Finding the cheapest flights can be tricky, especially since prices tend to fluctuate rapidly and so many third-party services like Expedia, KAYAK and Priceline exist and are vying for your business. There’s an innovative new tool on the block now though, and according to Business Insider it’s specifically designed to exploit 100% legal loopholes in an effort […] Read More… iDrop News
A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) suggests that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may be conducting illegal searches of electronic devices belonging to passengers on domestic flights …
Remember that online artificial intelligence (AI) that helped people dispute their parking tickets? Well, DoNotPay — the parking lawyer chatbot developed by Stanford University student Joshua Browder a few years ago — has since expanded its services. DoNotDay’s latest addition is retail price protection for air travel and hotel accommodations.
Browder launched DoNotPay’s flight and hotel price protection service on March 6, 2018 — and just like its parking ticket service, it’s completely free and accessible online. Regular travelers know that airplane ticket prices usually change, and DoNotPay can help get them rebooked and refunded whenever that happens.
DoNotPay’s new service works by regularly checking every U.S. airline and air travel booking site for price changes. Once a user registers for free, the bot will automatically look for all the travel confirmations in your email and check for changes in price about 17,000 times a day — or roughly every five seconds — until your flight departs. This isn’t an arbitrary rate, since some routes supposedly change prices every six seconds, according to the Economist.
When the robot lawyer finds that the price has dropped, it will then scan the exact terms of your ticket to “find a legal loophole to negotiate a cheaper price or rebook you.” DoNotPay would then move you to the cheaper flight and make the airlines refund the difference directly to your account. The process repeats until it DoNotPay finds the lowest possible offered for your fare class, or at least until just before your flight’s scheduled departure.
“For example, if someone books a $ 560 flight from New York to Hawaii on United Airlines and the price drops to $ 120, they are automatically paid $ 440 by the airline,” Browder explained in a press release.
With DoNotPay, air travelers could save at least $ 450 a year, according to beta tests that Browder conducted with a few hundred people.
A growing number of reports accuse the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of tampering with passengers’ electronic devices, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Filed today, the lawsuit alleges the TSA is, perhaps illegally, searching the cell phones and laptops of airline passengers on domestic flights. Now the ACLU is demanding the US Government respond by disclosing its policies for searching mobile devices on (or before) flights. “We’ve received reports of passengers on purely domestic flights having their phones and laptops searched, and the takeaway is that TSA has been taking these items from people…
EHANG has released footage and further details of successful manned test flights of the EHang 184 passenger drone.
Your average CEO doesn’t put their money where their mouth is to quite the same extent as EHANG’s Huazhi Hu. No doubt his counterparts at Apple and Tesla try out new products on a regular basis. They might even take them home. But sitting in your company’s passenger drone on one of its maiden flight tests is a different matter.
Other test flight passengers have included the deputy mayor of Guangzhou and more than 150 technical engineers. In total, the Chinese drone manufacturer has conducted thousands of manned flights to date.
The promise of passenger drones has moved from science fiction to reality in recent years. And with heavy investment from the likes of Intel and Boeing, competition is fierce.
EHANG was founded in 2014, and although the company has released a number of smaller autonomous models designed for photography, the people-carrying 184 has always been the one to capture the imagination and make headlines.
The 184, claims EHANG, can take off, land, and navigate autonomously. Human pilots are on hand – albeit remotely – should anything go wrong during a flight.
According to a statement from the company, the 184 has completed a vertical climbing test, reaching a height of 300m, and a loaded test flight carrying approximately 230 kg. The passenger drone has also successfully completed missions spanning 15 km and hit speeds of 130 km/h.
CEO Hu, said “Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles.
“What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first. Now that we’ve successfully tested the EHang 184, I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.”
The question remains whether EHANG’s 184 will be ever take off as part of an on-demand public transport system – such as the one planned for Dubai – or if it will become an exclusive toy for the wealthy. In the short term, at least, the latter seems more probable.
The electric 184 and passenger drones like it remain far beyond the boundaries of what current legislation in Europe and North America has been developed for. Proving safety and reliability will be key; a single serious accident would put an end to the dreams of passenger drone advocates – at least in the near future.
“This is a step-by-step process,” said Hu, “and at EHANG, we have our own roadmap. When it comes to the development and application of any transformative technology, first the technological innovation makes an impact, then the relevant policies are created and developed. This goes on to push further development of the industry.”
But there’s no doubt that EHANG is making progress. Test flights aside, last year the company was granted the AS9100C certification – a quality management system recognised globally in the aerospace industry. It is also working closely with the Civil Aviation Administration of China to keep its developments in line with changing regulations.
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Electric, rotary-wing drones have multiple points of failure, and so have everything to prove in commercial applications. But in the short to medium term, the obstacles in the way of passenger drones and other autonomous vehicles are more legislative than technical, in the West at least. And they have a significant social impact too: 3.4 million people work as drivers in the US alone. Drone cargo flights are a more immediate prospect in the UK, Europe, and the US. However, in countries such as UAE, China, and Japan, passenger drones may be adopted more quickly as they seek to gain a technological edge – come what may.
Two years ago, Chinese drone maker Ehang came to CES in Las Vegas and promised to build a completely autonomous, passenger-carrying quadcopter that would revolutionize mobility. Many of us in the tech community chortled under our breath, wondering if such a thing was even possible, let alone advisable. Today, the company released footage of its first piloted test flights in China — and color us impressed: this thing is no joke.
Ehang’s engineers put the quadcopter, dubbed the Ehang 184, through a battery of tests over the last several months, and with good measure. The company conducted over 1,000 test flights with human passengers, including a 984-foot (300-meter) vertical climb, a weight…
Google Flights is becoming an even better tool for searching airline prices.
Google says that Google Flights is improving when it comes to delays. Not only will Google Flights now share the reasons for a flight’s delay, but the service will try to predict flight delays using historic flight status data and machine learning algorithms. Google says that it’ll only flag a delay when it’s at least 80 percent confident in its prediction of a delay.
Additionally, Google Flights will now surface more info about the extra fees related to a flight. For example, it’ll show you if options like overhead bin space, the ability to select your seat, and baggage fees are included with the price of a flight or if they cost extra.
It can be frustrating when you’re trying to save some money by purchasing a cheaper fare type like “Basic Economy”, only to find out that options that you want like the ability to select your seat cost extra. Google Flights is working to eliminate that frustration by clearly surfacing that info, making it worth a try the next time that you’re searching for a flight.
Google’s vast collection of data helps the travel industry with Google’s Hotel search tool and Google Flights. Google is announcing a couple of new features for its plane-ticket search. Starting with finding cheap flights, Google will begin offering more specific information about cheaper flight fares. New kinds of basic economy flights may not offer a carry-on or the option to pick your seat, so Google Flights will provide this information for American, Delta, and United. Next, Google will be able to predict when you flight may be delayed. Google uses a combination of historic…
Planes that can fold their wings to different angles while in the air have the potential to fly faster than their peers, and NASA has recently made headway into their development. The space agency has conducted a series of test flights proving that i… Engadget RSS Feed