Technology

Wed
08
Nov
John Lister's picture

Driverless Cab Service to Launch in Arizona

Google's sister company has revealed it has sent vehicles driving on Arizona roads with nobody at the wheel. It plans to start using the vehicles as a driverless cab service in the next few months, albeit only with invited test customers. Waymo ... chief John Krafcik announced today that the company has been testing the minivans on public roads in fully autonomous mode since October 19. During the tests, both the driver and passenger seats are empty. A Waymo employee sits in the back of the vehicle and can hit an emergency brake button, but otherwise has no control. It appears to be the first ... (view more)

Thu
02
Nov
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PC Beats Lawyers in Legal Prediction Contest

Computers can beat lawyers at predicting the outcome of cases according to a recent test. Organizers say an artificial intelligence program might even have uncovered insight into what influences case decisions. The test involved a computer program ... that has proven more sophisticated than intended. "Case Cruncher" was originally designed as a chatbot - a program that simulates a text conversation with a user - that would answer questions about the law. It was created and 'taught' by four law students in the UK. The team later developed it into a tool called Case Cruncher. Each variant ... (view more)

Thu
26
Oct
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Amazon Couriers Could Open Your Front Door for Delivery

Amazon wants customers to let couriers have an electronic key to get inside customer homes for deliveries. The Amazon Key program also appears to be a way to promote customers buying security cameras and smart locks. The Amazon Key feature is only ... available to customers in the Amazon Prime subscription program, which includes free home delivery and access to streaming video. They'll also need a compatible camera and smart lock, with Amazon bundling the two devices together for $250 including installation. The smart lock technology can be added to an existing standard deadbolt, meaning a ... (view more)

Thu
07
Sep
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Red Sox Accused of Cheating with Apple Watch

The Boston Red Sox are accused of cheating by using an Apple Watch as part of a scheme to relay signals to a batsman. It's a rule-breaking use of technology for an otherwise legitimate tactic. The Red Sox, like most teams, were trying to find a way ... to give batters an advantage by knowing what type of pitch is coming. Normally a catcher - sometimes with the advice of a coach - will signal a suggested pitch to the pitcher via hand gestures. The player placements mean the batter can't see this signal. In principle it's legitimate for the batting team to spot these signals and make the batter ... (view more)

Wed
26
Jul
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Roomba to Sell Map of Your House

The makers of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner plan to sell data about people's homes to tech giants. It could bring personalized advertising to a whole new level. Colin Angle is chief executive of iRoboto Corp, which makes the Roomba. He told ... Reuters that the company could sell user data to Amazon, Apple or Google in the next couple of years. (Source: reuters.com ) The scope of the data involved is surprisingly detailed. Early models of robotic cleaners simply moved in a straight line until they hit an object. Modern versions build up and store maps of a home's floor space, including ... (view more)

Wed
21
Jun
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Report: Tesla Autopilot Crash Driver Ignored Warnings

A man killed when his semi-autonomous Tesla car crashed ignored multiple warnings issued by the vehicle, newly-released documents show. The papers also suggest subsequent changes to the way the car's Autopilot feature works should prevent a repeat ... of the incident. Tesla's Autopilot feature is a brand name that covers a technology that's often classed as being "driver assistance," rather than strictly self-driving. The features in question covered a cruise control that kept the car at a constant speed while taking account of nearby vehicles, and an auto-steer function that ... (view more)

Tue
11
Apr
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Police to Use Hybrids as Pursuit Vehicles

New York and Los Angeles cops may be among the first to use a hybrid electric car that is specifically designed for police pursuits. The Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan (pic) aims to meet the twin needs of police vehicles: an occasional ... high-speed pursuit mixed in with a whole load of waiting around. A hybrid car uses both an ordinary gas engine and an electric motor. The balance of the two varies between models but one common set-up is to use the electricity when the car is starting up or driving at low speeds, where the electricity is the more efficient option. Another common feature is ... (view more)

Tue
28
Mar
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Amazon's High-Tech, Cashier-less Grocery Store Delayed

Amazon's plans for convenience stores without checkouts or cashiers have taken a knock. Initial test show the system doesn't work properly if more than 20 or so customers use the store at once. The Amazon Go store works through a dedicated ... smartphone app and a technology similar to that used in hotel minibars. When a customer picks up an item from the shelf it will automatically be added to their virtual shopping cart (as well as their real one), though if they put it back on the shelf it will be removed. Instead of paying for the items at the check out, the customer simply walks out ... (view more)

Thu
23
Feb
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Self-Driving Cars Could Change Insurance Rules

The British government says insurers should have to pay out if a customer's self-driving car crashes, whether or not the human was in control. It's the latest in a series of legal questions raised by the technology. The government has published the ... Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill and will now try to make it law through the country's parliamentary system. If adopted, the rules would mean the government would legally classify cars as self-driving on a model-by-model basis. With any car that fits into this category, the legally-required insurance policy would have to be set up ... (view more)

Wed
08
Feb
John Lister's picture

Smart TV Maker Spied on Viewing Habits, Sold Data

Vizio is to pay $2.2 million in fines after tracking viewing habits on 11 million smart TVs without their owners' knowledge or permission. They then sold the details, including personal information, to advertisers. As part of a settlement, Vizio has ... now agreed to inform customers about the practice and promises to always get their express consent before tracking any viewing. It will also have to delete much of the data it has already collected. Vizio had relied on the idea that customers retained enough control because there was a setting named "Smart Interactivity" that could ... (view more)

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