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Robo-taxis are headed for a street near you

MIT Technology Review

In the coming years, mobility solutions--or how we get from point A to point B--will bridge the gap between ground and air transportation--yes, that means flying cars. Technological advancements are transforming mobility for people and, leading to unprecedented change. Nand Kochhar, vice president of automotive and transportation for Siemens Software says this transformation extends beyond transportation to society in general. "The future of mobility is going to be multimodal to meet consumer demands, to offer a holistic experience in a frictionless way, which offers comfort, convenience, and safety to the end consumer." Thinking about transportation differently is part of a bigger trend, Kochhar notes: "Look at few other trends like sustainability and emissions, which are not just a challenge for the automotive industry but to society as a whole." The advances in technology will have benefits beyond shipping and commute improvements--these technological advancements, Kochhar argues, are poised to drive an infrastructure paradigm shift that will bring newfound autonomy to those who, today, aren't able to get around by themselves. Kochhar explains, "Just imagine people in our own families who are in that stage where they're not able to drive today. Now, you're able to provide them freedom." Laurel Ruma: From Technology Review, I'm Laurel Ruma, and this is Business Lab, the show that helps business leaders make sense of new technologies coming out of the lab and into the marketplace. Our topic today is the future of mobility. In 2011, Marc Andreessen famously said, "Software is eating the world."


Nest Cam review: A great security cam, indoors or out

PCWorld

With this completely new and battery-powered iteration of the Nest Cam, Google's smart home division continues to raise the bar when it comes to security cameras, setting a standard for usability (especially during setup) that most other device manufacturers can only dream of. From a hardware perspective, the Nest Cam is a radical refresh of the old teardrop-shaped Nest Cam Indoor, designed with a tough, plastic, cup-shaped housing that adheres magnetically to its surface-mountable base (it looks very similar to the now-discontinued Nest Cam IQ). It's reasonably weather resistant, carrying an IP54 rating (meaning its enclosure will keep out enough dust to prevent failure and that it's protected from water sprayed from a pressure washer at a reasonable distance), so it can be used indoors or outdoors. The 2021 version of the Nest Cam carries an IP rating of 54, meaning its enclosure will keep out enough dust to prevent failure and that it's protected from water sprayed from a pressure washer at a reasonable distance. The new Nest Cam can run on battery power, and Google says it should deliver between 1.5 and seven months of run time before it needs to be recharged, depending on usage.


Google starts taking preorders for new Nest security lineup with new Doorbell and Cams

ZDNet

Google on Thursday unveiled several new security cameras that are part of its Nest smart home lineup. There's a new video doorbell, a floodlight camera to help you monitor your driveway or a dark side of your home, and two new Nest Cams -- one that's battery-powered and designed for use anywhere -- and another that's designed to monitor inside your home. In addition to new hardware, Google is also making some of the features that used to be behind a Nest Aware monthly subscription free. You can still sign up for Google's Nest Aware service to add 30-day event history, the ability to create and share clips, and turns your smart displays and speakers into listening devices that act as a makeshift home security system. The new cameras discard the Nest app and instead will be managed entirely from the Google Home app. This is a transition that Google has been making with several of its products, including Nest Wi-Fi, for the last few years.


Exact and Heuristic Approaches to Drone Delivery Problems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The Flying Sidekick Traveling Salesman Problem (FSTSP) considers a delivery system composed by a truck and a drone. The drone launches from the truck with a single package to deliver to a customer. Each drone must return to the truck to recharge batteries, pick up another package, and launch again to a new customer location. This work proposes a novel Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) formulation and a heuristic approach to address the problem. The proposedMIP formulation yields better linear relaxation bounds than previously proposed formulations for all instances, and was capable of optimally solving several unsolved instances from the literature. A hybrid heuristic based on the General Variable Neighborhood Search metaheuristic combining Tabu Search concepts is employed to obtain high-quality solutions for large-size instances. The efficiency of the algorithm was evaluated on 1415 benchmark instances from the literature, and over 80% of the best known solutions were improved.


Kami Doorbell Camera review: Flexible and inexpensive porch security

PCWorld

If you have existing low-voltage wiring, you can take advantage of that power source--and your existing analog or digital chime--and never worry about replacing the Kami Doorbell Camera's batteries. If you don't have wiring in place, you can run this camera on battery power. Add in person detection in a camera that's currently selling on Amazon for $100 and you have a solid smart home value. Just don't buy one in anticipation of Kami delivering on its facial recognition promise, because that feature was highly unreliable in our experience. You'll also need to pay a subscription fee to unlock all of this camera's features.


HTC shrinks its VR Tracker, debuts new face-tracking accessory

Engadget

HTC is today launching its third-generation Vive Tracker, which is significantly smaller in size and weight than its immediate predecessor. The Vive Tracker 3.0 is around 33 percent smaller than the 2018 model, and 15 percent lighter, with a footprint roughly 10 centimeters, or four inches, smaller. These quality-of-life size reductions mean that the device is much easier to strap to your body, or an accessory, something very onerous on the bulky older models. Oh, and it now uses USB-C. Despite the smaller body, the company says that the device will last up to 75 percent longer on a single charge, pushing the quoted battery life close to seven hours.


Vacos Cam review: This promising security camera is handcuffed to a mess of an app

PCWorld

Battery-powered security cameras are a great option for outdoor use, because they remove the logistical hassle of finding a convenient electrical outlet to power them. But their easier installation comes with a cost, as they tend to be priced higher than their AC-powered counterparts. The $139 Vacos Cam would seem to be the best of both worlds, then--supremely flexible, modestly priced. Unfortunately, testing revealed this camera to be far from a polished product. While its video quality and smart motion detection are solid, its barely baked app makes the camera virtually unusable. The camera is the latest to crib its look from the Arlo line of home security cameras, in this case the Arlo Go (except that camera connects to the internet via an onboard LTE radio).


How Volkswagen's $50 Billion Plan to Beat Tesla Short-Circuited

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

The car, however, didn't work as advertised. It could drive, turn corners and stop on a dime. But the fancy technology features VW had promised were either absent or broken. The company's programmers hadn't yet figured out how to update the car's software remotely. Its futuristic head-up display that was supposed to flash speed, directions and other data onto the windshield didn't function.


Get ready for really low-power AI: Synaptics and Eta Compute envision neural nets that will observe every sound, every motion

ZDNet

Eta Compute had already developed its own ASIC chip and system board for low-power applications. Now it will devote its effort to making software tuned to Synaptics's chips. Smart buildings, smart cities, smart transportation -- such applications of the Internet of Things have been part of the lore of technology companies for over a decade now. But what does it really mean for there to be sensors that are constantly measuring the ambient noise of rooms, or watching people move about, day and night? That kind of constant surveillance may be coming to some built environments as soon as later this year, thanks to the arrival of chips and software that are dramatically more efficient at running algorithms within the tightest of energy constraints.


Hunter Douglas Duette PowerView smart shade review: Ultimate luxury, sophistication, and privacy

PCWorld

The primary appeal of motorized top-down/bottom-up shades is their ability to open and close in two directions: They can open by dropping the top of the shade down from the window's head to the sill, and by lifting the bottom of the shade up from the sill to the head. But Hunter Douglas couldn't justify the lofty price tag of its Duette with PowerView Automation shades unless they were also the most luxurious and innovative shades we've reviewed to date. Top-down/bottom-up shades are a fantastic option because they enhance privacy without completely blocking light from entering the room. If your window faces a busy street, you can lower the shade down from the top to admit light without exposing your room to a view from the street. Or you can drop the top of the shade down in the early morning, so the room is bathed in morning sunlight without impeding your ability to move about the room freely--anyone looking toward your window will only be able to as much of you as you wish to expose. And since these are motorized smart shades, you can create automated schedules to reposition the shades as many times each day and night that you'd care to program, including at sunrise and sunset.