Autonomous Cars Will Require a Totally New Kind of Map Monday, Dec 15 2014 

Map Lab

Autonomous Cars Will Require a Totally New Kind of Map

High-definition-map-for-autonomous-driving

As the vehicle navigated the labyrinthine streets of London and headed for the countryside of Surrey with uncommon speed, the passengers must have felt a bit unnerved. Having selected their destination, they’d relinquished control. They had no communication with the driver, but they could check their progress on a map.

The map must have been reassuring, says Peter Skillman, lead designer for Nokia HERE, the maps division the Finnish communications company. Skillman visited WIRED’s San Francisco office recently to talk about HERE’s efforts to build high definition maps for autonomous vehicles. But the passengers he was talking about weren’t zipping through London in a sleek Audi prototype. They were riding in a stagecoach circa 1720. Skillman had taken a slight detour to show off a map he’d bought recently at an antiquarian map shop in London. Then as now, Skillman said, maps can smooth the transition to a new technology.

‘THE KEY TO MAKING AUTONOMOUS DRIVING WORK IS TO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE DRIVER.’

Autonomous cars will require maps that differ in several important ways from the maps we use today for turn-by-turn directions. They need to be hi-def. Meter-resolution maps may be good enough for GPS-based navigation, but autonomous cars will need maps that can tell them where the curb is within a few centimeters. They also need to be live, updated second by second with information about accidents, traffic backups, and lane closures. Finally, and this was the point Skillman was trying to make with the 1720 road atlas, they’ll need to take human psychology into account and win the trust of their passengers. “The key to making autonomous driving work is to not forget about the driver,” Skillman said.

Fully autonomous cars will be ready to hit the road as soon as 2017 (according to Sergey Brin), or perhaps sometime in the 2020s (according to more conservative forecasts), or maybe never (according to naysayers). The timing may be uncertain, but cars are already becoming more autonomous, creeping across a spectrum from current models with adaptive cruise control and assisted parallel parking to future vehicles that can navigate from A to B while you take a nap or make a sandwich. Much of the attention has focused on the sensors and other technology inside the cars and on the legal questions they raise (if an autonomous car causes an accident, who’s to blame? what if the car was hacked?), but there’s another crucial element: maps.nokia-probe-LA

Like typical digital maps HERE is using satellite and aerial imagery as a starting point for its HD maps. The maps also incorporate anonymized “probe data” from GPS devices inside fleet vehicles owned by trucking companies and other partners. This data, which HERE collects at a rate of 100 billion points per month, contains information about the direction and speed of traffic on roads and highways. But the most detailed information being fed into the maps comes from hundreds of cars outfitted with GPS, cameras, and lidar, a laser-based method for measuring distances.

This fleet is coordinated from a nondescript building two blocks from the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The sensors on the cars were developed by John Ristevski, a 38-year-old Australian native. Ristevski is HERE’s head of reality capture, a job title reminiscent of the famous story by Jorge Luis Borges about a 1:1 scale map that is exactly as big as the area it covers. The map Ristevski and his colleagues are creating has similar aspirations.

When the car is in motion, the lidar system—a cylinder about the size of a soda can—spins around, shooting out 32 laser beams and analyzing the light that bounces back. It collects 700,000 points per second, Ristevski says. An inertial sensor tracks the pitch, roll, and yaw of the car so that the lidar data can be corrected for the position of the car and used to create a 3-D model of the roads it has traveled. The lidar instrument’s range tops out about 10-15 stories above the street. At street level, its resolution is just a few centimeters.

here-car

A HERE car outfitted with GPS, LIDAR, and cameras. Nokia HERE

Lane markers and street signs stand out in the lidar imagery because they’re coated with reflective paint. HERE uses a combination of computer vision algorithms and manual labor to extract this information and check it against imagery from the cars’ cameras (much like Google extracts similar information from its Street View imagery.)

HERE has outfitted roughly 200 cars with the sensor system Ristevski designed, and the company has a similar number of cars with an older generation of equipment. In Berkeley, Ristevski and I took a quick spin with driver Luke Pulaski in a bright blue Volkswagon Jetta wagon with the sensor equipment mounted on a Thule roof rack. A battery pack and custom Linux box with a terabyte hard drive occupied the space where the legs of a front seat passenger would go. Pulaski logged on to the system with a few taps on a tablet mounted just to his right, and icons turned green to indicate that the cameras and other sensors were working. Turn-by-turn directions appeared, calculated to provide the most efficient route to cover every street in the area to be mapped. “For the most part, the driving is actually boring,” Ristevski said. “It’s designed to be.”

All told, HERE has driven 2 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) in 30 countries on 6 continents, all in the last 15 months. Google, HERE’s main competitor in the race to build maps for autonomous cars, has focused its efforts close to home,reportedly mapping 2,000 miles around its headquarters in Mountain View. (The US road network, for comparison, covers 4 million miles). A live map in HERE’s Berkeley office shows which cars are active. The afternoon I visited, a green tags indicated cars actively mapping roads on the west coast and a couple tags indicated that drivers in Australia were off to an early start. The tags in Europe and the east coast were grayed out, done driving for the day.

HD maps will tell an autonomous car what to expect along its route, Ristevski says. “If you just have a bunch of sensors on the car that detect things in real time and no a priori information about what exists, the problem becomes a lot harder,” he said. “The maps are essential.”

 

Of course, road conditions can change quickly, and another challenge for mapmakers is how to detect things like accidents and lane closures and update their maps in as close to real time as possible. Sensors on future autonomous cars could feed information over cellular data networks to HERE’s map in the cloud, but that might not be fast enough to avoid an accident. According to Peter Skillman, it could take several seconds for a car in San Francisco to beam its data to a data center in, say, North Carolina, and get a response. Getting response times down to tens of milliseconds—fast enough for a car to switch lanes to avoid some debris in the road spotted by another car ahead of it—will require applications that live inside the LTE networks and can be accessed locally, Skillman says.

A self-driving car that swerves to avoid debris may be a marvel of technology, but it’s also a scary car to be in if you don’t know what’s going on. And this gets back to Skillman’s point about maps as mediators between human psychology and a potentially frightening new technology. A recent survey found that 88 percent of Americans were worried about riding in a driverless car. The key to getting people to trust autonomous cars, Skillman says, is having the experience match their expectations. If the car signals ahead of time that it’s about to change lanes to avoid some debris, and then does exactly that, it will start to gain the trust of its passengers, he says.

Skillman pulled up a few examples on his laptop, short clips that showed the kind of map you’d see in the console of a car with an onboard navigation system. In one, an animated arrow popped up on a map to indicate an impending lane change. In another, yellow brackets and an exclamation point highlighted a man walking near the side of the road—thereby alerting passengers to the possibility of a sudden move to avoid him.

Skillman played another animation, a short 3-D clip of a route through the streets of Chicago. Played at the start of a trip, this sort of overview could help put passengers at ease by showing them where they are and where they’re going, he says. It’s the same purpose his 18th century road atlas served. Passengers would be able to see that there’s a right turn coming up and understand why. Cartographers will have to keep inventing these kinds of solutions as they design maps for autonomous cars, Skillman says. “We need to develop a whole new visual language so you know what the car’s intentions are.”

1720-road-map

Link: What to do on a long trip with a self driving car:    http://wp.me/p2YCFN-us

Advertisements

5 Ways to Keep Email from Ruining Your Life Wednesday, Jul 9 2014 

5 Ways to Keep Email from Ruining Your Life

David Pogue July 2, 2014

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/5-ways-to-keep-email-from-ruining-your-life-90501714124.html

cd0e27446537bfe47661fe99c6c352201420e79f

 

Email is out of control. For many of us in the working world, there’s just too much of it. Email has become a source of anxiety, a measurement of our failure to keep up.

I’ve done a ton of reading on the subject, trying to peer over my virtual backyard fence to see how other people manage their email tsunamis.

Some people treat email like it’s Twitter: a living stream of communiqués that’s constantly rushing beneath our feet, to be dipped into when there’s a free moment — but otherwise, without feeling any obligation to answer every single one.

Others let their inboxes fill, fill, fill with unanswered mail — 5,000 messages, 10,000, maybe 30,000 — and finally declare “email bankruptcy.” That’s where you throw in the towel and delete all of it, starting fresh, on the assumption that if any of it is still important, the sender will email you again.

But somewhere between those radical solutions and just moving to the Amish country, there are strategies that work. There are protocols that can keep email from destroying your productivity and your self-esteem.

If you expect to hear me championing the “inbox zero” movement, though, you’ll be disappointed. That philosophy says you should end every day with nothing in your inbox. Immediately answer any message you can deal with in less than two minutes — and everything else, you’re supposed to file away into a mail folder.

To me, though, that’s pure self-delusion. Just because you’ve moved a message out of your inbox doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with it. It’s still a to-do hanging over your head even if you hide it away. It’s a self-fakeout, if you ask me.

No, here’s what I propose: Follow these five tips that actually get you through email faster and restore balance to your work life.

1. Don’t be a slave to email. Every time you hear that little chime that says a new message has come in, you lose your train of work thought. You duck out of whatever you were doing to see what little email present has just arrived under the tree. You may even open the message, find an interesting-looking link — and the next thing you know, you’ve just blown seven minutes on the Web.

So turn off the notifications for incoming mail (look for the setting in Options, Preferences, or Settings).

f0f51fc7dad1bb727e405bb64b61ca7be58baec3

Furthermore, limit yourself to checking email only three times a day. In the morning, after lunch, and at the end of the day. No more ducking into email 35 times a day. Give yourself a fighting chance to get some creative momentum going on whatever you do in life.

(And don’t worry about missing things. If people are eager enough to reach you right this minute, they’ll text or call you.)

2. Death to perpetual email chains. One great way to stanch the flow of incoming email is to produce less outgoing mail. And one great way to do that is to end the conversation preemptively.

Idea 1: “I’ll send the proposal Friday. I’ll assume that’s fine unless I hear from you.”

You’ve given the other guy an out. Your wording allows him to stop the chain now. (As opposed to a multi-message back-and-forth: “When’s good? Can I send it Friday?” “Sure, sounds good.” “OK, Friday it is!”)

Idea 2: “I could meet Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 2 and 4. Let me know what works.”

See what you’ve done there? You’ve already established your free times; with only one more message, your colleague can cement the meeting time for good. You’ve saved yourself a bunch of “Sorry, I can’t do it then — how about Thursday?”-type memos.

Idea 3: Adopt email-triage shorthand. Let the other party off the hook by concluding your message with, “No reply needed” (or “NRN”).

Some people even put the entire message in the subject line, followed by EOM (“end of message”), like this:

1905cd18f48eb48c511ff45d60234911aa9093a7

You’ve just saved your colleague the trouble even of opening the message. He’s got your news, and he can now hit Delete.

3. Save typing. Use an auto-expander. Face it: You type the same things over and over and over again. “Thank you so much!” “Got it — will do.” “No problem!” “Hope this helps!” Your address. Your phone number. Phrases that pertain to your line of work.

Using a typing-expander program lets you store these as abbreviations; whenever you type them, they instantly expand to full length. Like these:

ty = Thank you very much!

ma = Much appreciated.

np = No problem.

Addr = My address is: 1244 North Elm Street, Chicago, IL, 60609.

You should also set up “expanders” for typos you make a lot, too: “the” for “teh,” and so on. These programs work everywhere, not just in mail.

On the Mac, this feature is built right in. Open System Preferences; click Keyboard, and then click the Text tab. Click the + button and create the abbreviation you want:

69abbf556361745afac2fc520138f788fa7859d9.png

On Windows, a free program like PhraseExpress does the same trick. (It’s quite sophisticated; it can even propose the completion of entire sentences based on what you’ve typed before.)

No need to build a big list of abbreviations all on Day One; you’ll remember them better if you create them over time. I’ve been using these programs for 15 years, and by now, there are over 400 entries in my abbreviation list. y wdt bv how little i ac type tz days. (“You wouldn’t believe how little I actually type these days.”)

These typing expanders take a few minutes to set up. But they save time, decrease repetitive stress, and eliminate typos.

4. Use Unroll.me. This free service, available for email accounts from Gmail, Google Apps, AOL, Yahoo, Outlook.com, and Hotmail, shows you a master list of everything you’ve subscribed to — whether you think you did or not. All those newsletters, coupon deals, bank pitches … basically, anything you receive that has a tiny “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. Unroll.me frees you from all of them en masse, just by offering little Unsubscribe buttons:

c6fc6b6d031210867c318d722967a49f8414b5e9

(When you click Unsubscribe, the service begins hiding incoming email from those senders instantly, even if it takes a couple of days for the actual Unsubscribe command to register.)

I think it’s weird that, after five unsubscriptions, you can’t unsubscribe from any more without first agreeing to post something about Unroll.me to Facebook or Twitter; that’s its requested “payment.” But it’s worth doing. Unroll.me doesn’t recognize every junky mailing, but it does an amazing job.

(Whatever marketing messages you don’t unsubscribe from get rolled up into a single daily digest, which is refreshing in its own way.)

5. Learn to use message rules (filters). Almost every email program lets you create rules, or filters, that process incoming mail automatically, based on who they’re from or what they say. If there’s some relative who never sends you anything but dumb jokes or hokey inspirational tales, you can set up a rule that automatically files those messages into, say, an Aunt Enid folder.

In Yahoo Mail or Gmail, for example, these rules are called filters. To create one, from the gear menu, choose Settings:

7c5104939f81ef0b1bc725af9e240c99e58b984a

Click Filters, then Add (or Create new filter). Now you get a dialog box where you can set up the rule. In this example, any email from irs.gov gets filed into your Guvmint folder:

bda7a01c678538b7679da559e6e2793b51650325.png

(And speaking of Gmail: Also in Settings, click the Inbox tab. You can use the Inbox Type pop-up menu to try out various Google schemes that attempt to identify and prioritize the important messages — displaying them first, for example.)

There are similar commands in email programs like Outlook and Apple Mail.

There’s no magic button that can reduce your email flood to a trickle. But by eliminating the unimportant junk, minimizing the back-and-forths, and using helper software, you can go a long way toward making the deluge manageable.

You can email David Pogue at this address poguester@yahoo.com;

Reset the Net —This is a re-post of a post by Paul Sieminski Monday, Jun 9 2014 

Paul Sieminski | June 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm |

A year ago today, we joined the world in shock on learning that governments were spying on internet users around the world. Tapping internet service providers’ undersea cables, intentionally and secretly weakening encryption products,  surreptitiously collecting everything from call metadata to photos sent over the internet by US citizens — nothing was off limits.

Just as troubling as the revelations themselves is the fact that since last summer, little if anything has changed. Despite a lot of rhetoric, our three branches of government in the United States have not made many concrete steps toward truly protecting citizens from unchecked government surveillance.

Automattic has been a strong supporter of efforts to reform government surveillance. We’ve supported reform legislation in Congress, and participated in the Day We Fight Back, earlier this year. More importantly, we aim to make our own legal processes for securing the information our users entrust to us as transparent and protective as possible.

Be the change you want to see in the world — that’s why we’re joining the many other companies who are participating today in Reset the Net. In the face of intrusive surveillance, we believe that everyone in the tech community needs to stand up and do what they can, starting with their own sites and platforms. For us, that means working to secure the connection between users and our websites. We’ll be implementing SSL for all *.wordpress.com subdomains by the end of the year.

If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that encryption, when done correctly, works. If we properly encrypt our sites and devices, we can make mass surveillance much more difficult.

We’re happy to be taking these steps and hope that the coming year brings real reform to end mass surveillance.

Paul Sieminski | June 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm |

https://us-mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?#485822647

5 Tips for Using Facebook Smarter and Less Stupidly Thursday, May 29 2014 

 

344eef342112738e7112a16e300ef76479326ced

 

by Tech Columnist

Let’s say you follow my advice to cope with having too many Facebook friends by learning to selectively ignore the ones you don’t care about, instead of going on an unfriending spree.

Obviously there’s another side to the issue: What about “friends” you’d prefer to hide from?

Again, I think there are easier solutions than a time-consuming and unpleasant friend massacre to maintain the social-signal function of Facebook — and your privacy.

1. By all means, do not be friends with actual enemies. Just for the record, it is in fact a good idea to unfriend anyone you believe might have actual, active, visceral ill will toward you. This shouldn’t require any special effort on your part. Nasty breakup? Lawsuit? Grounds for unfriending.

2. Pay attention to who can see what you post. Apparently this is such a problem that even Facebook is preparing changes to make it easier for members to avoid “accidental oversharing.”

But even now it’s not all that hard to, at a minimum, make sure you’re not sharing every post with the public at large. Click the Privacy Shortcuts icon at the top left of your home page and choose Who can see my stuff? At a minimum, make the default Friends. (Not Public.)

You can change this for every status update if you want, and specify that any given update be made visible only to a particular list of friends. If you want to devote the time to it, you can structure a system that will result in some of your “friends” seeing absolutely nothing you post.

3. Just don’t say anything stupid! Frankly, I am not interested in such a granular approach to picking and choosing the audience for every Facebook utterance.

A more efficient strategy: Permanently limit your audience to friends, and just don’t say anything on Facebook that would be harmful to you or anyone else if the entire Internet ended up seeing it. Do not complain about your job, do not trash acquaintances, do not make off-color remarks.

If you want to say something genuinely private, don’t say it on Facebook.

4. Avoid arguments. What’s that? Someone is wrong on the Internet? Ignore it. Do not weigh in with a snarky rebuttal. You will not win the argument; you will escalate it. People will get emotional. Stupid things will be said.

Sure, you think it’s your moral duty to correct an erroneous analysis of Obamacare. But guess what? You are not Batman! So just pretend you didn’t see it, and let somebody else step in and stoke a pointless flame war.

5. Don’t overshare with Facebook itself. Facebook has many, many questions for me: Where did I grow up, what are my favorite bands and movies, and so on.

My friends do not have these questions. Those who care to know are quite aware of where I grew up, and even those who don’t care have heard me go on about The Kinks and Stranger Than Paradise. There’s really no logical reason to disclose this sort of thing unless you are, in fact, somehow attempting to send signals that attract more “friends” who don’t actually know you. (In which case, you can hardly complain about having friends you don’t really know!)

Just ignore all that. Facebook really wants to know more about you because that helps its advertising business target better. And I don’t particularly care how Facebook wants me to use Facebook. Do you?

8 Big Questions About Google’s Self-Driving Car Thursday, May 29 2014 

Martin’s Thoughts:  Something like this is in our future.  Like the very first gasoline cars in the 1890s and early 1900s, this will look very strange and primitive in about 100 years when  internet connected self controlled cars are commonplace.

 

 

BY SAMANTHA MURPHY KELLY

Google on Tuesday unveiled the design of its self-driving car prototype, a pint-sized two-seater with no steering wheel, no brake pedal and a big “stop” button. The car has a curious design (exact dimensions are still unknown) and even has a smiley face on its front exterior.

In a demo video released by the company, a mother details how she can catch up with her son in the car without keeping both eyes on the road, and a couple discusses how safe they feel when the vehicle slows at curves and speeds up at the right time. There’s space enough for two people and a dog to sit up front. The vehicle can go up to 25 miles per hour for now, but Google says it will eventually hit significantly higher speeds.

Google’s car is expected to hit the market by 2020, almost 15 years after the company first started the driverless vehicle project. More recently, it’s been testing the cars on the streets of San Francisco.

SEE ALSO: See How Google’s Self-Driving Car Navigates City Streets

While it’s up for debate if automated driving will truly take off, it will unquestionably usher in a host of new issues, everything from safety issues and traffic laws to accident liability and potential hacking. Here’s a look at some of the bigger ones worth addressing:

Why would you want a self-driving car?

These sensor-filled vehicles have been programmed to make driving decisions based on what’s happening around them in real time, such as slowing down for jaywalking pedestrians, watching for cars that sneak out of hidden driveways and looking for cyclists making gestures that indicate a possible turn. The cars detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions — making it more powerful than the human eye.

Without fallible humans behind the wheel, these cars could have a profound influence on improving road safety.

“The primary advantage here is that it could have a huge impact on safety,” said Joshua Schank, of the Washington-based nonprofit Eno Center for Transportation. “People are not great at driving — 30,000 people die in car accidents each year. Machines can be much better than humans when it comes to driving; they don’t drink or text and can think faster.”

In addition to the potential for reducing crashes, self-driving cars could ease congestion, improve fuel economy, reduce parking needs and bring mobility to those who are unable to drive.
Vehicle-Prototype-Image-Banner-Cropped-600px

 

 

 

Who would use it?

There are use case scenarios for everyone. Not only could the self-driving car streamline commutes — from the grocery store and the office to long road trips — but it could also help transport the elderly, kids and the blind. Taxi and bus companies could also utilize the technology and bring individualized transportation to non-car owners.

What will it cost?

It’s unknown how much a self-driving car would cost, but like with any form of new technology, it will be high: “You could have the greatest technology in the world, but if it’s not affordable, no one will be able to enjoy it,” Schank said.

Will consumers feel safe?

In order for the Google self-driving car to really hit the mainstream, not only does the technology need to be perfected, it has to win over consumer trust. Google’s demo video shows passengers very pleased with the experience — early testers have called it relaxing, while others likened it to a tram-ride you’d find at Disney World.

 

 

 

Perhaps it’s the type of thing each person has to see and experience in person before deciding if it would fit their lifestyle.

But according to a recent study conducted by Seapine Software in February among 2,000 U.S. adults, about 88% said they would be concerned about riding in a driverless car — most of which worried the equipment could fail, such as a braking software glitch or a failed warning sensor that alerts the driver of danger.

“We found, not surprisingly, that safety was the number-one concern that survey respondents noted for their reluctance to adopt driverless technology,” said Rick Riccetti, president and CEO of Seapine Software. “That means that until manufacturers — in this case Google — can prove, without a doubt, that their product is free from software glitches or failures there simply won’t be a market for them for the average consumer.”

SEE ALSO: 12 Mysterious Google Maps Sightings

Recent disclosures and recalls related to car safety issues, including the ignition switch recall delay by General Motors, are not helping in the short term either, Ricetti added. While Google has its work cut out for itself, consumers could easily be swayed if safety and efficiency is proven.

Forget carjacking. What about car hacking?

The study also found that 52% of respondents fear a hacker could breach the driverless car’s system and gain control of the vehicle.

“For all the positives, the industry will need to be very alert to the risk of cyber manipulation and attack,” said Wil Rockall, director of KPMG’s cybersecurity team, in an emailed statement. “Self-drive cars will probably work through Internet connectivity and, just as large volumes of electronic traffic can be routed to overwhelm websites, the opportunity for self-drive traffic being routed to create ‘spam jams’ or disruption is a very real prospect.”

Although the industry would naturally take safety and security seriously, Google would likely have to create ways to step in if issues occur along the way.

“Overrides could also be built in so that drivers could shut down many of the car’s capabilities if hacked,” Rockall wrote. “That way, humans will still be able to ensure their cars don’t route them on the road to nowhere.”

But Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation said that the ability to hack into individual cars would be extremely difficult.

“You would definitely need a security system in place, but it would be very hard to hack into a number of individual systems,” he said. “You might be able to hack into one, but doing so to many cars would be a big challenge.”

Who’s liable in an accident?

The Eno Center for Transportation believes automated self-driving cars have the potential to dramatically change the transportation network. In a recent white paper that looked at potential impacts and hurdles for transportation professionals and policymakers, it noted that self-driving cars could reduce crashes, ease congestion, improve fuel economy, reduce parking needs and bring mobility to those that are unable to drive. But it also highlighted many concerns, especially in terms of liability.

“When there is a car accident now, it’s relatively easy to sort out who was at fault, but in an autonomous vehicle, the water is murkier,” Schank said.

The issue is similar with the airline industry — if there is a crash now, who is at fault: the pilot? The manufacturer?

“It would be far more difficult to watch over that with every car crash, but then again, if vehicle collisions decline because of this technology, it might not be that big of an issue. We just don’t know yet,” he added.

 

 

 

 

As for getting self-driving cars on the road, some states such as Nevada have already issued permits to do so: “There is certainly an eagerness to adopt automated cars from a regulatory standpoint,” Schank said.

Will everyone want a “cute” car?

And finally, let’s talk design. When the Google car prototype is unveiled in the video, one tester calls it “cute.” The reaction isn’t surprising: coupled with the small size of the vehicle and that smiley face on the front, it is cute. But not everyone wants a cute car.

In a society that prides itself on the style, shape and flexibility of picking a car that fits their personality and needs, the self-driving car — or at least this model — is extremely limiting. The concept itself embodies the coolness of future but in a nerdy form factor.

SEE ALSO: Google’s Self-Driving Car Looks Rather Familiar

It’s the same complaint many have given the high-tech Google Glass: neat in theory but geeky on the face. Just like Glass, perhaps the car will eventually come in different shapes and sizes.

Who are Google’s partners?

It’s unclear as of right now who Google has partnered with to built the car, but one thing is evident: companies want in.

Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick said during the Re/Code conference on Wednesday in San Francisco that he sees practical use for Google’s self-driving cars in Uber’s business.

“The magic [of a self-driving uber car] is, the reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re paying for the other dude in the car [the driver],” Kalanick said. “When there isn’t another dude in the car, the cost for taking a road trip becomes cheaper.”

Google has not yet responded to a request for comment on any of the unanswered questions mentioned in this story.

 

 

 

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype Wednesday, May 28 2014 

Martins’ comments:

This is a great idea!  Been waiting for something like this since  I watched the Jetsons cartoon as a kid. I will buy one when the price becomes affordable, the flying option is available and the bugs have been worked out of the design.

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — Google has been building self-driving cars for years, but what we’ve seen so far has always been retrofits of existing cars — until now. The search giant unveiled on Tuesday a fully autonomous self-driving car, built from the ground up by Google and its partners.

Company co-founder Sergey Brin revealed his plans at Recode’s Code Conference in southern California. He told Recode editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (who has ridden in the car), that there’s a safety benefit in a custom-built self-driving car. Because the car doesn’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brakes, it has more sensors in strategic spots than is possible in a regular vehicle. It is also equipped with a big “stop” button. In addition to all this tech, Google’s autonomous car includes internal power steering and power brakes.

“It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, ‘What should be different about this kind of vehicle?'” Chris Urmson, director of the Self-Driving Car Project, wrote in a blog post about the new car.

 Vehicle-Prototype-Image-Banner-Cropped-600px

Swisher said riding in the all-electric car was like going on a Disney ride. Considering it currently has a maximum speed of roughly 25 mph, this makes sense. Brin described riding in the car, which in one test was programmed via smartphone, as “relaxing,” and similar to catching a chairlift. He added that the car will eventually go up to 100 mph once it’s proven to be able to travel safely at that speed.

As for when the cars — which are significantly smaller than traditional cars and include couch-like seating — might actually make it to real highways, Brin said Google will soon test them with drivers. “Within a couple of years, we’ll — if we’ve passed the safety metrics we’ve put in place, which is to be significantly safer than a human driver … have them on the road,” he said.

 

 

by Lance Ulanoff

If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help Saturday, May 24 2014 

If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help

 

 

 

 

19 year old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove Tons Of Plastic From Oceans Thursday, May 22 2014 

19 year old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From Oceans Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/03/19-year-old-student-develops-ocean-cleanup-array-that-could-remove-7250000-tons-of-plastic-from-the-worlds-oceans.html

 I am unlikely to be on this planet in 50 years, but a lot of people reading and hearing this will be.  What kind of world do you want to live in?  I want my grand children who are alive now to have one at least as pleasant as I had 50 years ago when I was young.

Intro to Google Hangouts Thursday, May 22 2014 

 

Online video conferencing is becoming more popular. Video is being used for more than conferencing too! One of the most well-known live streaming video platforms is on Google+, called Hangouts. Since this technology is so new, many people get frustrated by the fact they don’t know how to use it. As someone who’s been using Google Hangouts for over 18 months, I am often asked to help people understand Hangouts. Here’s an intro to Google Hangouts.

There are actually two different types of Hangouts: Hangouts and Hangouts On Air

Hangouts are typically used for private video chats with another person or group of people. They are not recorded to YouTube and only visible to the people you invite to them.

Hangouts On Air are publicly viewable and automatically recorded to you YouTube channel associated with your G+ account. You can invite individuals or circles to join the hangout and up to 10 people (including you) can be on at one time. You can not invite the public to join on air, but by default, they are able to be viewed by everyone.

In this video, we cover everything from starting a Hangout On Air to embedding it on your site.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch#action=share

 

 

 

Some important take aways: 

    1. Hangouts are the GREEN icon in the upper right of your G+ page. Hangouts On Air are the yellow icon in the left sidebar on the G+ page (the left side bar is shown when you hover over the home icon in the upper left corner).

 

    1. You want to mute, or unmute, yourself when you are not talking (talking), especially when more than two people are in the hangout.

 

    1. External headphone and microphone is a must when hanging out with more than two people. You don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment, use you earbuds that you talk with on your phone.

 

    1. Lighting is important. Have the light source in front of you, not in back of you.

 

  1. If you are hosting the hangout, make it easy for people to join or watch. For Hangouts On Air, you can put the YouTube video into the Google+ event or embed on your site. You can also make sure people know they are invited by copying the URL of the HOA and messaging or posting for them to see if they don’t see the notification.

In addition to hosting my own Hangouts On Air, I’m also the community manager atHuffPost Live, where the majority of our guests join us using Google Hangouts. I use Hangouts more than I use my phone to talk to people. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please leave a comment below and I’ll try to address it.

New Smart Glasses Will Wake You Up When You’re About to Fall Asleep Wednesday, May 14 2014 

Image

 

 

Do you have a nasty habit of falling asleep during big office meetings, at church or behind the wheel? An upcoming pair of smart glasses could help predict when you’re about to nod off, potentially saving your job (or your life) in the process. This wild wearable, called the Meme, is set to launch in Japan in 2015 at a starting price of 70,0000 yen, or about $685.

Developed by Japanese manufacturer JINS, the Meme uses eye and motion tracking in order to figure out when you’re tired. Once it knows that you’re a bit sleepy, the Meme will send a notification to your smartphone via a companion app and buzz in your pocket.

MORE: Best Apps for Google Glass

The Meme glasses, which look pretty subtle for a smart device, can do more than track your drowsiness. The device sports fitness features such as calorie counting and step tracking. A short video on the JINS website shows the Meme interacting with a laptop via Bluetooth.

The Meme will launch in multiple forms, including a more traditional glasses design as well as a sunglass variation. We don’t know if these smart spectacles are headed to the states, but until Google Glass learns to give us a nudge when we’re sleepy, we hope they do.

Via Engadget/Jins

Copyright 2014 Toms Guides , a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Next Page »

Steven Ruiz tech news

WebDev-Learner

Web Design & Development

"Make it Colorful. Make it Happy"

Patricia Tallman

Sharing life with you!

Martin

Whether you believe you can do something or not, you are right. ------------------------Henry Ford

Ms. Pinedo's Web Dev Class

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

hellsfunnybelle

The Snarky Side of the South

adamnathan.com

Featuring the writing of Adam Nathan on midlife, music, and the media.

The Rocky Safari

A strange place for the curious & adventurous.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

WordCamp Central

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

patricia.pinedo

There is no "reset button in life"

haleyheartkeepers

written in the language of the heart