Posts tagged wants

London startup SAM Labs wants everyone to try out IoT

drawing-machine-sam-labs-london-iot

SAM Labs, a London-based startup, wants to educate everyone on the Internet of Things (IoT), by providing an easy-to-learn programming platform and tools to let people be creative.

Currently, IoT is a buzzword for most people outside of the tech industry, but Joachim Horn believes that people of all ages can learn how to program for IoT without coming from an engineering background.

See Also: School wearables to surge over the next five years

SAM Labs offers a variety of development kits that provide components like a button, an LED light, a motor, a slider, and a buzzer. From there, users can connect the components together to create a drawing machine, toy car, or several other tutorial devices, using a drag-and-click programming language.

Advanced users are able to build devices outside of the tutorials or even connect third-party components and implement JavaScript, if they find SAM Labs’ tutorials too easy.

SAM Labs trying to making coding accessible to all

The project is perfect for schools, which are trying to come up with ways to make coding accessible, but still powerful. Being able to show the capabilities of IoT, all the while allowing kids to explore their creative side, could be a real winner in the education market.

Outside of education, Horn sees removing the barriers to coding and IoT as a pivotal step, if we’re ever going to see a major surge in computer scientists and engineers in the workplace. It could also provide engineers with a new outlook on IoT and hardware development, according to Horn.

Accessibility has been a key factor in all tech revolutions over the past 50 years, so SAM Labs efforts in combination with more money being invested into edu-tech could make the next generation of learners as adept in coding as they are in English, maths, and science.

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Self-driving tech startup Otto wants truckers to keep on…napping

Otto5

Founded by Google and Tesla vets, new long-haul trucking tech startup Otto wants to truckers to take it easy — but hopefully not the point of the sound of their own wheels driving them crazy.

The firm is building unique sensors, vehicle hardware, and state-of-the-art self-driving software that, when combined, offers a safe, scalable self-driving solution for the highway. The sensors  – camera, radar, lasers – sit high on top of the truck, offering an elevated vantage point of the highway. The in-truck computer system and software make realtime driving decisions based on those sensors, which then control the truck.

See also: How about a self-driving highway – from Canada to Mexico?

Self-driving trucks aren’t really new; plenty of firms are working on the same challenges.

Mercedes Benz has already begun testing its long-haul trucks in Germany and Nevada. Volvo – the makers of Otto’s three-truck fleet of VNL 780’s – and Volkswagen have also started testing autonomous trucks in Europe, with Volkswagen’s managing over 2,000 kilometers without a human taking over the controls.

But while these truck makers are looking to future models to roll out this technology, Otto’s aim is to go after the existing fleet, retrofitting trucks on the road already with their system.

Their real goal to to reduce road accidents involving truckers — an industry notorious for long hours, bad lifestyles and high turnover rates – and to let these newly relabeled “truck attendants” watch movies or read books instead of constantly watching the road.

In the US, about 2.6 million long-haul – or Class 8 – trucks are on the roads, driven by 1.7 million drivers. Otto says they had over 200,000 accidents in 2014, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Otto price not yet set

Founded in January this year and based in San Francisco, the company currently has 40 employees who’ve come from a “who’s who” of self-driving car tech developers – Tesla, Apple, Google and Cruise to name a few. The firm currently runs its test fleet on California highways.

To date, they’ve been financed entirely via employee and founder capital.

The technology is currently in its testing phase so there is no price tag as of yet. But with the average big rig running up to $200,000, team Otto expects their technology to cost truck owners a “small fraction” of that.

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Truck tech startup Otto wants truckers to keep on reading

Otto5

Founded by Google and Tesla vets, new long-haul trucking tech startup Otto wants to truckers to take it easy — but hopefully not the point of the sound of their own wheels driving them crazy.

The firm is building unique sensors, vehicle hardware, and state-of-the-art self-driving software that, when combined, offers a safe, scalable self-driving solution for the highway. The sensors  – camera, radar, lasers – sit high on top of the truck, offering an elevated vantage point of the highway. The in-truck computer system and software make realtime driving decisions based on those sensors, which then control the truck.

See also: How about a self-driving highway – from Canada to Mexico?

Self-driving trucks aren’t really new; plenty of firms are working on the same challenges.

Mercedes Benz has already begun testing its long-haul trucks in Germany and Nevada. Volvo – the makers of Otto’s three-truck fleet of VNL 780’s – and Volkswagen have also started testing autonomous trucks in Europe, with Volkswagen’s managing over 2,000 kilometers without a human taking over the controls.

But while these truck makers are looking to future models to roll out this technology, Otto’s aim is to go after the existing fleet, retrofitting trucks on the road already with their system.

Their real goal to to reduce road accidents involving truckers — an industry notorious for long hours, bad lifestyles and high turnover rates – and to let these newly relabeled “truck attendants” watch movies or read books instead of constantly watching the road.

In the US, about 2.6 million long-haul – or Class 8 – trucks are on the roads, driven by 1.7 million drivers. Otto says they had over 200,000 accidents in 2014, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Otto price not yet set

Founded in January this year and based in San Francisco, the company currently has 40 employees who’ve come from a “who’s who” of self-driving car tech developers – Tesla, Apple, Google and Cruise to name a few. The firm currently runs its test fleet on California highways.

To date, they’ve been financed entirely via employee and founder capital.

The technology is currently in its testing phase so there is no price tag as of yet. But with the average big rig running up to $200,000, team Otto expects their technology to cost truck owners a “small fraction” of that.

The post Truck tech startup Otto wants truckers to keep on reading appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Audi wants to humanize its autonomous car

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The latest update to Audi’s A7 autonomous prototype car, named Jack, adds human-like functionality to make the car seem less robotic.

Audi implemented the new functions to give trucks and other large vehicles more room when passing them on the road, alongside moving closer to the edge of the lane before turning signals on to show it wants to switch lanes, a familiar trait of human drivers.

See Also: Are cars self-driving Apple’s $1 billion stake in China’s Didi?

The goal, according to Audi, is to make the autonomous car drive “more naturally” on the road. While it might not be optimal in a world where all cars are autonomous, it should help drivers get more accustomed to the autonomous car and prevent accidents with human drivers.

Audi is setting up a list of personalities for the autonomous car as well, according to SlashGear, which include aggressive and passive options. This should make driving parents or other cautious individuals less of a farce, by changing the settings to slow down the drive and act more cautiously.

The German automaker is using HERE Maps to indicate different driver tendencies. It is also using the mapping service — which is purchased as part of automotive consortium from Nokia for $3 billion — to alert the autonomous car of traffic jams and growing congestion early.

Audi self-driving car hitting the autobahn

Ford recently patented another way to spot traffic jams in autonomous cars, using drones.

The autonomous car is currently being tested on the A9 Autobahn, though it might see more urban tests in the near future if Chancellor Angela Merkel removes some of the self-driving restrictions.

Audi is far ahead of the pack when it comes to autonomous cars, having test them for years. It plans to implement some autonomous features in the 2018 Audi A8, which should go on sale next year.

It hasn’t went as far as BMW and announced when it plans to launch a fully autonomous vehicle, but we can expect it to be sometime in the next five years.

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Shake and brake: your autonomous car wants your attention

autonomous-car

There’s a grey period that autonomous car developers don’t often discuss between humans controlling cars and AI controlling cars, where humans in autonomous cars will need to stay on high alert to avoid accidents with terrible human drivers.

Some suggestions have been put forward on how to tackle this intersection, like using visual or aural alerts. The Tesla Model S, which provides a highway self-driving system, alerts the driver through a series of beeps, warning them to take control of the car.

See Also: Ford autonomous car to come with mini-me drone

However, according to the Technische Universität München in Munich, Germany, all of the current alerts systems are ineffective. A team of researchers said to Spectrum IEEE that vibrotactile display alerts are by far the best way to get the driver’s attention, because they are hard to ignore.

Another advantage of vibrotactile alerts is the ability to tell the driver where the danger is coming from. If an accident is about to happen on the left, the car will send vibrations to that side.

Your Tesla will shake you all night long – because you’re sleepy

The team said that vibrotactile alerts should be used in conjunction with the current spew of blinkers that flash when the autonomous car spots an issue or doesn’t know what to do.

While alerts are fine for issues like not having enough gas (or electricity) or an upcoming traffic jam, we hope that in the future autonomous car providers will develop systems to better protect a sleepy or inattentive driver, instead of banking on driver’s making the perfect call in a life-or-death situation.

This should be the top priority for autonomous car providers, considering the main concern raised by most drivers is how the artificial intelligence will respond to an oncoming accident. If manufacturers can build a car that is able to withstand more damage or can better protect the driver, we may see much higher adoption rates in a shorter space of time.

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Europe’s largest railway wants to self-drive you home

deutsche-bahn-train-autonomous-car

Commuters in Germany may be able to order an autonomous car to help them arrive at the train station on time.

Deutsche Bahn, the largest railway service in Europe, has started tests aimed at helping commuters on the “final mile” of their trip, which can often be the most strenuous.

See Also: Will elderly and disabled gain the most from autonomous cars?

Instead of hailing a ludicrously expensive taxi or waiting for the potentially late bus, commuters will be able to open the Deutsche Bahn app and order an autonomous vehicle to pick them up.

Rüdiger Grube, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn, didn’t detail when the autonomous fleet would be ready. In an interview with German magazine Wirtschafts Woche, he said that autonomous functionality could also come to the company’s trains, and predicted a centralized system would run the train network sometime next decade.

Connecting public transport networks together is one of the fundamentals of most “smart city” manifestos, which gives commuters a single fare across the city. While Deutsche Bahn is focused on the “last mile” journey, it could easily branch out with a few thousand more cars to cover some of the major cities in Germany.

Europe still hasn’t approved autonomous cars

Autonomous cars are still illegal in Europe, but the EU commission recently granted a few companies the ability to test “level three” autonomy, also known as “hands off” — the next two levels are “mind off” and “driverless”, both are not allowed on public roads.

That might change in a few years though, as the pace of autonomous car adoption starts to ramp up. General Motors, Ford, PSA Group, Fiat Chrysler and almost every other major automotive company are starting to test autonomous features, either in-house or with a tech company like Google, Uber, or Lyft, which will put more pressure on governments to let tests happen on public roads.

Germany is quite far ahead in this regard, Chancellor Angela Merkel said to automakers that legal barriers may be removed and the government would be willing to invest in electric, autonomous cars in the near future.

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Australian PM wants cities to smarten up

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There are many advantages to becoming a smart city. But chief among them could be the potential they have for boosting regional economies as the result of the cities being made a more appealing place for businesses and tech-savvy professionals alike.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced a Smart Cities policy that would create a new unit for infrastructure finance with the goal in mind of providing the resources needed to create smart cities throughout Australia’s metropolitan regions.

Part of this plan is to create what is being dubbed as “30 minute cities” which describes a city where anyone can commute to work, school, and its various lifestyle services in 30 minutes or less. This would require some major overhauls to Australia’s current transportation system, especially in cities like Melbourne where traffic congestion is a considerable problem.

Turnbull’s Smart Cities Plan is the first of its kind, focused on creating a long-term investment strategy that focuses on major cities and their metropolitan areas. By giving big cities the infrastructure improvements it would need, citizens in the surrounding area will have an easier time traveling through and accessing businesses and services.

Having smart IoT technologies in place such as better traffic sensors tied to a centralized control system, widespread access to fiber connections, and other important advancements lead to a better quality of life for citizens, and a more appealing place for businesses to call home.

Australian plan has its challenges

Turnbull’s plan is not without its challenges. For one, this is a major investment undertaking which will require the creation of a new infrastructure financing unit. This unit would work closely with the private sector to create financing solutions for these government projects.

Turnbull believes that by investing in smart city infrastructure, the government of Australia will save a lot more in the long run. Exactly how much, is unclear. Smart cities require proper planning from every level of development.

However, a recent estimate from the Bureau of Infrastructure warned that urban traffic congestion alone costs Australians $16.5 billion each year, with a forecasted increase to between $27.7 and $37.7 billion by 2030.

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