The Modern-Day Future

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On February 6, 2018, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, the largest ever, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Its cargo was a Tesla Roadster, which is now orbiting the sun somewhere between Mars and the asteroid belt. Between Elon Musk's numerous companies and passion projects (SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, the Hyperloop, the Boring Company), and the quickly proceeding advances in VR/AR/MR, genetics/cloning, blockchain, AI, 3D printing, and other fields, someone who was in a coma since 1998 and just woke up yesterday would be forgiven for thinking they had jumped a hundred years into the future instead of a mere 20. But then this person would actually get up and go out into the real world and see that mostly everything else is the same, aside from more traffic on the roads, more people in general, most of whom now carry miniature computers with them wherever they go that are more powerful than any desktop from the 20th century. Born in apartheid-era South Africa, he lived the first 16 years of his life in various towns, including Pretoria, moving back and forth between divorced parents.


US DOT forms council to support emerging transportation tech

Engadget

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has announced a council aimed at supporting transportation projects including hyperloops and self-driving cars. The Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council (NETT) hopes to make sure the Department of Transportation's complex structure of various administrations doesn't impede companies from deploying such tech. "New technologies increasingly straddle more than one mode of transportation, so I've signed an order creating a new internal Department council to better coordinate the review of innovation that have multi-modal applications," Chao said in a statement. The Department of Transportation has 11 administrations (including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration), each with their own processes and regulations. The council, chaired by Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Rosen, will give companies a central access point to talk about their ideas and proposals, and NETT could help streamline permit, approval and funding processes.


Long in the works, self-driving boats may make a splash before autonomous cars

The Japan Times

BOSTON – Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years -- but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the car industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated ferry boats for Amsterdam canals, cargo ships that can steer themselves through Norwegian fjords and remote-controlled ships to carry containers across the Atlantic and Pacific. The first such autonomous ships could be in operation within three years. One experimental workboat spent this summer dodging tall ships and tankers in Boston Harbor, outfitted with sensors and self-navigating software and emblazoned with the words "UNMANNED VESSEL" across its aluminum hull. "We're in full autonomy now," said Jeff Gawrys, a marine technician for Boston start-up Sea Machines Robotics, sitting at the helm as the boat floated through a harbor channel.


The next race for autonomous vehicles? Self-driving boats

#artificialintelligence

Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years - but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the car industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated ferry boats for Amsterdam canals, cargo ships that can steer themselves through Norwegian fjords and remote-controlled ships to carry containers across the Atlantic and Pacific. The first such autonomous ships could be in operation within three years. One experimental workboat spent this summer dodging tall ships and tankers in Boston Harbor, outfitted with sensors and self-navigating software and emblazoned with the words "UNMANNED VESSEL" across its aluminum hull. "We're in full autonomy now," said Jeff Gawrys, a marine technician for Boston startup Sea Machines Robotics, sitting at the helm as the boat floated through a harbor channel.


Self-driving ships could be ready in three years

Los Angeles Times

Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years -- but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the auto industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated ferry boats for Amsterdam canals, cargo ships that can steer themselves through Norwegian fjords and remote-controlled ships to carry containers across the Atlantic and Pacific. The first such autonomous ships could be in operation within three years. One experimental workboat spent this summer dodging tall ships and tankers in Boston Harbor, outfitted with sensors and self-navigating software and emblazoned with the words "unmanned vessel" across its aluminum hull. "We're in full autonomy now," said Jeff Gawrys, a marine technician for Boston startup Sea Machines Robotics, sitting at the helm as the boat floated through a harbor channel.