A CSX freight train derailed in Washington, D.C., on Sunday morning, sending several cars off the tracks and spilling hazardous material from three cars, emergency officials said. No injuries were immediately reported. Doug Buchannan, a spokesman for the D.C fire department, told NBC Washington (http://bit.ly/1W0mwYc Emergency responders have not said what substance is leaking. Chris Nellum said he lives nearby and his window looks directly over the tracks.
Olli, created by Arizona-based Local Motors, officially hit the streets of the nation's capital Thursday. Using an app similar to Uber or Lyft, ride-seekers can order the bus to pick them up and drop them off at their destinations of choice. Olli is electric-powered and 3D-printed, reducing the vehicles footprint before and after it hits the road, Local Motors wrote in a release. The bus can even talk to riders. "Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue," John B. Rogers Jr., Local Motors CEO and co-founder, said.
IBM has teamed up with Local Motors, a Phoenix-based automotive manufacturer that made the first 3D-printed car, to create a self-driving electric bus. Named "Olli," the bus has room for 12 people and uses IBM Watson's cloud-based cognitive computing system to provide information to passengers. In addition to automatically driving you where you want to go using Phoenix Wings autonomous driving technology, Olli can respond to questions and provide information, similar to Amazon's Echo home assistant. The bus debuts today in the Washington D.C. area for the public to use during select times over the next several months, and the IBM-Local Motors team hopes to introduce Olli to the Miami and Las Vegas areas by the end of the year. By using Watson's speech to text, natural language classifier, entity extraction, and text to speech APIs, the bus can provide several services beyond taking you to your destination.
A bevy of robocar-oriented companies has founded a lobby--a move than provides the single clearest sign that the industry is maturing. The lobby's chief, David Strickland, would like all regulatory decisions to be coordinated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Strickland sure knows what to do: he's a former administrator of NHTSA--and yet another example of Washington's revolving door. The lobby is called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, and it includes Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber and Lyft. It looks as if Google is the prime mover here.
First, there's the name, more likely to evoke amiable Italians in stripes than aerial transport. Try distinguishing it from an aerial tramway, which travels between two fixed stations instead of many, or a ropeway, a catch-all term for cars that fly. No wonder designers who have proposed gondolas as an urban transit solution have met a mix of fanged skepticism and derision. "I have definitely heard from some citizens that the very notion of a gondola is too ridiculous to even be considered," Christopher Slatt, the chairman of the Arlington County, Virginia's Transportation Commission, told the Wall Street Journal this summer. "Why give transit critics ammunition by advancing something that may turn out to be a waste of time and effort?"