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Self-Driving Vehicles: Apple More Interested In Apps Than Robotic Cars Themselves

International Business Times

If you had your heart set on an Apple iCar to go with your iPhone and Apple Watch, take a deep breath and prepare to be disappointed. Forbes reported Wednesday the company apparently is more interested in developing apps for self-driving cars than the cars themselves. The California Department of Motor Vehicles granted permits for Apple to test three 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs. Industry analysts say the fact that only three vehicles are involved suggests Apple is focusing on its CarPlay connectivity and infotainment platform, Forbes said. CarPlay already has a significant portion of the vehicle market.


Is Trump Bad For The Economy? Tourism To US Declines Significantly After Inauguration, Immigration Ban

International Business Times

Though he has prided himself on being a master deal maker, President Donald Trump and his policies might be taking a toll on the economy. Tourism in the United States has taken a hit since Trump took office and implemented an executive order temporarily suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to data released by travel search engine Kayak on Monday. Travel from the United Kingdom to the U.S. especially declined, the Guardian reported. Searches for flights from the U.K. to Tampa and Orlando plummeted by 58 percent, while searches for flights to San Diego dropped 43 percent. Searches for flights to Las Vegas and Los Angeles dropped 36 percent and 32 percent, respectively.


iOS 11: 5 Expected Features Of Apple's Upcoming OS Update including Improved Siri, 3D Touch Integration And Kinect Functionality

International Business Times

Just like it does every year, Apple is expected to launch its next major iOS update at its World Wide Developers Conference event, which will be held in San Jose in June. According to previous rumors, the device will have an edge-to-edge display, a front camera with depth measurement functionality and support wireless charging. This milestone could be another reason that Apple could put out a new update, bringing major changes to the existing version of the operating system. Artificial Intelligence enabled Siri: Artificial intelligence (AI) enabled voice assistants seem to be the new fad in the smartphone industry. While Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa have made their way not just to smartphones, but even to smart devices, HTC has come out with its own Sense Companion and Samsung is developing Bixby.


Elon Musk, Bill Gates Warn About Robots Taking Over Jobs, But Study Says People Aren't Worried

International Business Times

Recently, tech leaders including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and billionaire Bill Gates warned about robots taking over jobs. However, a new report shows people are not that concerned about job automation. The report The Robots Are Coming, But Not For Me, is based on an online survey of more than 2,000 adults commissioned by consumer engagements firm LivePerson last month. Although experts agree robots, artificial intelligence and automated technology will have at least some effect on global economies, the majority of people think they'll be alright but say other professionals will be affected by mass layoffs, the report found. Among those surveyed, a high 88 percent said they were not very worried about losing their job after they were told about an Oxford University study that said 47 percent of US jobs were "highly likely" to be replaced by technology.


BMW i3 Electric Car Update: Longer Range, New Design Coming In 2017, Report Says

International Business Times

BMW is an iconic brand in the automobile industry, well-established and well-liked, but that hasn't translated to success for the German automaker when it comes to electric vehicles. Having sold only about 25,000 of the i3 hatchbacks in 2015, the company is planning to upgrade its small car next year. German weekly Welt am Sonntag (in German) reported Sunday the i3 will get a makeover that will see both the front and rear ends of the car reworked. Additionally, new battery technology will give the vehicle increased range as well, which BMW says is currently 114 miles on full charge. The range can be extended up to 180 miles using a "Range Extender."


Robots Taking More Jobs? Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung Among Tech Giants Using Artificial Intelligence

International Business Times

Robots and other artificial intelligence will replace humans for many service industry jobs as some of the world's technology companies expand their improving research, according to a business consulting firm's new report. The idea of robots and other AI replacing humans is nothing new, and many reports this year have made similar predictions but with far more striking figures. BBC reported in May that China-based Foxconn Technology Group, one of Apple and Samsung's main suppliers, cut down its workforce from 110,000 to 50,000 by using more robots. "We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control," Foxconn told BBC in a statement.


Facebook's Algorithm Changes Leave Dating Apps -- Not Just Media Publishers -- Frustrated By Reach Restrictions

International Business Times

When Facebook announced a tweak to its news feed algorithm Wednesday, dating apps were put in a bind. "As the largest social gay page on Facebook, we are hopeful that in the near future we will be able to advertise on Facebook once again," Eric Silverberg, CEO of Scruff, wrote in an email to International Business Times. Facebook gave me an ad for Match, and Twitter gave me an ad for some Asian dating app. Twitter allows dating apps to advertise but does not permit companies with "sexually explicit themes, language or images," according to its rules.


Top Auto Regulator: Nimble Rules Needed For Self-Driving Cars

International Business Times

The top U.S. vehicle safety regulator said on Wednesday the government needs to be more nimble in designing rules for self-driving vehicles. The industry "is on version 238.32 by the time we get regulations out," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator Mark Rosekind said during an appearance at an industry conference in suburban Detroit. U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines expected in July will offer different approaches to oversight of self-driving, or autonomous, vehicle technologies, Rosekind said. Regulations that remain static for years "will not work for this area," Rosekind said. "We will have something different in July."


Microsoft Is Not Making A Self-Driving Car But Wants To Enable Others To Build Autonomous Vehicles

International Business Times

Finally, a big tech company that isn't making a driverless car. It seems like every week there are reports about another tech company working on autonomous cars or hinting they might be doing so, which is why it is so refreshing to hear Microsoft categorically ruling itself out of the race. While companies like Ford, Toyota and General Motors are all working hard to build their own driverless car technology, they are facing competition not only from the traditional car industry but from the tech industry too. Google, Tesla and Faraday Future are all looking to disrupt the car industry with Apple widely expected to join them in the coming years. Microsoft, however, won't be competing on this level.


Meet Otto, The Startup That Wants To Make Self-Driving Trucks A Thing

International Business Times

A Silicon Valley startup founded by former Google employees is looking to radically change long-haul trucking. Otto is developing a self-driving truck upgrade kit for commercial rigs. As with the race to develop self-driving cars, Otto is not alone in these ambitions, but self-driving trucks could lead to unintended consequences for local economies, particularly in small towns that rely on the trucking industry. Otto debuted with its plan in a Medium post published Tuesday. The startup highlights the need for self-driving trucks by citing the deteriorating quality of life for drivers, road congestion, pollution and safety.