ground transportation


From braille to Be My Eyes – there's a revolution happening in tech for the blind

The Guardian

I am using an app called Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind and visually impaired people to sighted volunteers via a remote video connection. In the mid-1970s Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in optical character recognition (OCR) – software that can recognise printed text – founded Kurzweil Computer Products and programmed omni-font, the first OCR program with the ability to recognise any kind of print style. All the time, companies are finding new ways to improve accessibility and Be My Eyes isn't the only assistive technology company taking advantage of the real time human element, building technology that is based on the creation of dialogue with its users. Earlier this year, Aira helped Erich Manser, who has retinitis pigmentosa, run the Boston marathon.


The information age is over, welcome to the machine learning age

#artificialintelligence

You could say the information age started in 1965 when Gordon Moore invented Moore's Law (a prediction about how transistors would double every year, later changed to every 18 months). Some would argue the information age started long before then, when electricity replaced steam power. In their book Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, economic gurus Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson suggest that we're now in the "machine learning" age. In the book, the authors explain why the transition from steam power to electric power took a long time.


Driverless vehicles put through road tests in Okinawa

The Japan Times

The tests overseen by METI saw two four-seater electric carts navigate roads fitted with the required routing technology near hotels and tourist facilities in Chatan on the west coast of Okinawa Island. Further trials will involve driverless microbuses traveling short distances in other regions, according to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, which conducted Monday's tests with other firms. Self-driving vehicles "can be utilized in less-populated areas and tourist sites. In a joint effort with such firms as Yamaha Motor Co. and Hitachi Ltd., the institute will conduct more tests to evaluate safety issues while investigating ways to reduce waiting times for people using such services, the institute said.


The information age is over, welcome to the machine learning age

#artificialintelligence

You could say the information age started in 1965 when Gordon Moore invented Moore's Law (a prediction about how transistors would double every year, later changed to every 18 months). Some would argue the information age started long before then when electricity replaced steam power. In their book Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, economic gurus Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson suggest that we're now in the "machine learning" age. In the book, the authors explain how the transition from steam power to electric power took a long time.


Opinion The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

Imagine the gains to a loan company that could issue 30 million loans a year with virtually no human involvement. As for the consumer internet market, seven American or Chinese companies -- Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent -- are making extensive use of A.I. It seems American businesses will dominate in developed markets and some developing markets, while Chinese companies will win in most developing markets.


Uber's wrong turn

FOX News

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from the ride-sharing service he co-founded, another twist in a rough year for the company. There's also a court battle stemming from allegations that Uber stole trade secrets from Waymo, Alphabet's (GOOGL) self-driving car development company. Waymo alleges that Anthony Levandowski - a former top manager for Google's self-driving car project - stole pivotal technology from Google before leaving to run Uber's self-driving car division. Uber's board releases Holder's recommendations, which include removing some of Kalanick's responsibilities and replacing Uber's chairman and founder, Garrett Camp, with an independent chairman.


Here's a Look at the Smart Cities of the Future

#artificialintelligence

Regular readers of Futurism probably understand, by now, what it means when the word "smart" is affixed to any common piece of technology -- it means a serious upgrade, most likely with internet connectivity, the ability to process huge amounts of data, and probably even an artificial intelligence (AI) program of some kind. The challenge of building a smart city far surpasses the "simple" engineering obstacles to creating a fully connected urban environment. Any smart city worth its salt will possess a fully integrated infrastructure, with smart transportation services (including autonomous vehicles), internet and communication systems, water services, and electrical and power grids all connected and unified. Such a massive, city-wide system will undoubtedly require significant upgrades in infrastructural computing power just to process the massive amounts of raw data.


Why don't they have self-driving cars in Black Mirror?

#artificialintelligence

I've watched four episodes from Black Mirror (S1E1 - S2E1), and two of them featured highly advanced neurotechnology - However, technology doesn't advanced into the weeds in just one application; AI advances bring with them application on multiple fronts. If you have AI so advanced it can simulate a human, then self-driving cars are a breeze. Yet in S2E1 a human died because he drove a van in the winter. Is this a plot hole, or is there a better reason for the discrepancy?


Cities vie to become hubs of self-driving technology

USATODAY

"I think it's about being a part of the race," said Alex Fischer, CEO of the Columbus Partnership, a group of top CEOs that helped the Ohio city beat out tech hubs such as Austin, Pittsburgh and San Francisco to win federal grant money through the government's Smart City Challenge. NuTonomy, a company that emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, is working with French automaker PSA Groupe on a self-driving car. NuTonomy, a company that emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, is working with French automaker PSA Groupe on a self-driving car. With talented professionals in the autonomous vehicle space at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania's second-largest city quickly emerged as an attractive base for the world's leading self-driving car companies.


Regulators scramble to stay ahead of self-driving cars

USATODAY

"If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different," said Chan Lieu, an adviser to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo and ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft. "That has been our challenge since Day One," said Jessica Gonzalez, spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which recently proposed revised rules in a state home to several tech giants that are developing self-driving car technology, such as Google, Apple, Uber and Tesla. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we're tasked with making sure this technology is safe," In March, California regulators introduced a pathway to obtain permits for driverless car testing after initially signaling last year that it would require a steering wheel and brake pedals in all test vehicles. "The U.S. still runs the risk of slowing down the development and introduction of autonomous driving technologies by making it difficult for carmakers to test, develop, certify and sell" self-driving cars, said Anders Karrberg, Volvo's vice president of government affairs.