Tesla slammed by safety board after latest autonomous fatality

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US carmaker Tesla has been slammed by the US road safety board after confirming details of a fatal crash involving one of its vehicles last week.

Walter (Wei) Huang, the driver of a Tesla Model X SUV, was killed on March 23 when his car hit a concrete barrier on Highway 101, which connects San Francisco with Silicon Valley. He was reportedly on his way to work at Apple.

The company has announced that the car was in autonomous mode, using Tesla’s Autopilot technology, when it hit the barrier, and that Huang’s hands were not on the wheel – as they should have been – when the accident happened.

In a blog post on Tesla’s website, the company said:

“In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9.27 a.m. on Friday, March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum.

“The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. The driver had about five seconds and 150 metres of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.

“The reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced. We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash.”

Tesla has been slammed by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for releasing this information without alerting the agency beforehand, as it is required to do in a signed agreement.

The NTSB, which is still investigating the accident, said, “We take each unauthorised release seriously. However, this release will not hinder our investigation.”

Increased safety

Tesla has been swift to defend the safety record of its autonomous technologies after the incident, which saw the value of its shares plunge in a sell-off.

“Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the US government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40 percent. Internal data confirms that recent updates to Autopilot have improved system reliability.

“In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware. If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

“Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur. It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists.”

The fatality occurred just one week after a pedestrian was killed by an autonomous Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. However, it is not the first death involving a Tesla vehicle running on Autopilot. Two years ago, a driver was killed when an autonomous Tesla Model S drove into the side of a truck. It was reported that the driver may have been watching a Harry Potter movie in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

In the past Tesla has been criticised for talking about the safety of its technologies after serious accidents or fatalities. It addressed this point in its blog post, saying: “In the past, when we have brought up statistical safety points, we have been criticised for doing so, implying that we lack empathy for the tragedy that just occurred. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We care deeply for and feel indebted to those who chose to put their trust in us. However, we must also care about people now and in the future whose lives may be saved if they know that Autopilot improves safety. None of this changes how devastating an event like this is or how much we feel for our customer’s family and friends. We are incredibly sorry for their loss.”

Read more: Uber: Self-driving cars ordered off road by US, sells to Grab

Read more: Toyota halts autonomous car tests after Uber accident

Internet of Business says

This latest fatality puts US regulators in a difficult position. While Arizona authorities took Uber’s self-driving cars off the road after a pedestrian was killed by one during an autonomous test, this latest fatality involves a technology, Autopilot, that is already built into production models.

The accident reveals the core problem with driverless technologies at present: in the two most recent fatalities, the general thrust of arguments has been to imply that the human drivers were at fault for either not looking at the road or not having their hands on the wheel – a logical absurdity with autonomous technologies.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik explained the distinction. “Tesla has driver-assist technology and that’s very different from our approach. If there’s an accident in a Tesla, the human in the driver’s seat is ultimately responsible for paying attention.”

Nevertheless, in both recent fatalities the technologies were driving the cars, regardless of whether the human drivers should have been paying more attention. This cannot be ignored.

Huang’s brother Will told ABC7 news that Walter had complained “Seven to 10 times that the car would swivel toward that same exact barrier during autopilot. Walter took it into dealership addressing the issue, but they couldn’t duplicate it there.”

The core question, then, is simple: should the developers of a technology that is still in its infancy seek to blame human drivers for every death? Questions like this will become increasingly commonplace as AI and autonomous systems become more dominant in our lives, calling into question longstanding legal concepts, such as liability, and ethical concepts, such as responsibility.

The subtext, therefore, is all about trust: human drivers need to trust autonomous technologies, but doing so makes them focus on things other than the road. To suggest that human drivers should concentrate on the road and the wheel while their vehicles are in autonomous mode is tantamount to suggesting that they shouldn’t trust the technology.

As we move towards completely autonomous systems, including driverless trucks and road vehicles that are designed purely for passengers, the law urgently needs to catch up.

Read more: New Baidu, Jaguar Land Rover driverless cars take to the road

Read more: Waymo turns the ignition on self-driving trucks

Read more: Fetch launches world’s first autonomous AI smart ledger

Read more: Pure Storage, NVIDIA launch enterprise AI supercomputer in a box

Read more: AI regulation & ethics: How to build more human-focused AI

Read more: Cambridge Analytica vs Facebook: Why AI laws are inadequate


The post Tesla slammed by safety board after latest autonomous fatality appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 stops by Geekbench with Android 8.1 on board

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The Galaxy S9 and S9+ have been official for around a month now, so it’s time for the upcoming Galaxy Note9 to start leaking much more than before. Today the device has been spotted in the Geekbench database. Specifically it’s the SM-N960U model, the one that will be sold in North America. It’s rocking the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC unsurprisingly, just like the US-bound S9 duo. The Note9 also features 6GB of RAM, like its predecessor. Interestingly, the prototype that ran Geekbench had Android 8.1 Oreo on board. That’s of note because the S9 and S9+ launched with Android 8.0, and…

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Digital Strategy Board Game ‘Armello’ Finally Available Worldwide on the App Store

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League of Geeks’ digital strategy board game, Armello [Free], has finally completed its long and winding path to mobile, and is out now worldwide! The game actually started as an iPad tile early in development, before its development took it to PC and consoles, where the title has grown a sizable userbase and sees a ton of content released for it regularly. But after so long, the mobile version is finally here, and you can play it on your iPhone or iPad.

This is kind of a 4X board game, where you play as one of four heroes in the kingdom of Armello. The king is dying of a corruption called the Rot, and players have several ways to win, which are basically to kill the king, cure the king of the rot, or have the most prestige points when the king dies. You earn prestige by completing actions like quests, killing the Banes that spawn, or by killing othr players on the board. Your strategy might vary based not just your character, but your particular circumstances. There’s a lot of decision-making, but the game is fairly easy to get into once you get past the tutorial prologues.

The mobile adaptation is free-to-play, and it’s a bit of a convoluted monetization scheme. You can buy new characters and customization items with in-game currency (in both soft and hard ‘premium’ variety), as opposed to just paying for the game and then DLC like on PC. However, you can also buy a subscription to unlock everything. The base price is $ 5.99 per month, but you can also go up to a year subscription for $ 35.99 per year and just unlock everything. The game does support online multiplayer to go along with the singleplayer. If you want to play for free, you’ll get access to the singleplayer and online multiplayer, so this is rather generous free offering.

We’ll have a full review of Armello soon but if you want to check the game out for yourself, you can download it for free now.


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Former Uber exec Aaron Schildkrout is joining the board of bike-sharing startup Jump

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Jump is also looking to raise a new round of funding.

Bike-sharing and ride-hailing have obvious parallels: Fighting local regulatory battles and coming up against an entrenched incumbent while trying to transform the way people travel.

That has led to a sharing of top talent between the two industries. The top ranks at most of the bike-sharing companies are littered with Uber and Lyft alumni, and now Jump, which has a partnership with Uber, is bringing on Aaron Schildkrout, Uber’s former head of driver product, to help advise the company as an independent board director.

Jump already has at least three former Uber employees in its management ranks, including COO Kenny Tsai, who was previously the general manager of Uber Freight.

Former Uber execs have gone on to found bike- or scooter-sharing startups, such as Travis VanderZanden, who started scooter sharing company Bird. There is also Davis Wang, the CEO of dockless bike-sharing company Mobike, and Chris Taylor, an executive at Chinese bike share company Ofo.

Schildkrout, who first came into contact with the Jump team at Uber while members of his team negotiated the partnership, is joining its five-member board, which includes Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki and Menlo Ventures partner Shawn Carolan, who led his firm’s investment in Uber.

For Jump, Schildkrout brings a number of things to the table: In addition to his network and connections with Uber, Schildkrout has critical experience to lend from heading up the data science team and then the growth team, followed by leading the teams that managed the rider and then driver apps and services at Uber.

“While I was at Uber, I observed — up close — the incredible power of the product-market fit achieved by ride-sharing,” Schildkrout told Recode. “Jump’s dockless e-bike feels very reminiscent of that, only we’re still in inning one or two.”

Dockless bike- and scooter-sharing companies have seen intense momentum in the last 18 months, with investors pouring funds into the space. Ofo closed an $ 866 million funding round earlier this week; it has now raised a total of $ 2.2 billion. Bird closed a $ 100 million round weeks after the company closed its initial $ 15 million series A round.

Dockless bike and scooter sharing is a highly capital-intensive industry — given the costs of operating a fleet of bikes. That is compounded by the addition of e-bikes and scooters. That’s why Jump is in the middle of raising a growth round.

In January, the company was the only dockless bike service to receive a permit to operate in San Francisco. In February, the first full month of operation, Jump says the company saw around four trips for each of its 250 bikes a day at an average distance of 2.6 miles per trip.

Jump, previously called Social Bikes, only recently began operating its own fleet of dockless bikes. Prior to that it sold dockless bikes to a variety of clients like small fleet operators in more than 40 markets.

While Rzepecki said it was harder to raise funds as the company was repositioning from an equipment seller to a fleet operator, Jump’s years of experience working with local governments has been a clear advantage as the company scales.

Some of its competitors have rolled out its services in major markets as well as smaller towns and college campuses. Rzepecki said he doesn’t believe the latter two will be sustainable because the utlization rates won’t be high enough. That’s why Jump has its eye primarily on major markets both here and in Europe.

The company’s ambitions will certainly require a great deal of capital. But as investors place their bets on bike- or scooter-sharing companies, there will likely be consolidation among those that are struggling to attract funding.

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Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs removed from board as he pursues bid for company

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Just days after avoiding a hostile takeover by Singapore-based Broadcom, the situation at Qualcomm continued to devolve on Friday when former executive chairman and ex-CEO Paul Jacobs was stripped of his board position as he pursues a bid for the company.
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PlayTable brings the blockchain to board games

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While tabletop gaming is successfully making the transition to noncorporeal form, they can lose something without the physical gameplay elements they’ve always been known for. Enter PlayTable, a blockchain-based console to be released later this year that incorporates toys with digital tabletop gaming. PlayTable is a large Android-based gameboard, with 72 RFID antennae built into its internal grid. It works with small toys with built-in RFID chips, which resemble Skylanders figures or Amiibo. Created by a company called Blok.Party, it’s designed for use with one-to-eight players. I got the chance to view a demo of the PlayTable with Jimmy Chen, the CEO…

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The strategy board game ‘Onitama’ gets an Asmodee Digital release

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Asmodee has been consistently sucking up a lot of properties in the board gaming world, and that has a few people worried since a single company owns so many great games. It most definitely has caused issues for smaller gaming shops that have trouble ordering their wares. But in the Android world, I have found little to be worried about as all of their digital translations have been fantastic. Not only are all of their games fairly monetized, but they also have a high level of polish that is difficult to match. Onitama is their latest game to be released on the Play Store, and it definitely holds to Asmodee’s standards.

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The strategy board game ‘Onitama’ gets an Asmodee Digital release was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Fluidstance has a new extra-cushy balance board for your standing desk

My favorite standing desk accessory just got a little more comfortable.

I’m still pretty happy with my Fluidstance Plane Scandi, the almost-a-hoverboard standing desk accessory that made me finally love standing while working. But Fluidstance’s newest board, the Plane Cloud, has me dreaming.

The board is almost identical to my beloved Scandi, save for one crucial difference: It has a cushy foam top (not unlike a standing mat). My knees don’t cry out in pain on the Scandi the way they do standing on a flat floor, but I’ve definitely noticed stiffness and soreness over time; the Cloud’s foam base should alleviate those sorts of aches and pains for the more-sensitive type.

I’ll be picking up one of these pretty soon to review; in the meantime, if you’re interested, you can pick up the Cloud for $ 189 from Fluidstance right now — the company offers a 30-day guarantee, so you can try out the board and send it back if it’s not the experience you want.

See at Fluidstance

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Elon Musk’s Departure From OpenAI’s Board Might Mean Big Things for Tesla

Goodbye, Elon

On Tuesday, OpenAI announced that Elon Musk, one of the non-profit AI research company’s founding members and foremost benefactors, would be vacating his position on the OpenAI board of directors.

Musk helped craft OpenAI’s vision and financed much of the nonprofit’s growth. An announcement of both incoming and outgoing board members published on the Open AI blog said the following regarding his ending tenure on the board:

Elon Musk will depart the OpenAI Board but will continue to donate and advise the organization. As Tesla continues to become more focused on AI, this will eliminate a potential future conflict for Elon.

The OpenAI board of directors now consists of Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, Holden Karnofsky, and Sam Altman, with whom Musk co-founded the venture. The company has plans to not only fill Musk’s seat on the board but expand their team as well.

Since 2015, OpenAI has promoted AI research and development in a number of industries, garnering support (both ideological and financial) from many high-profile players in the AI game.

Open AI has also been a prominent voice in the conversation concerning the limitations, challenges, and potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Just this week, the company co-released a report with a number of other global AI experts that outlines the potential “malicious” uses of the technology and how to prevent them.

Hello, Autonomous Cars?

Musk’s departure from the OpenAI board is intriguing, not so much for what it might mean for OpenAI’s future, but for Tesla’s. The given reason of “a potential future conflict for Elon” could signal that Tesla is more deeply committed to their own AI projects than we thought.

The Technologies That Power Self-Driving Cars [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Those who have had their ears to the ground for any rumblings that Tesla is ready to deliver vehicles capable of Level 5 autonomy could take this new OpenAI development as a sign that the company is inching closer to that elusive goal.

Tesla’s customer base has already demonstrated its interest in AI-enhanced features. More than 35,000 Tesla customers were even willing to pay $ 3,000 each for a “fully self-driving capability” that doesn’t yet exist. If Musk’s departure from the OpenAI board is a sign that Tesla is closing in on Level 5 autonomy, their confidence in the company could soon be rewarded.

The post Elon Musk’s Departure From OpenAI’s Board Might Mean Big Things for Tesla appeared first on Futurism.


Get the $40 Gaiam Evolve Balance Board for Standing Desks at its lowest price ever

Wobble wobble.

Amazon has the Gaiam Evolve Balance Board for Standing Desk on sale for $ 40.49. This is a match of its lowest price ever and down from its usual selling price of $ 70.

This balance board is fit for offices with standing desks, clerks, cashiers, and anyone who stands for long periods of time. The rocking motion creates a low-impact movement that engages your muscles in the back, core, legs, and ankles. The design is ergonomic and promotes neutral positioning with a non-slip texture is secure on hard floors and carpet. It has received 3.9 out of 5 stars based on 68 customer reviews.

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