How's that 'self-driving' vision coming along, again?Until it's fixed, owners of some Ram pickups, Jeep SUVs, and other Chrysler and Dodge vehicles are being warned against using cruise control.The auto-maker's recall announcement said:In certain vehicles, if such an acceleration were to occur simultaneously with a short-circuit in a specific electrical network, a driver could be unable to cancel cruise-control.However, if this sequence of events were to occur, cruise-control acceleration can be overpowered by the vehicle’s brakes.A driver who needs to stop the car should put it into Neutral and brake, and once they've stopped, putting the vehicle into Park will cancel cruise control.
Telsa agreed this week to a settlement in a class action lawsuit filed against the company by buyers of Tesla vehicles who alleged the company semi-autonomous, assisted driving feature was “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.”The terms of the agreement, which have yet to be approved by US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, will require Tesla to place more than $5 million (£3.7 million) into a settlement fund.The fund will provide Model S and Model X owners with compensation for the faulty feature, according to Reuters.As with most class action suits, the agreement won’t pay out a whole lot to the actual members of the class.Reuters reported Tesla owners bought or leased cars with Enhanced Autopilot between October 2016 and September 2017 will be eligible receive between $20 (£15) and $280 (£210) in compensation — a small fraction of the $5,000 (£3,700) they paid for a feature that was “completely inoperable,” per the complaint.When the class action suit was first filed back in April 2017, Tesla vigorously fought back against the charges, calling them “disingenuous,” “inaccurate,” and “sensationalist.” The company seems to have changed its tune since then, calling the settlement an attempt to “do right by those customers” in a statement to The Verge.
The last version of Apple's iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 11, had some pretty significant updates: a new control panel, ARKit, new Siri functions, central file directories, more Pencil support on iPads, a whole new iPad multitasking system, and more system storage management control.And that doesn't even include some notable features that came in followup point releases, including a battery health beta and improved ARKit in iOS 11.3, and Apple Pay Cash in iOS 11.2.There are certainly plenty of areas for improvement."Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode ends up working when I'm not driving, and sending me messages when I am.Smooth over the iPhone X odditiesIf most of Apple's 2018 phone lineup is going to have the iPhone X's Face ID and home button-free design, as rumored, it's time to touch up what's been bothering us most about the iPhone X: the strange pull-down-from-the-corner Control Center, or the way the top bar of information now hides key bits of info.
As a result of new work by Amir Ali Ahmadi and Anirudha Majumdar of Princeton University, a classical problem from pure mathematics is poised to provide iron-clad proof that drone aircraft and autonomous cars won’t crash into trees or veer into oncoming traffic.Then, almost 90 years later, computer scientists and engineers discovered that this mathematical property—whether an equation can be expressed as a sum of squares—helps answer many real-world problems they’d like to solve.Instead of numbers, Hilbert’s question—the 17th of 23 he posed at the opening of the 20th century—has to do with polynomial expressions like 5x2 + 16x + 13.In 1927 the mathematician Emil Artin proved that Hilbert’s conjecture is true.Optimization theory is concerned with finding the best way to do something amid constraints—like finding the best route to work given the current traffic conditions and a stop you need to make along the way.In such cases, you solve, or “optimize” the scenario, by finding the minimum value taken by the polynomial.
One of the greatest ironies in this still-nascent era of self-driving cars is that humans are the backup safety drivers for these autonomous systems, while the systems themselves are supposed to replace human drivers and all our follies.Earlier this week, a preliminary report from the NTSB indicated that the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman in Arizona earlier this year, did in fact “see” the woman in the seconds before the crash occurred.Transportation writer Aarian Marshall and editor Alex Davies join the Gadget Lab podcast this week to discuss the issues that surround “software that’s not yet ready to replace humans, and humans that are ill-equipped to keep their would-be replacements from doing harm.” And of course, we couldn’t have a conversation about the future of transportation without talking about Elon Musk.Show notes: Here’s Aarian’s and Alex’s story on the preliminary report about the car crash back in March involving an Uber self-driving car.Also, Alex writes about the follies of humans act as backup safety drivers, while Aarian lays out California’s heavy-handed plans to regulate autonomous vehicles.Recommendations this week: Alex has hopped aboard the password manager train (had to get a transpo reference in there) and recommends LastPass.
Tesla announced a number of new hires today, including Stuart Bowers, who is joining as VP of engineering.“We’re excited to welcome a group of such talented people as we continue to ramp Model 3 and accelerate towards a more sustainable future,” Tesla wrote on its blog.“We’ll be announcing more hires in the coming days, so stay tuned.”These new hires come following a couple of departures.In April, Tesla VP of Autopilot Jim Keller left for Intel, with Pete Bannon serving as Keller’s replacement.Earlier this month, Sameer Qureshi left a senior manager Autopilot role at Tesla to lead Lyft’s autonomous driving efforts.
$296 million in April, big.That’s according to SuperData Research (via The Verge), a service that tracks digital game sales.The number, which includes sales from the console, mobile and PC versions of the game, is up $73 million from just last month.The sandbox’s survival game’s April numbers are also more than double the $126 million it earned back in February.The title is currently atop Superdata’s console chart, and is number five on the PC, several slots ahead of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.According to the survey it “once again it broke the record for most additional content revenue in a single month by a console game.”
Who needs navigational aids on a self-driving tanker anyway?The International Maritime Organisation has woken up to the notion of robot boats – and is now pondering whether to regulate them.Unmanned shipping, as a concept, has been around for a good few years.Rolls-Royce, makers of engines for aircraft and watercraft alike for many decades, even published a marketing paper about autonomous warships last year, building on its rather more serious plans for unmanned commercial shipping.Today the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee – the greybeards who regulate the high seas, outside of individual nations' territorial waters – decided they will take a closer look at the rise of the maritime machines.Although the dry official language of the MSC's statement today says merely that it has "established a correspondence group on [maritime autonomous surface ships, MASS] to test the framework of the regulatory scoping exercise agreed at the session" today, this is the starting point for potential worldwide regulation of the use of autonomous ships.
Motorists unexpectedly drove straight into the path of a raging tornado in Germany last week — and the terrifying incident was captured on video.A video that has been circulating online shows two cars driving down a tree-lined road in Schwalmtal, Germany, when suddenly a tornado appears.Trees are nearly blown over by the powerful winds, which kick up dirt and other debris.The vehicles parked just ahead of the tornado, which slowly inched closer.The tornado then "swallowed" the cars with darkness.Meteorologist Anton Seimon told National Geographic the tornado was likely winding down by the time the motorists reached it, estimating winds were about 74 miles per hour at the time.
Tesla has paid out $5 million to settle a class action lawsuit against it alleging that the Autopilot feature in the company’s cars was “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.” Owners who paid $5,000 for Autopilot will be reimbursed to the tune of a couple hundred bucks, Reuters reported.Although Tesla claimed that the semi-autonomous driving software would improve safety and reduce the possibility of collisions, it was in practice erratic and unreliable.“Contrary to what Tesla represented to them, buyers of affected vehicles have become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous if engaged.”A series of crashes that took place while Autopilot was active didn’t help dissuade anyone of that, though Tesla has maintained that the feature has improved safety overall.It also continued to update the system, bringing it closer to its original promise, but those improvements have taken a great deal more time than users were told to expect.Ultimately it was those delays in achieving the promised functionality that Tesla admitted were worth compensating the class members for.
Those charges included two counts of attempted rape, two counts of sexual battery, and three counts of aggravated burglary.At the time of his arrest mid-day Sunday the driver, Kevin Jerome, was on duty and had two passengers in his car, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.The decision to run Jerome’s plates was completely random, according to police spokesperson Sarah O’Hara.It’s unclear how Jerome was able to drive for Uber.The platform claims to perform a background check on all its drivers, and notes on its website that “convictions for felonies, violent crimes, sexual offences, and registered sex offender status, among other types of criminal records,” disqualify individuals from becoming a driver.An Uber spokesperson told Gizmodo that the company is investigating the incident.
A Tesla Autopilot class action suit is one step closer to settlement, with Model S and Model X owning plaintiffs agreeing to a cash payout having complained that the second-generation of the driver assistance technology had “dangerous” delays in its functionality being rolled out.The agreement, which is yet to be approved by the San Jose federal court judge overseeing the case, would see more than $5m being set aside for a settlement fund by Tesla.That dramatically increased the number of sensors installed on the car, and the automaker promised that functionality would significantly improve in tandem.Indeed, Tesla even suggested that – eventually – Autopilot 2.0 cars would be capable of fully autonomous driving.Adaptive cruise control wasn’t initially enabled, nor speed assist or park assist.A group of disgruntled EV drivers ganged together, filing a lawsuit alleging that Tesla had been slow to deliver the firmware updates required to enable the functionality it was promising.
When it comes to autonomous and self-driving vehicles, they are perched up on a pedestal as being the future and a major solution to environmental and public transportation woes, mainly in the name of safety, reducing traffic congestion, and ultimately reducing a city’s carbon footprint.But how about associating autonomous and self-driving vehicles as a health, safety, and sanitary issue?When it comes to autonomous and self-driving vehicles meant for fleet purposes, such as potentially replacing traditional drivers in the world of taxicabs and ridesharing, cleanliness of these vehicles could become a major issue, according to Slate.It’s hard to deny that even today, taxicabs, Ubers, and even Lyfts, can have questionable levels of cleanliness already, so this concern isn’t unfounded as an emerging form of public transportation suffering from growing pains.When it comes to shuttling thousands, if not millions of people, on a regular basis from point A to point B, it’s inevitable things will get dirtied up just by the usual flow of people by massive amounts of volume.That, of course, makes it a public health concern, especially when it comes to the control of pathogens and disease, among many other human health concerns when a mass of bodies converges in a single, confined space.
Even though Fiat Chrysler's latest recall is huge, the chance of actually running into the problem is rather small.FCA has issued a recall for approximately 4.8 million vehicles in the US, all of which have automatic transmissions and gas engines.The full list is below:2014-2018 Ram 2500, 3500, 3500/4500/5500 chassis cabThe issue stems from the cruise control.If the cruise control were to initiate acceleration -- for example, when driving uphill to maintain speed -- while a short-circuit simultaneously occurred in a specific part of the electrical control, the cruise control might become impossible to defeat.
Uber has made a massive concession in its contractual world, coming up with a plan to offer its drivers sick pay and maternity pay — funded by an insurance policy that's paid for using the commissions it takes on each trip.Uber's UK team says this change kicks in on June 1, which is quite the coincidence as the taxi company's battle with the courts to retain its London licence is set to hit the courts this summer, when its appeal is heard.The AXA Insurance Partner Protection policy covers 70,000 UK drivers, who can expect to receive £75 a day in sick pay, up to a maximum of £1,125.The policy also covers injuries and medical expenses, and includes a one-off maternity/paternity payment of £1,000, should any drivers ever take enough time off from driving to have sex.To qualify for the policy, drivers need to have clocked 150 trips in the last eight weeks, with workers in its food courier division required to have completed 30 drops in the same time period.
Then on Thursday morning, the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on Uber’s fatal self-driving crash in March, providing fresh details on what the car saw—and why it couldn’t avoid killing pedestrian Elaine Herzberg.Stories you might have missed from WIRED this weekThursday morning, federal investigators looking into a fatal collision between a pedestrian and a self-driving Uber released their preliminary report, laying out the facts of what happened the night of March 18 in Tempe, Arizona.Last week, Elon Musk hosted an informational session to talk about his idea for creating a network of tunnels underneath Los Angeles, through which cars could ride on electric skates at 150 mph.The engineers don’t dig everything the Boring Company is putting down.Too bad, Jack reports, the new options also happen to be the most expensive ones.
Toyota has confirmed pricing and fuel economy numbers for the new 2019 Corolla Hatchback, and there’s generally good news all round.The first of the 12th generation Corolla range to hit the market, it replaces the 2018 Corolla iM – previously known as the Scion iM – with more power and more economy.Indeed, the step up over the old iM is considerable, with the 2019 Corolla Hatchback besting its predecessor by several points – depending on where you’re driving – whether you opt for the six-speed manual transmission or the CVT.The 2019 Corolla Hatchback SE MT does 28 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined.In contrast, the old Corolla iM manual did 27 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined.EPA figures for the XSE MT are yet to be confirmed.
Planned centralisation of biometrics could give access to 90% of population for facial recognition.Information Commissioner threatens to sue Home OfficeA Parliamentary committee has warned of “urgent need for action” on government facial recognition oversight, demanding a biometrics strategy promised four years ago be published “without delay”.It comes after planned IT upgrades could see police gain access to the images of 90 percent of the population, as legacy police IT systems are replaced by a centralised Home Office Biometrics Programme (HOB).“The IT replacement programme would allow police officers to be able to access driving licenses images, and consideration was being given to whether passport images could also be accessed,” the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said this morning.The report comes after the UK’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter told Parliament earlier this year that the £2.2 billion annually was being spent across the UK on surveillance cameras: “The ability of the State and indeed the commercial sector to physically and intrusively track the citizen in public spaces is well and truly upon us”, he said.
With the public transport infrastructure varying somewhere between poor and non-existent – depending on which city or area you are in – there has been a rush by customers to buy their own means of transportation.Not to mention, with the entry of Uber and Ola, the taxi segment has seen uncharted growth.The end result, however, has been that traffic density has grown multi-fold and if you’re unfortunate enough to travel during peak hours, the commute can be a long and painful one.So, when Renault offered us a Duster AMT as a long termer, I jumped at the opportunity.The convenience of driving a comfortable, honest-to-God SUV with an automatic transmission was a combo that offered a lot of promise, and after years of driving manual gearbox turbodiesels in traffic, my left leg could surely use some rest.First impressions of the Duster have been rather positive – but then again, I’ve always been quite fond of the car – with its big glasshouse, there is excellent visibility all round which makes driving and parking a breeze.
The summer this year has been, for the lack of a better word, brutal.North India has seen record high temperatures and Delhi has been more or less felt more like an oven than a city.So, with the thermometer running upwards of 45-degrees for the whole month, it’s been an absolute blessing that I’ve been driving around in the Duster.Despite a significantly large glasshouse, the cabin temperature reduces drastically when on the move and quickly transforms the cabin from a searing hot oven to a relaxed ambience.What also helps significantly are the cloth seats on the automatic version of the car, which means that despite extreme temperatures, your back doesn’t feel like it’s been through a hot shower every time you drive.I did manage to take it on an 800-kilometre journey to the hills last month and with its superb high-speed stability and fantastically tuned suspension, the Duster didn’t miss a beat throughout.