Up, up and away: Passenger-carrying drone to fly in Dubai

Boston Herald

Up, up and away: Dubai hopes to have a passenger-carrying drone regularly buzzing through the skyline of this futuristic city-state in July. The arrival of the Chinese-made EHang 184 -- which already has had its flying debut over Dubai's iconic, sail-shaped Burj al-Arab skyscraper hotel -- comes as the Emirati city also has partnered with other cutting-edge technology companies, including Hyperloop One. The question is whether the egg-shaped, four-legged craft will really take off as a transportation alternative in this car-clogged city already home to the world's longest driverless metro line. Mattar al-Tayer, the head of Dubai's Roads & Transportation Agency, announced plans to have the craft regularly flying at the World Government Summit. Before his remarks on Monday, most treated the four-legged, eight-propeller craft as just another curiosity at an event that views itself as a desert Davos.


Brussels Terror Attack Second In 15 Months, Terrorist Shot Dead After Explosion At Train Station

International Business Times

EDT- Interior Minister Jan Jambon announced that the Belgian security forces have identified the terrorist. "The terrorist's identity is known. We have been able to identify him," Jambon told RTBF radio television without giving further details, Agence France-Presse reported. A suspected terrorist bomber was shot dead by Belgian troops at Brussels Central Station, Tuesday, after a small explosion took place at the transportation hub at around 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. EDT). Officials of the Belgian federal prosecutors confirmed that the central station explosion was being considered as a terrorist attack, Reuters reported.


Lilium hopes to soar with launch of electric air taxis

#artificialintelligence

It is 2025 and midtown Manhattan is snarled with traffic. But the 19km journey to JFK airport -- normally about an hour by road -- takes just five minutes in an electric flying taxi and costs roughly $50. This is not from an episode of The Jetsons. It is the vision that Lilium, a Munich-based start-up, is working towards bringing to the public within six years. The company, founded in 2015 by four engineering students, is developing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jets for a fleet of flying taxis that will be as easy to book as an Uber car.


Applying Strategic Multiagent Planning to Real-World Travel Sharing Problems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Travel sharing, i.e., the problem of finding parts of routes which can be shared by several travellers with different points of departure and destinations, is a complex multiagent problem that requires taking into account individual agents' preferences to come up with mutually acceptable joint plans. In this paper, we apply state-of-the-art planning techniques to real-world public transportation data to evaluate the feasibility of multiagent planning techniques in this domain. The potential application value of improving travel sharing technology has great application value due to its ability to reduce the environmental impact of travelling while providing benefits to travellers at the same time. We propose a three-phase algorithm that utilises performant single-agent planners to find individual plans in a simplified domain first, then merges them using a best-response planner which ensures resulting solutions are individually rational, and then maps the resulting plan onto the full temporal planning domain to schedule actual journeys. The evaluation of our algorithm on real-world, multi-modal public transportation data for the United Kingdom shows linear scalability both in the scenario size and in the number of agents, where trade-offs have to be made between total cost improvement, the percentage of feasible timetables identified for journeys, and the prolongation of these journeys. Our system constitutes the first implementation of strategic multiagent planning algorithms in large-scale domains and provides insights into the engineering process of translating general domain-independent multiagent planning algorithms to real-world applications.


Florida Mayors Warn Against Scratching Rail Plan While Awaiting Autonomous Cars

#artificialintelligence

Leaders of two South Dade cities have a warning for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez: Don't try to convince us to wait for driverless cars when we've been promised a new rail line. The mayors of Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay wrote Gimenez this week to protest what they claim was a major reversal during a private May 15 meeting on the county's multi-billion-dollar plan to expand rail countywide. Instead of extending Metrorail south to Florida City, Gimenez reportedly floated the idea of using high-tech buses as a transition to a transportation revolution: the arrival of autonomous cars and their ability to revolutionize highway travel. "If the county's plan is to abandon what has been promised by way of the SMART plan, then it is only fair that we let the residents know now," read the May 22 letter from Peggy Bell, the mayor of Cutler Bay, and Eugene Flinn, Palmetto Bay's mayor. "However, we want to make it clear that our position has not changed and that we feel that the County is breaking another promise made to the residents which will undoubtedly shake the trust of its constituency."