From the looks of it, 2017 will be a pretty amazing year for technology. Every day consumers are talking about virtual reality, self-driving cars and a limitless menu of on-demand services. The future really has arrived. But even as digital tech gets more streamlined and powerful, glitches keep popping up. Just when we think we have superhuman control of our lives, a device fails to work and we have no clue how to fix it.
Uber rolled out its much anticipated self-driving car service for a group of selected customers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The ride-hailing firm became the first to offer the futuristic technology to the public in the United States, and Fox News went for a spin. It's still a work in progress, so the vehicle has a specially-trained human being in the driver's seat who can take control of it if something goes wrong, and an engineer taking notes on the passenger side. Although in the early stages of development, the cars are impressively autonomous: a spinning LIDAR on the roof takes in 1 million points of data per second, creating a visual field of everything around the car. There are also 20 cameras detecting everything, including red lights, stop signs and pedestrians.
TOKYO – Mitsubishi Motors Corp., the Japanese automaker tarnished by a massive recall-cover-up 15 years ago, owned up to another scandal Wednesday, saying employees had intentionally falsified fuel mileage test data for several vehicle models. The inaccurate tests by the Tokyo-based automaker involved 157,000 of its own-brand eK wagon and eK Space light passenger cars, and 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles produced for Nissan Motor Co. The models are all so-called "minicars" with tiny engines whose main attraction is generally great mileage. They were produced from March 2013. The problem surfaced after Nissan pointed out inconsistencies in data, the company said.
Michael Karpf flew earlier this month to the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, Calif., to pick up his new Model X electric sport-utility vehicle--known for a 200-plus mile battery range and Tesla CEO Elon Musk's claim that it's "the fastest SUV in history." The 75-year-old retiree planned to drive it across the country with his wife and son to their home in New Rochelle, N.Y. But the new-car gleam of Karpf's 138,000 titanium-on-beige P90D Model X faded with a string of problems as soon as he left the factory--delaying his journey. One of the wildly designed, upswinging "falcon wing" rear doors failed to close. The other falcon wing door failed to open, except from the inside.
Apple harvested almost 40 million worth of gold from recycled gadgets last year, and is now deploying robots to take iPhones apart in a major environmental push. In its latest annual environmental responsibility report, which was published last week, Apple explained that it gathered 2,204 pounds of recycled gold during its fiscal year 2015. The gold, which weighs more than a ton, is worth 39.6 million. Apple recovered more than 63 million pounds of various materials via its "take-back" recycling initiatives in 2015, according to the company's environmental report. The tech giant gathered over 23 million pounds of steel, making it the most recycled material, and more than 13 million pounds of plastics.