Apple rumored to be using Arizona proving grounds to test self-driving cars

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Apple may be leasing former Fiat Chrysler proving grounds in Surprise, Ariz. to test its self-driving car platform in a range of different conditions, according to a report.
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Bill Gates firm puts $80 million behind ‘smart city’ in Arizona

One of Bill Gates' firms invested $ 80 million into nearly 25,000 acres of land west of Phoenix, Arizona to build a 'smart city' of the future. The proposed community, called Belmont, will have high-speed communications infrastructure, autonomous cars…
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Arizona Man Gets a Large T-Mobile Tattoo for a Free iPhone 8

A man has successfully scored a free iPhone 8, courtesy of T-Mobile CEO John Legere, after holding up his end of an unorthodox bargain: in a tweet, the 20-year old Phoenix native offered to tattoo the wireless carrier’s magenta logo on his arm “for all to see” in exchange for the new Apple device.

True to his word, Philip Harrison went out in search of a tattoo shop but found that they were all closed. Undeterred, he followed up via Twitter to Legere know that he would get inked the following day and post photographic evidence of the deed with the hashtag #TattooForPhilip.

“My girl told me to get it right here (pointing to his upper bicep), so then you’ll be able to hide it and I was like, that’s not where everyone can see it,” Harrison said, according to a local Phoenix news outlet. “I know it might sound crazy but I was like, I got to stick to my word.”

In the end, Harrison had a bright magenta ‘T’ emblazoned prominently on his forearm and tweeted a picture of it to Legere, declaring that he had kept his promise.

Fortunately for him, Legere was paying attention and decided to reward him for his efforts. The CEO replied on Monday saying “Nice tattoo!!” and “Let’s get you that iPhone!!” Some wondered why he didn’t ask for the more expensive iPhone X model, but Harrison seemed satisfied enough with his iPhone 8 and the story that comes with it.

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MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks Fined for Wearing Apple Watch During Game

Major League Baseball has levied a fine against the Arizona Diamondbacks after it was discovered that one of the organization’s coaches wore an Apple Watch during its October 4th game against the Colorado Rockies, according to an official statement from the MLB.

Though the coach, who’s been identified as Diamondbacks’ interpreter Ariel Prieto, ultimately broke the league’s new rules which prohibit the use of electronic devices in the dugout, the league determined after interviewing Prieto and examining his devices that the Apple Watch was not actually used to cheat.

“MLB forensically examined Mr. Prieto’s Apple Watch and his cell phone and interviewed Mr. Prieto,” the league said, while adding that it “found no evidence that Mr. Prieto used the Apple Watch or cell phone for any purpose in the dugout, nor any baseball-related communication on either device, during Wednesday’s game.”

Nevertheless, both Prieto and the Diamondbacks will have to pay an undisclosed fine (much like the Boston Red Sox did earlier this year, when their coaches came under fire for using an Apple Watch to steal signs), although the league insists that the monies collected will be donated to the ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

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Chinese Startup TuSimple to Challenge Tesla’s Driverless Trucks in Arizona

TuSimple Hits the Road

Chinese startup TuSimple plans to test its fleet of self-driving commercial trucks in Arizona and Shanghai in 2018, leading up to the successful launch of a commercial autonomous trucking service in 2019. This move introduces another competitor in the self-driving race between giants like Tesla, Uber, and Waymo. These companies are all striving to transform the way we send, deliver, and receive commercial goods, and TuSimple’s technology and powerful financial backing make it a serious contender.

Autonomous Car Forecasts: When Will They Actually Be on Our Roads?
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TuSimple started out developing car-identification software that identifies the make and model of cars after analyzing images. Seeing greater business potential for the visual-recognition technology in autonomous driving applications, Founder and Entrepreneur Mo Chen decided to move TuSimple into haulage rather than selling the technology to fleet owners or logistics firms. The company does not, however, have plans to create autonomous passenger vehicles, an area with higher risks, greater challenges, and lower business cost-related returns.

TuSimple aims to put 60 to 100 specially-retrofitted big rig trucks on Arizona roads. Each will have three radars, 10 cameras, and a control system that analyzes traffic conditions in real time. Should the planned 3 million miles of road tests in 2018 prove successful — and assuming regulations permit — the plan for 2019 will be introducing commercial services on two routes to start with: a 20-mile route connecting a port in Shanghai and warehousing, and a 120-mile stretch of highway between Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona.

TuSimple already completed a 200-mile Level 4 test drive between Yuma, Arizona and San Diego in June. Level 4 vehicles can drive themselves in almost any setting and will safely stop if they request the human driver to take over and get no response. Uber has also completed a successful Level 4 commercial run, and plans to have its self-driving Otto trucks on the road sometime this year. Waymo has also conducted tests, and Tesla plans to conduct fully-autonomous, level 5 tests soon, although there is not yet a date set.

Image Credit: TuSimple, Inc.
Image Credit: TuSimple, Inc.

This test drive was significant, although there is still a major leap between Level 4 and Level 5, which doesn’t need a human at all. The recent House passage of regulations for self-driving vehicles apply to passenger cars only, and it’s not clear how soon or how readily lawmakers will allow large commercial vehicles to be driverless.

Autonomous Commercial Trucking

Haulage is a prime automation target because driving cargo from point A to point B is far less complicated than city driving, and because there is a growing shortage of drivers in the industry. Autonomous commercial trucks could lower logistics costs by 40 percent in the US and 25 percent in China, primarily because neither food nor rest would be needed, and also because of increased fuel efficiency.

Autonomous Public Transport: The Future of the Urban Commute [INFOGRAPHIC]
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The bigger benefit, though, is safety. In China, commercial trucks kill around 25,000 people annually, according to Bloomberg’s reference to Ministry of Public Security data. Almost 30 percent of Chinese truckers suffer from driver fatigue during the early morning and afternoon.

Things are no better in the US, where truck driving is among the deadliest jobs, with trucking and transportation occupations comprising just over one-quarter of all work-related fatalities in the nation. And while it may be a daunting prospect for the millions in the transportation industry, automation is coming. The smart money is not on fighting the trend, but on seeing it as a way of protecting humans in dangerous professions, and providing them with the opportunity to learn to do something different — and safer.

The post Chinese Startup TuSimple to Challenge Tesla’s Driverless Trucks in Arizona appeared first on Futurism.

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