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Crime

Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-happens-in-seoul-stays-in-seoul dept.
itwbennett writes Uber Technologies is offering free rides on its uberX ride-sharing service in the South Korean capital of Seoul, after city authorities intensified their crackdown on illegal drivers by offering a reward to residents who report Uber drivers to police. South Korean law prohibits unregistered drivers from soliciting passengers using private or rented vehicles and carries a penalty of up to two years in prison or fines of up to 20 million won.
Businesses

Amazon Files Patent For Mobile 3D Printing Delivery Trucks 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-your-almost-functional-lego-replica-in-30-minutes-or-it's-free dept.
ErnieKey writes: Amazon has been inching its way into the 3D printing space over the past 10 months or so. This week, however, the U.S. Patent office published a filing by Amazon for mobile 3D printing delivery trucks. The trucks would have 3D printers and CNC machines on board and be able to communicate with a central hub. When a product is ordered, the mobile 3D printing truck that's closest to the consumer's home or office would then get the order, print it, and deliver it as soon as possible.
Mars

Mars One Does Not Renew Contracts For Robotic Missions 110

Posted by timothy
from the first-one-was-good-enough dept.
braindrainbahrain writes Mars One is, of course, the highly speculative, low credibility project to land humans on Mars after a one-way trip. In 2013 they had announced that two contracts had been awarded to the aerospace industry to develop a Mars orbiter and a Mars lander to carry a science experiment payload to the surface. Both contracts have been completed, but so far, Mars One has no immediate plans to renew the contracts and pursue further development of the crafts.
Transportation

The Best, and Worst, Places To Drive Your Electric Car 212

Posted by timothy
from the consult-a-chart-of-gas-tax-rates-too dept.
sciencehabit writes For those tired of winter, you're not alone. Electric cars hate the cold, too. Researchers have conducted the first investigation into how electric vehicles fare in different U.S. climates. The verdict (abstract): Electric car buyers in the chilly Midwest and sizzling Southwest get less bang for their buck, where poor energy efficiency and coal power plants unite to turn electric vehicles into bigger polluters.
Transportation

Delivery Drones: More Feasible If They Come By Truck 129

Posted by timothy
from the last-mile-problem dept.
malachiorion writes Amazon's drone delivery service was never going to work. It was too autonomous, and simply too risky to be approved by the FAA in the timeframe that Jeff Bezos specified (as early as this year). And yet, the media is still hung up on Amazon, and much of the coverage of the FAA's newly released drone rules center around Prime Air, a program that was essentially a PR stunt. Meanwhile, a Cincinnati-based company that makes electric delivery trucks has an idea that's been largely ignored, but that's much more feasible. The Horsefly launches from and returns to a delivery truck once it reaches a given neighborhood, with a mix of autonomous flight to destination, driver-specified drop-off locations, and remote-piloted landings. The company will still need to secure exemptions from the FAA, but unlike Amazon, they at least have a chance. There's more detail about Amp's technically impressive (and seemingly damn tough) drone in my story for Popular Science.
Transportation

Federal Study: Marijuana Use Doesn't Increase Auto Crash Rates 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-still-don't-do-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After the legalization of marijuana in multiple states around the U.S., many are worried about a corresponding uptick in car crashes as people drive while under the influence of pot. But according to a new federal study (PDF) commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those fears seem unfounded. They report that after adjusting for other factors (people who tend to drive after using marijuana also tend to be more crash-prone in general), there was no statistically significant increase in crash rates by drivers who tested positive for the drug. It's still a bad idea to drive high, but driving drunk is far, far worse: "One substance was shown to have a major influence on crashes: alcohol. The study confirmed the enormous danger of drinking and driving, even after age and sex adjustment: drivers with a 0.05% blood-alcohol level were found to be twice as likely to be in a crash. For a person weighing 180 to 190 pounds, that could be a single can of beer, glass of wine, or shot of liquor. At 0.08% (two drinks), the likelihood is quadrupled, and at .20% (four drinks or more), the risk is higher by 23 times."
Mars

Elon Musk To Write a Book About Earth Sustainability and Mars Colonization 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the use-your-words dept.
MarkWhittington writes Elon Musk has taken on quite a number of projects with a goal of changing the world while making lots of money doing so. He proposes to revolutionize space travel through his commercial launch company, SpaceX. His more earthly endeavors have included electric cars, home solar power, a transportation system called the Hyperloop, a space based Internet and, most recently, a battery that can power a house. Now, according to a story in Business Insider, Musk will open his mind on his views on "sustainability" was well as Mars colonization in book form.
Transportation

Apple Hiring Automotive Experts 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the cars-with-just-one-button dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A report at the Financial Times (paywalled) says Apple is on an aggressive hiring push to pick up automotive experts. Recent rumors suggest Apple is putting together a transportation research lab, and nobody outside the company is quite sure why. It's unlikely they's want to build an entire car themselves, but quite possible they see a big space for Apple technology within motor vehicles, much as Google seems to. They already have CarPlay, and it will doubtless grow, but we still don't have anything approaching a dominant platform for car software. Whatever they're working on, it looks like the competition for more robust computer technology in cars is heating up.
EU

EU Preparing Vast Air Passenger Database 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-spy-the-friendly-skies dept.
jfruh writes: Despite privacy concerns and doubts over its usefulness, a plan to track passengers entering or leaving the European Union in a series of national databases is likely to become reality by the end of the year. Legislation working its way through the European Parliament will authorize European nations to set up databases of the sort already in use in the UK, and to share information with each other. All the EU parties except the Greens are in favor.
Transportation

Seoul City To Introduce Uber Rival Premium Taxi Service 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the different-ride dept.
An anonymous reader writes Seoul city has today announced that it will be launching a luxury taxi service this summer to rival the global cab-hailing app Uber, adding to the obstacles that the U.S.-based firm is currently facing in the Asian market. The government's move comes after the country's transport department rejected a proposal from Uber last week for a new driver registration, and enforced its stance against Uber operating in the area. The new premium service will be introduced in Seoul city in August with 100 luxury and mid-sized saloon cars. "We will provide a premium tax service which excels that of Uber..." the Seoul government said in a statement. It stated that a taxi association would be partners of the scheme to help establish the service, but added no detail regarding which company they would be working with.
Transportation

Mooted: An Undersea Link From Finland To Estonia 149

Posted by timothy
from the to-send-along-massages-from-sweden dept.
jones_supa writes A train link between Finland and continental Europe could become a reality 15 or 20 years from now. A study carried out by Sweco Consulting recommends moving ahead with negotiations on building a railway tunnel between the capital cities Helsinki and Tallinn. According to a preliminary report out Wednesday, an undersea link would shorten the travel time between the two capitals from the current minimum 90 minutes by ship to around 30 minutes by rail. Estimated ticket cost is about 40 euros. The study, commissioned by the two cities, estimates that the undersea route could be completed after 2030 and would cost somewhere between 9 and 13 billion euros.
NASA

SpaceX Signs Lease Agreement With Air Force For Landing Pad 53

Posted by timothy
from the military-musk-complex dept.
PaisteUser writes Space News reports that SpaceX has signed a historic agreement to allow construction of a landing pad for Falcon 9 booster stages. From the article: "The U.S. Air Force announced Feb. 10 that SpaceX has signed a five-year lease for Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 13, which was used to launch Atlas rockets and missiles between 1956 and 1978. In its new role, it will serve as a landing pad for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy booster cores launched from Florida, the Air Force said. Financial terms of the lease were not disclosed." Patrick Air Force Base also provides the documentation used for the environmental impact study which details out how the landing pad will be constructed.
EU

ESA Complete Spaceplane Test Flight; IXV Safely Returns To Earth 56

Posted by timothy
from the splashdown dept.
hypnosec writes The European Space Agency has successfully completed the first test flight of its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), as planned, wherein it saw the wingless spaceplane land in one piece in the Pacific Ocean. A Vega VV04 rocket took the IXV to an altitude of 340 km, from which it separated and continued up to 412 km. Reentering from this suborbital path, it recorded a vast amount of data from more than 300 advanced and conventional sensors. According to ESA the spaceplane few east around the globe during its descent and finally landed safely in the the Pacific Ocean west of the Galapagos Islands at about 15:20 GMT.
NASA

NASA Releases Details of Titan Submarine Concept 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the star-trek-and-seaquest-crossover dept.
Zothecula writes: Now that NASA has got the hang of planetary rovers, the space agency is looking at sending submarines into space around the year 2040. At the recent 2015 NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts Symposium, NASA scientists and engineers presented a study of the Titan Submarine Phase I Conceptual Design (PDF), which outlines a possible mission to Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where the unmanned submersible would explore the seas of liquid hydrocarbons at the Titanian poles.

"At its heart, the submarine would use a 1 kW radiothermal Stirling generator. This would not only provide power to propel the craft, but it would also keep the electronics from freezing. Unfortunately, Titan is so cold that it's almost a cryogenic environment, so the waste heat from the generator would cause the liquids around it to boil and this would need be taken into account when designing the sub to minimize interference. However, NASA estimates that the boat could do about one meter per second (3.6 km/h, 2.2 mph)."
EU

ESA's Experimental Wingless Space Plane IXV Ready For a Test Flight 35

Posted by timothy
from the price-performance dept.
hypnosec writes The European Space Agency has revealed its preparedness for the launch of its experimental "space plane" dubbed Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). ESA's car-sized, wingless vessel is being tested for re-entry and could build a platform on which design of future reusable spacecraft are based. IXV will be launched on Vega flight VV04 at 13:00 GMT (14:00 CET) for a suborbital flight to test technologies and critical systems for Europe's future automated reentry systems from Kourou, French Guiana, 11 February 2015.
Google

Airport Using Google Glass For Security and Passenger Information 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
An anonymous reader notes this story about how an Amsterdam airport is putting Google Glass to use. "One of Europe's busiest airports, Amsterdam's Schiphol hub in the Netherlands, is trialling Google Glass for use by airport authority officers as a hands-free way to look up gate and airplane information. It's also testing Google's face computer on travelers passing through the terminal in a bid to better understand the 'customer journey', thanks to Glass' first person perspective....Google has pulled back on 'Glass for the masses' — at least for now. It shuttered its Glass Explorer program last month. Although far from killing off Glass, it has handed the project to Nest's Tony Fadell to oversee. Glass lives, as a standalone division within Google that's yet to prove its worth — but which Google evidently isn't willing to give up on, even though it's been forced to have a rethink about its go-to-market strategy. And, in all likelihood, the entire product proposition/design of the hardware."
Google

The Prickly Partnership Between Uber and Google 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.
HughPickens.com writes Google, with billions of dollars in the bank and house-by-house maps of most of the planet, seemed like the perfect partner for Uber, the hugely popular ride-hailing service. But Mike Isaac writes in the NYT that just two years after Google's venture capital arm poured more than $250 million into Uber there are signs that the companies are more likely to be ferocious competitors than allies. Uber recently announced plans to develop self-driving cars, a longtime pet project at Google. Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, has publicly discussed what he sees as the inevitability of autonomous taxis, saying they could offer cheaper rides and a true alternative to vehicle ownership. "The Uber experience is expensive because it's not just the car but the other dude in the car," Kalanick said at a technology conference in 2014, referring to the expense of paying human drivers. "When there's no other dude in the car, the cost [of taking an Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle." Uber is also adding engineers who are experts on mapping technology. And the company, based in San Francisco, has been in talks with Google's advertising archrival, Facebook, to find ways to work together.

Not to be outdone, Google has been experimenting with a ride-sharing app similar to Uber's and both companies have long toyed with the idea of offering same-day delivery of items like groceries and other staples. Last month Google announced it would start presenting data from third party applications inside Google Now, a service that displays useful information prominently on the screen of Android smartphones. Google said it had struck deals to draw data from such apps as Pandora, AirBnb, Zillow, and the ride-sharing service Lyft. The company most obviously missing from that list? Google's old and possibly former friend, Uber. According to Isaac, for young companies, even one as well funded as Uber, dancing with giants is a part of doing business — even if there is always a risk of getting squashed. "There are some hard lessons about the dangers of cooperation that are strongly in the memories of these companies," says John Morgan. "Something that makes partnering harder, even when it might make economic sense to do so."
Security

Report: Automakers Fail To Fully Protect Against Hacking 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the two-cyber-hands-on-the-wheel dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about a report by Senator Edward Markey on the security of new vehicles. "Automakers are cramming cars with wireless technology, but they have failed to adequately protect those features against the real possibility that hackers could take control of vehicles or steal personal data, a member of the U.S. Senate is asserting. Basing his argument on information provided by manufacturer, Sen. Edward Markey has concluded that "many in the automotive industry really don't understand what the implications are of moving to this new computer-based era" of the automobile. The Massachusetts Democrat has asked automakers a series of questions about the technologies — and any safeguards against hackers — that may or may not have been built into the latest models of their vehicles. He also asked what protections have been provided to ensure that information computers gather and often transmit wirelessly isn't used in a harmful or invasive manner."
Transportation

Underwater Vehicle Uses a Balloon To Dart Like an Octopus 73

Posted by timothy
from the in-like-a-lion-out-like-an-octopus dept.
Zothecula writes When you inflate a balloon and then release it without tying the valve shut, it certainly shoots away quickly. Octopi utilize the same basic principle, although they suck in and then rapidly expel water. An international team of scientists have now replicated that system in a soft-bodied miniature underwater vehicle, which could pave the way for very quickly-accelerating full-size submersibles.
Security

How To Hack a BMW: Details On the Security Flaw That Affected 2.2 Million Cars 83

Posted by timothy
from the ultimate-something-machine dept.
0x2A (548071) writes BMW recently fixed a security hole in their ConnectedDrive software, which left 2.2 million cars open to remote attacks. Security expert Dieter Spaar reverse engineered the system and found some serious flaws [note: if you'd prefer English to German, try this translation], including using the same symmetric keys in all vehicles, not encrypting messages between the car and the BMW backend or using the outdated DES.