Tag Archives: transportation

Google has a fleet of automated cars

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from TechCrunch:

Google Has A Secret Fleet Of Automated Toyota Priuses; 140,000 Miles Logged So Far.

MG Siegler

Google has developed a technology for cars to drive themselves. And they haven’t done it on a computer, or in some controlled lab, they’ve been out on California roads testing this out. “Our automated cars, manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. They’ve driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe. All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. We think this is a first in robotics research,” Google engineer Sebastian Thrun (the brainchild of the project who also heads the Stanford AI lab and co-invented Street View as well) writes.

Further, The New York Times, which has a bit more, says a total of seven cars have driven 1,000 miles without any human intervention (the 140,000 mile number includes occasional human control, apparently). These cars are a modified version of the Toyota Prius — and there is one Audi TT, as well.

So how does this work? The automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors, and a laser range finder to locate everything around them (these are mounted on the roof). And, of course, they use Google’s own maps. But the key?

This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.

Google says it gathered the best engineers from the DARPA Challenges (an autonomous vehicle race that the government puts on) to work on this project. They also note that these cars never drive around unmanned in the interest of safety. A driver is always on hand to take over in case something goes wrong, and an engineer is always on hand in the car to monitor the software. Google also says they’ve notified local police about the project.

So has it worked? Apparently, yes. There has been one accident so far, but it was when someone else rear-ended one of these Google cars.

Google notes that 1.2 million people are killed every year in road accidents — they think they can cut this number in half with the tech. It will also cut energy consumption and save people a lot of time.

Read the article via TechCrunch

 

 

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Wild Dogs Commute

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Wild dogs that commute from suburbs to scavenge in city The clever canines board the Tube each morning. After a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night.

Experts studying the dogs say they even work together to make sure they get off at the right stop — after learning to judge the length of time they need to spend on the train. The mutts choose the quietest carriages at the front and back of the train. They have also developed tactics to hustle humans into giving them more food on the streets of Moscow.

Dr Poiarkov told how the dogs like to play during their daily commute. He said: “They jump on the train seconds before the doors shut, risking their tails getting jammed. They do it for fun. And sometimes they fall asleep and get off at the wrong stop.” The dogs have learned to use traffic lights to cross the road safely, said Dr Poiarkov. And they use cunning tactics to obtain tasty morsels of shawarma, a kebab-like snack popular in Moscow.

 

from Wild Dogs Take Chewbilee Line by Virginia Wheeler | The Sun

 

via 1 Nation | dern

 

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She thought society had run out of poems

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Photo:  2nd Avenue F Line:  Time Travel by John Snyder

 

Poetry returns to N.Y. Transit

 

The Poetry in Motion campaign, which places poetry in New York buses and subways, is returning this month after a two-year absence.

In 2008, New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority decided to suspend free access to ad space for the short poems selected by the Poetry Society of America.

So now the Poetry Society is paying for ad space, says the group’s executive director Alice Quinn, who is poetry editor for the New Yorker.

Quinn told CBC Radio’s Q cultural affairs show the society felt strongly that poetry was important, both to make commuters feel better, and improve the quality of life in the city.

“I think [poems] can be rediscovered anew on repeated readings in the crowded world of a commuter’s day,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “They provide more than solace, they provide a heart-stopping jolt. It’s just a very important and popular program.”

Quinn said she was mystified why the New York transit system ended Poetry in Motion, which was originally a free program. A transit official was quoted as saying she thought the society had “run out of poems.”

It may have been a matter of a new director wanting to put her stamp on operations, Quinn said.

Poetry in Motion had been in operation for 15 years and was a model for other such programs on transit systems across North America.

” I often saw people memorizing poems” while riding a bus or a subway, Quinn said.

The Poetry Society had to boost its fundraising to pay for ad space for its selection of poems.

Quinn said she thinks poetry is more popular now than it has been in 30 years, thanks in part to the music world.

“I think rap has helped poetry. Whenever you expose young children to it, they absolutely adore it. When you’re first learning speech, there is a lot of chiming that babies do — rhyme is a very innate thing for us,” she said.

The poems planned for the transit system in 2010 include some Emily Dickinson, a 10th century Japanese poem, a 9th century Aztec poem and a “cheeky, chiding poem” by Stevie Smith called Deathbed of a Financier.

via CBC News

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