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Bloomberg project to help ten cities gear up for self-driving cars

26 October, by Donal Power[ —]
car on the road with motion blur background

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a project to help 10 cities around the globe get ready for autonomous vehicles.

An article by State Scoop reports that the billionaire announced the launch of the “Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles.”

The new initiative will partner Bloomberg’s philanthropy organization with the Aspen Institute, and include 10 mayors from around the world plus industry experts. The combined brain trust will collaborate on ways to prepare cities for the advent of self-driving cars.

“No tech has shaped cities more than cars in the last 100 years. It’s time for cities to turn the focus to self-driving vehicles,” said Bloomberg on his Twitter feed. “Autonomous vehicles have the potential to complement the work cities are doing – so long as people, not cars, drive the agenda.”

The first five cities are Los Angeles, Austin and Nashville in the U.S., plus Buenos Aires and Paris abroad. The other five cities will be announced before the year’s end.

The initiative will focus on creating guiding principles and best practices that can help cities when developing transportation policies for autonomous vehicles.

Austin sees Bloomberg upside

The city of Austin sees its involvement in the project as advantageous because it ensures having a seat at the table when important municipal policy ideas are being hatched.

“We find that a lot of the public policy innovation in the tech sphere happens when mayors talk to each other,” said Jason Stanford from the Austin Mayor’s office. “I know that sounds lo-tech, but that’s really how it occurs.”

“One thing we hope is that we figure out what we don’t know,” he adds. “Working with other cities and having these conversations might illuminate new possibilities we hadn’t considered yet.”

The Bloomberg-led initiative comes at a time when the majority of Americans are open to sharing their future with robotic vehicles. In a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Technology Association 70% said they are ready for a future that includes autonomous cars.

However, local and national governments around the globe are struggling to develop regulations that accommodate both citizen safety and the new car technology that is evolving at breakneck speed.


The post Bloomberg project to help ten cities gear up for self-driving cars appeared first on ReadWrite.

What will the wearables of the future look like?

http://readwrite.com/2016/10/25/future-wearable-trends-will-wear-future/play episode download
26 October, by David Curry[ —]
dog using computer

The wearable industry currently consists of fitness trackers and smartwatches strapped to our wrist, but that is likely to change in the next few years, as we start to strap technology to other areas of our body and integrate chips into clothes.

Here are four emerging trends in the wearable space to watch out for:

Augmented reality

Google Glass may have soured augmented reality for a few consumers, but the hype surrounding the glasses was enough to push future engineers and developers to continue building devices.

Augmented reality could provide meaningful change to the way we communicate, giving us a new point-of-view for photos, an easier way to see and reply to notifications, and even new virtual worlds to explore.

The stigma towards glasses, which are the primary device for an augmented reality platform, is still very much alive. Snapchat’s new glasses might remove some of the animosity, but it will be up to future developers like Magic Leap, Google, and Microsoft to show why we need to wear them.

Smart clothes

Wrist wearables are not great for fitness tracking, especially when compared to professional health monitors. In a recent study, Fitbit and other trackers only managed to reach 80 percent accuracy, and as heart-rate increased, accuracy continued to decrease.

The solution, for those that want 100 percent accuracy but don’t want the inconvenience of a chest strap, might be in the form of smart clothes.

Designers and engineers have started working on clothes that can monitor your health and activity, heat up when cold, and provide other meaningful benefits. The hope is that these small developments will enter into mainstream stores in the near future.

Pet wearables

We spend an awful lot keeping our pets happy, healthy, and safe. That’s good news for wearable developers, who are starting to work on devices aimed at dogs, cats, and other household animals.

These wearables provide similar functionality to fitness trackers, showing the pet’s health, wellbeing, and activity. For pet owners with a busy schedule, it gives them a way to check in throughout the day.

Virtual reality

One of the most exciting developments in tech over the past five years has been virtual reality, although not everyone thinks it is going to be huge and a growing number don’t like the experience at all.

Most of VR’s success so far has been in gaming, where Oculus, HTC, and PlayStation battle it out for platform control. Right now, most of the games are bog-standard, but it does give you a hint at what the future could hold.

The post What will the wearables of the future look like? appeared first on ReadWrite.

Google will watch the watchers with Eyefluence acquisition

26 October, by Donal Power[ —]
Young handsome man wearing a virtual reality headset

Global tech behemoth Google has quietly acquired the startup Eyefluence which tracks user eye movements in virtual reality environments.

According to ZDnet, Google bought the Milpitas, CA-based firm for an undisclosed amount.

Established in 2013, Eyefluence develops software that tracks eye movements for use in augmented and virtual reality applications.

Google’s motives for the acquisition weren’t mentioned, but there is speculation that Eyefluence’s portfolio of virtual reality (VR) technology patents was a key draw.

The buyout comes as Google nears the November launch date for its Daydream View VR headset. In particular Eyefluence’s technology could mesh well with the new headset’s capabilities that cover eye-tracking, monitoring and gesture controls.

“Over the last three and a half years we have built an incredible team, advanced our eye-interaction technology, and created strong partnerships that have lead to the development of a completely new language for eye-interaction,” Eyefluence said on its blog. “With our forces combined, we will continue to advance eye-interaction technology to expand human potential and empathy on an even larger scale.”

The new headset is expected to retail for an affordable $79, which is cheaper than most other alternatives on the market.

Eyefluence joins a crowded market

This will join other VR products that are currently on the market or about to be released.

In the spring Oculus announced the finalized version of its Rift headset, complete with an Xbox One controller and two games for $599.

As well HTC developed its Vive VR powered by Valve’s Steam VR which initially was priced at around $800. W

As well PlayStation’s VR is selling for around $399, putting it at the more affordable end of the market. However, there have been criticisms of the headset for lacking the quality of Oculus Rift.

On top of the virtual reality market heating up, we also have mixed reality companies like Microsoft  and Magic Leap that might explode onto the market with a new innovative headset.

The post Google will watch the watchers with Eyefluence acquisition appeared first on ReadWrite.

Otto and Budweiser buying the first autonomous trucking round

26 October, by Amanda Razani[ —]

Budweiser and Otto just achieved a major feat, completing the world’s first shipment by autonomous truck.

Otto announced this accomplishment today by first stating, “We’re not ones to sit around idly. We are driven by an urgency to make our transportation network safer — and more efficient — for drivers and consumers alike.”

See Also: Will autonomous vehicles cruise the factories of tomorrow?

With complete support from the State of Colorado, Otto shipped 51, 744 cans of Budweiser from Fort Collins, through Denver, ending up in Colorado Springs.

Although there was a professional driver in the sleeper berth at the back of the vehicle, monitoring how the vehicle ran, Otto’s system controlled the acceleration, braking, and steering of the truck to transport the beer exit-to-exit without any human intervention ever taking place during the 120-mile journey.  By using cameras, radar, and lidar sensors attached to the vehicle, the truck was able to “see” the road.

Otto calls this the next step

The truck maker said that “this shipment is the next step towards our vision for a safe and productive future across our highways. With an Otto-equipped vehicle, truck drivers will have the opportunity to rest during long stretches of highway while the truck continues to drive and make money for them.”

Furthermore, Otto believes that this method of self driving shipments will be quite safe and cost effective, with the chances of collision or aggressive driving highly unlikely, and the use of fuel being much more precise.

Having a similar vision, Budweiser was the perfect match for this historic achievement. Its trucks are well known in America, and its popular brand has made a real change for the better in safe driving and reducing carbon emissions.

Otto ended with, “Our partnership with Anheuser-Busch is just beginning, and our companies are excited to transform commercial transportation together.”

The post Otto and Budweiser buying the first autonomous trucking round appeared first on ReadWrite.

Mo’ drones, mo’ problems that need drone insurance

http://readwrite.com/2016/10/24/as-drone-purchasing-increases-so-does-the-need-for-insurance-pl1/play episode download
25 October, by Cate Lawrence[ —]

The use of drones is evolving from their role in military strikes to support, commercial and recreational roles around the world. These include the use of drones as first responders in Denmark for firefighting, chemical accidents and larger car accidents in urban and over-water environments, shark harvesting in Australia, delivering medical aid in Rwanda and in tests by German lifeguards for sea rescue drowning scenarios.

Then there’s the intended drone delivery services planned by online retailers such as Amazon and the bizarre stunt to deliver beef jerky by drone. Not to mention that almost every start-up tech conference will have a low flying drone or two observing the action.

It would be fair to say that the potential applications of drones in our daily lives are only limited by our imagination. But as the commercial application of drones expands on an almost daily basis we can see evidence of a legal and regulatory minefield that is struggling to keep up with the evolution of drone technology


Setting laws for hobby and commercial drones

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) published new regulations in August pertaining to the commercial use of drones. Previously commercial drone operators needed to have a sports pilots license or higher. Now, all you have to do is pass a new aeronautical exam. Under the new rules, operators can’t fly drones higher than 400 feet or at night. The drones must also weigh under 55 pounds and must remain in the visual sight of a human operator — something that prohibits any kind of long-distance drone use, including even the most basic delivery drones. Commercial drones will also only be allowed to operate during daylight hours or civil twilight. Also disallowed are any operations from a moving vehicle — unless you are in a “sparsely populated area.”

Hobbyist and recreational drone users are required to register their drone with the FAA (a mere $5 for 3 years) and adhere to some fairly common sense rules consistent with that of commercial drones like remaining in site of the drone, avoiding aircraft, sports stadiums and emergency response scenarios and not flying under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A technology ripe for insurance claims

However as the use of drones expands, so does the need for insurance. I recently spoke with Sentil Rajamanickam, FSI Strategy & Operations Manager at data analytics company InfoGix about the challenges of underwriting drone insurance. He explained:

“Today, drone insurance underwriting is based on a geospatial map used to determine the likelihood that a drone will have a safe flight. Simply basing underwriting on geospatial mapping can wrongfully calculate the risk of an accident. What if unexpected weather hits or a temporary structure (e.g. construction equipment) gets in the way that isn’t picked up by the mapping?

One inherent flaw we’ve observed with non-traditional insurance, like drone insurance, is that it tends to be driven by past data. Past data doesn’t always accurately predict the future and when something unpredictable happens there is a higher probability of very large losses.”

One way to offset such unpredictable, complex risk underwriting is to leverage risk models that are based on the statistical data across a particular region or country and that constantly correlate risk events with pricing. The challenge for underwriters is that they are limited by the data available for such complex underwriting analysis due to non-scalable management information systems or core systems that cannot support complex data requirements.

The somewhat contradictory situation is that drone insurance metrics can be improved by increased drone flights, where drone users fly drones which record flight paths, height, speed, aerial mapping etc. and can be used as a leverage for the price point of insurance or as a precedent of good ‘flying’ history in the case of future litigation.

Are hobbyists just waiting to get sued?

Rajamanickam cautions that many recreational users may not be aware of the regulations such as the need to register and weight and aerial height regulations and note that “as recreational users are slowly increasing there’s a real need to educate them.” Retailer Best Buy, has posted safety brochures in more than 1,000 stores and Amazon posts links to the Know before you fly website in its retail section. But it’s easy to imagine scenarios where an errant drone user operates the drone upon receipt on their birthday morning only to cause havoc with a neighbour’s garden, pets, windows or small children.  Could a scary scenario, during Halloween this year result in a lawsuit of emotional distrust? Maybe add a clown or two.

Then of  course, there’s the potential for breaches of privacy just waiting for those who operate drones with filming capabilities.  In terms of privacy protection on a national level, there are the Voluntary Best Practice Guidelines issued by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

They essentially warn drone operators to give notice before flying, to secure data that is collected and don’t share it and comply with state and local laws. Note that these are as of yet, only voluntary guidelines.  Yet this could potentially be the biggest catalyst for potential lawsuits, particularly against commercial drone companies who undertake aerial surveillance and filming.

The reality is that the insurance needed by drone operators will evolve as our range of drones and use expands. If you’re planning on buying a drone as a gift for a loved one this Christmas, adding an insurance policy might not be a bad idea.

The post Mo’ drones, mo’ problems that need drone insurance appeared first on ReadWrite.

Smart city project to boost Tallahassee resiliency, urban mobility

http://readwrite.com/2016/10/24/urban-mobility-project-transform-tallahassee-smart-city/play episode download
25 October, by Donal Power[ —]
The old Florida State Capitol building as seen from Monroe St and Apalachee Parkway with the New Capitol in the background

Florida State University (FSU) is partnering with the City of Tallahassee on an urban mobility project that aims to boost smart city resiliency.

According to FSUnews.com the university is working with city officials to enhance Tallahassee’s utilization of current transportation and power systems.

The city is looking to determine how to better handle large-scale civic interruptions like power outages and traffic jams to improve the lives of citizens. The project will ultimately seek to cut traffic congestion, improve mobility across the city and reduce financial losses for local firms.

See also: Architects need to be at the smart city table

“We are starting with using case studies to see where we are and what the current status of mobility is in Tallahassee,” said Reza Arghandeh, an FSU professor instrumental in the project. “From this big picture, we will focus on specific neighborhoods in order to collect data from the site and then implement our algorithms, as we are taking a mathematical approach.  The end goal will be the implementation of our model.”

The team is developing a tool to gather integrated heterogeneous data via social media and other aspects of urban infrastructure. As well, FSU researchers seek to boost citizen participation and build new indices to track urban mobility.

Tallahassee looks for deeper understanding

In order to get a deeper understanding of the city’s urban mobility issues, FSU is collaborating with the city on data analysis via the The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC). The GCTC supports efforts to economic, social and physical challenges facing today’s cities and is under the auspices of  the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This urban mobility initiative will become part of the FSU team’s ongoing work under for 100 Resilient Cities, which is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

“I think the city needs an efficient, convenient platform,” says Jinghui Hou, another FSU prof instrumental to the project. “That is why we believe that there is a great deal of potential in this mobile application that will engage people and encourage participation through opening up city discussion.”

The post Smart city project to boost Tallahassee resiliency, urban mobility appeared first on ReadWrite.

Dyn DDoS attack sheds new light on the growing IoT problem

25 October, by Ryan Matthew Pierson[ —]

In the wake of the massive DDoS attack on Domain Name System (DNS) provider Dyn, network administrators are tackling with how to better secure their networks against vulnerable IoT devices.

This past Friday, a DDoS attack was carried out targeting a critical point of failure for the Internet. A DNS is a system that translates human-readable domain names into the numerical IP address that direct the flow of traffic to specific servers. It’s basically the Internet’s switchboard operator.

If someone goes wrong at the DNS, browsers and other web-enabled systems will have a difficult time locating the server that hosts the information they need. Because so many websites rely on Dyn to direct this information, a disruption on their servers disrupts many websites at the same time.

This enabled attackers, which in this case appears to be the group “New World Hackers,” to essentially shut down dozens of the Internet’s most popular websites at one time. These sites include Amazon, Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, and more.

IoT: a tool of destruction?

What makes this attack especially troubling are the devices that were used to carry it out. All evidence points to Internet of Things devices as the tool of mayhem.

These devices exist in millions of homes around the United States and countless others worldwide. They include smart appliances like refrigerators, laundry machines, dishwashers, toasters, and more. Home security system and automated thermostats are also prime targets for malicious parties that want to add them to their growing botnets.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks involve a bunch of compromised systems that have been hijacked and added to a virtual swarm of zombie machines called a botnet. It can be impossible to tell whether or not your devices have been compromised as they work exactly as they normally would.

See also: It was the IoT, screwing Dyn, with the faulty traffic cam

In the case of Friday’s attack, hackers used a piece of malware software called Mirai. This software scans the Internet for IoT devices that have basic security and are usually kept on their default administrative usernames and passwords. This enables the software to gain access to the device, upload its malicious code, and essentially hijack it.

The IoT is expanding rapidly. It’s becoming a common part of commercial networks, used in industrial applications. Smart televisions which are in many homes are actively communicating with the Internet and other devices on home networks around the world. The government uses smart city applications such as traffic sensors and wireless cameras to help municipalities run smoothly.

There are certainly more than a few groups working to help secure the IoT. However, in its current early stage, it is still quite vulnerable.

Solving the problem with IoT

This creates a whole new set of problems that security experts have been actively tackling for years. How do you secure something that is built to be simple to use? Simplicity and security are not great bedfellows. Devices will need more aggressive and solid security features on-board.

The Department of Justice warned of an insecure Internet of Things last month. This came just weeks before the Dyn attack that crippled some of the Internet’s most popular websites. A DDoS attack isn’t the same as a hack that infiltrates systems and compromises their data, but it does shed light on a very real security flaw on countless networks worldwide.

Many IoT devices are capable of being compromised with malware. This puts a compromised system on the same network with home personal computers, corporate servers, and even sensitive government data. Does this mean that your smart toothbrush is going to participate in the next big government email hack? No, but it does mean that maybe one shouldn’t be connected to a government network.

Users are another big obstacle. It’s hard enough to teach the average user to keep their PC’s operating system up-to-date – even when the notification is covering a large portion of their screen. Reminding them to regularly update their toaster is pretty much a lost cause.

So, that leaves us with a temporary and painful solution. Maybe we should think twice before we connect everything and anything to the Internet?

Reigning in the connected consumer madness

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of great IoT devices out there. I love self-driving cars and I couldn’t imagine life without my smart television.

The problem right now we’re in IoT overload. There are companies out there right now doing everything they can to make every object you interact with a part of the Internet.


Is there really any reason your toilet paper dispenser needs to be connected to the Internet? You can see, very clearly, that the roll is empty. You’re probably sitting there staring at it with the same panicked expression I do before checking the holder to make sure there is another roll at the ready.



Does your piggy bank really need to have a corresponding app that tells you how much is inside? There are plenty of non-Internet connected coin banks that will keep a tally of what’s inside for you without having to interface with your phone or the Internet.

Don’t get me started on smart water bottles. Have we become so distracted as a people that we can’t even remember to drink? How could we have survived for hundreds of thousands of years without technology that tells us that it’s time to take a sip?

We’re living in this world right now. A world where any and every company that produces a product is asking itself how they could integrate it into the Internet of Things.

In the words of Ian Malcolm, Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

The wave of the future?

The Internet of Things is the wave of the future. It’s a world of autonomous cars and intelligent sidewalks. It’s a grand scheme of a reality where our needs are met before we know we need them, and everyone has access to information whenever they need it.

During our journey to this future. It’s important that we balance the growth of this technology with its security. After all, if 30 million homes in the United States are going to be filled with smart devices in the next year, security shouldn’t be an afterthought.

The post Dyn DDoS attack sheds new light on the growing IoT problem appeared first on ReadWrite.

DDoS update: It was the IoT, screwing Dyn, with the faulty traffic cam

23 October, by Ryan Matthew Pierson[ —]
Masked anonymous hacker is pointing on DDoS Attack

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are a common problem for network administrators around the world. Websites small and large get targeted by them every day. But this Friday, dozens of major websites were affected by a widespread attack – and this time the Internet of Things is in the spotlight.

Friday’s attack– already referred to as the October 2016 Dyn Cyberattack, showing immediately that we need snappier names for these events — affected many popular websites including Twitter, Amazon, Reddit, Netflix, and more. These websites shared one thing in common: they all used a common domain name system (DNS) provider, Dyn.

From about 0930 ET until just after 1800 ET, Dyn’s servers were attacked in three DDoS waves. We know now that many of the devices participating in the attack were IoT devices such as smart refrigerators, thermostats, and toasters. A group called “New World Hackers has claimed responsibility for the attack.

CSI: Internet breaks it down for us

A DNS provider like Dyn takes human-readable information, such as domain names, and points systems to their associated IP addresses. This makes it easier to find and reference websites you love without having to memorize a set of IP and port numbers. A DNS plays a vital role in the stability of the Internet, and any interruption of this service can and often will create havoc on the websites it works with.

The perpetrator can be a lone individual or an organized group that either bought or gained access to a swarm of compromised computer systems. These systems are compromised when malware or malicious code makes its way onto someone’s desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. That malware embeds itself invisibly onto the system so the owner doesn’t even know they’re affected.

These systems become part of what’s commonly described as a botnet. This botnet is used to carry out attacks on targeted systems by swarming them with so many requests that they are unable to handle them. Usually, this means the server freezes up or the legitimate traffic it receives has a difficult time getting its requests through.

Mirai: A name you’ll hear a lot

Friday’s attack utilized systems infected with the Mirai malware — a widespread malicious software that targets consumer smart home devices. These devices are typically hooked up and forgotten about, receiving rare updates and patches compared to traditional personal computers.

This makes them an especially good target for malicious parties. Mirai spreads itself by scanning the Internet for IPs owned by common connected devices. These devices are often left with factory logins and weak security protocols. The software uses this weakness to upload itself onto the device and take it over.

The owner, never knows or has any way of finding out if their device is infected. It operates exactly as it usually does.

“The really frightening part of this is not that we will be struggling with these new attacks for some time, but that the underlying weakness which makes them successful can and will be used to unleash more serious attacks,” said Chris Sullivan, general manager of intelligence/analytics at internet security firm Core Security.

See also: Hackers use decade old vulnerability to attack the Internet of Things

The next attack, he says, might be the one “that steals credit cards and weapons designs, manipulates processes like the SWIFT global funds transfers, and even destroy physical things like 30,000 PCs at Saudi Aramco.”

So, what’s next? For one, the Internet of Things is going to need increasingly robust security measures at all levels. We live in an age where information security is increasingly important, and if we are going to invite these devices on our private, corporate, and government networks, we need to be able to trust that they are secure enough not to fall prey to these kinds of malicious attacks.

The Internet of Things is a relatively new concept and there are growing pains to be expected. Just as we endured and continue to endure countless security patches and updates on popular operating systems like Windows and OS X on our desktop computers – we should expect these kinds of updates to occur on our smart toasters, as well.

The post DDoS update: It was the IoT, screwing Dyn, with the faulty traffic cam appeared first on ReadWrite.

Going down: Bringing AR to elevator servicing with HoloLens

23 October, by Cate Lawrence[ —]

ThyssenKrupp recently launched its use of Microsoft HoloLens technology in its elevator service operations worldwide. Currently, the global elevator service industry is valued at over $44 billion per year and more than 12 million elevators transport over 1 billion people each day.

The special mixed reality device is set to empower more than 24,000 of the company’s service technicians to do their jobs more safely and efficiently, and keep people and cities moving better than ever before.

Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully self-contained wearable holographic computer running Windows 10. It is completely self-contained–no wires, phones, or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens allows you to place holograms in your physical environment and provides a new way to see the world.

See also: Is this autonomous tricycle what urban centers need?

Using HoloLens, service technicians will be able to visualize and identify problems with elevators ahead of a job, and have remote, hands-free access to technical and expert information when onsite – all resulting in significant savings in time and stress. Initial field trials have already shown that a service maintenance intervention can be done up to four times faster.

This solution follows the successful launch of MAX, the industry’s first predictive maintenance solution which is already connected with thousands of elevators. MAX collects and sends real-time data from connected elevators to the intelligent cloud.

Intricate algorithms calculate the remaining lifetime of each elevator’s key components and systems, determining which parts will require maintenance and when. Through the use of MAX, global service engineers and technicians receive real-time alerts for pre-issue repairs, enabling them to be more proactive with customers. This includes scheduling maintenance tasks ahead of elevator breakdowns and at times of minimal disruption within the building. In this way, engineers help building managers and users avoid the frustration and inconvenience of out-of-service elevators.

Sam George, Partner Director at Microsoft’s Azure IoT, added:

“The successful launch of IoT-enabled MAX was the first step in ThyssenKrupp’s journey to not only transform their business but also its 100-year-old industry. Predictive maintenance, powered by Microsoft Azure IoT, enabled thyssenkrupp to offer time savings to worldwide elevator passengers equivalent to 95 million hours of new availability per year of operation. Today, we are proud to have once again collaborated with thyssenkrupp to bring another game-changing solution to market together.”

Iconic buildings whose elevators are already cloud-connected through MAX include the One World Trade Center. The building has elevators that travel faster than Usain Bolt, capable of moving from the ground floor to the 102nd floor in just 60 seconds, and regenerative drives that convert energy produced when elevators decelerate into electricity that can be used to significantly reduce the building’s energy consumption. Now equipped with MAX and HoloLens, the tower is setting new standards for sustainability and building efficiency.

Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator, said:

“With elevators transporting over one billion people each day, the service industry has a critical role to play in keeping cities moving. We remain focused on leading the transformation in this industry; introducing the latest technologies, processes and training to enable technicians to do a better job with less stress and more fun. Our goal is to increase efficiency, raise elevator up times and speed up service interventions to ensure mobility equipment is always running as it should, providing each passenger with the safest and most comfortable travel experience possible.”

GeekWire reports that enterprise interest for HoloLens turned out to be a bit of a surprise, according to Chris Capossela, Microsoft chief marketing officer:

“We totally underestimated the commercial interest in this thing,” Capossela said. “The team who built it, a lot of them had their roots in Xbox. Alex Kipman and Kudo [Tsunoda]. And so they originally envisioned it as something more along those lines, but as we started to show it to people, we were blown away by the commercial interest.”

Indeed, the commercial applications for HoloLens are seemingly endless are are limited only by how fast companies can get their hands on the device. This is set to change industries such as construction, manufacturing and design.

The post Going down: Bringing AR to elevator servicing with HoloLens appeared first on ReadWrite.

Will this self-driving military truck threaten army jobs now?

http://readwrite.com/2016/10/22/ukraine-develops-kraz-spartan-an-autonomous-armed-vehicle-cl4/play episode download
22 October, by Ryan Matthew Pierson[ —]

When you think about autonomous vehicles, a modified Prius or Smart Car might come to mind. Perhaps a Tesla Model 3 or even a fancy Rolls-Royce that costs more than most people spend on their house. Autonomous vehicles come across as safe, easy-going, and nothing to be intimidated by.

Well, Ukraine’s KrAZ Spartan will change that perception – real quick.

This giant armored vehicle is anything but soft and pleasant. It’s an intimidating presence both on the road and in the battlefield. No human drivers required.

The KrAZ Spartan, which is based off a heavily-modified truck with massive amounts of armor, is capable of moving troops and supplies without any human assistance. Two of these vehicles, nicknamed “Fiona” and “Shrek” are already tearing up the obstacle course in a recent demonstration.

We don’t have all of the details about this vehicle, and most of the press around it has thus far been written in Ukrainian. We do know that this is just one of many autonomous vehicle projects being run by military organizations around the world.

Autonomous vehicles save lives in the field

Why would there be a need for such a thing? Isn’t autonomous vehicle technologies made for convenience and safety rather than combat situations?

The answer to this is quite simple.

A fully self-driving vehicle like this can also transport supplies between units without putting lives at risk. No one would need to be on board at all.

We live in a world with roadside bombs and smart missiles that target humvees and other military vehicles. Despite their armored exterior, they remain a prime target in battle. This makes having one that can drive itself especially useful for testing new roads ahead of the rest of the convoy.

You may also find yourself in a situation where you are unable to operate a vehicle manually. Transporting wounded troops from the battlefield would be another great use for something like this if the situation calls for it.

US DoD is testing its own self-driving support

The United States has been testing autonomous military vehicles for some time. Robots and drones have been in the battlefield for years. For the most part, these devices are believed by many citizens without top secret clearance to be remote controlled rather than fully autonomous.

Bomb squads, for example, have been utilizing robots to do things like search for and disable explosives for over a decade. These tools are actively saving American lives today.

The idea of taking this autonomous vehicle technology which is finding its way into the consumer sector and applying it in military scenarios is just common sense.

More recently the military has been looking into self-driving tanks and autonomous trucks. These vehicles, in addition to advances in the area of artificial intelligence, are creating a new generation of military force. One that doesn’t rely so heavily on troops deployed on the ground, but of intelligent machines.

After all is said and done, at least the Terminators will have some great new modes of transportation to use once Skynet becomes self-aware.

The post Will this self-driving military truck threaten army jobs now? appeared first on ReadWrite.

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