-based mapping, inspections, traffic and weather monitoring, commercial and medical delivery, and law enforcement surveillance systems. Selected applicants will be given special attention from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its plans to accelerate drone testing in the US -- with help from technology companies including Alphabet, FedEx and Intel. The agency announced 10 states that will participate in the the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an effort that aims to study the potential uses of drones in agriculture, commerce, emergency management, and human transportation. The 10 pilot winners include the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in Durant, Oklahoma; the City of San Diego, California; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, in Herndon, Virginia; the Kansas Department of Transportation; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, Florida; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; the North Carolina Department of Transportation; the North Dakota Department of Transportation; the City of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. First announced last October, the UAS program aims to partner the FAA with local, state and tribal governments, along with private sector technology companies, to explore the integration of drone operations across industries. The program will also address public safety and security risks that go along with bringing drones into the national airspace.