Will Nissan Beat Google and Uber to Self-Driving Taxis? – IEEE Spectrum

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Nissan and NASA plan to share and, more important, that the main goal of their collaboration appears to be the development of a fleet of remotely-supervised autonomous taxis.

The documents reveal that Nissan has set an aggressive schedule for the project, planning to have prototype cars operating within two years. Google and Uber are both rumored to be pursuing the same goal, so a race for the mythical robo-taxi is on. (A European consortium is in the race too.)

via Will Nissan Beat Google and Uber to Self-Driving Taxis? – IEEE Spectrum.

via Will Nissan Beat Google and Uber to Self-Driving Taxis? – IEEE Spectrum.

Uber riders score Starwood points with new deal

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Starwood has properties in 72% of markets where Uber operates, but the deal may further fuel Uber, which has aggressively expanded to 290-plus cities since 2009 and raised regulatory questions in the process.

The announcement also comes on the heels of news that Uber expanded its latest funding round by $1 billion up to $2.8 billion, while maintaining a $40 billion valuation. The company quietly raised the promotional pricing of its carpooling feature, UberPOOL, in San Francisco from a flat $5 fee to a max price of $7, which is still cheaper than a taxi ride but not quite the bargain it used to be.

via Uber riders score Starwood points with new deal.

via Uber riders score Starwood points with new deal.

Google’s AI software can learn ‘Space Invaders’ without reading the instructions | Daily Mail Online

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The real accomplishment: computers that can teach themselves to succeed at tasks, learning from scratch, trial and error, just like humans.

The computer program, called Deep Q-network, wasn’t given much in the way of instructions to start, but in time it did better than humans in 29 out of 49 games and in some cases, like video pinball, it did 26 times better, according to a new study released Wednesday by the journal Nature.

via Google’s AI software can learn ‘Space Invaders’ without reading the instructions | Daily Mail Online.

via Google’s AI software can learn ‘Space Invaders’ without reading the instructions | Daily Mail Online.

Dr Michio Kaku reveals how we could use our brains in the next 50 years | Daily Mail Online

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Dr Kaku is best known for his expertise in theoretical physics – his previous books have dealt with topics such as parallel universes and the cosmos.

But his latest book, The Future of the Mind, takes a look at how rapid advancements could bring about huge changes in how we understand – and use – our brains in the next 50 to 100 years.

His theories on the future of the mind are wide-ranging, from the possibilities of telepathy to controlling ‘programmable matter’ with our thoughts alone.

At times, his opinions sound purely like science fiction – but he’s convinced that these are developments we’ll see not just in the distant future, but by the end of the century.

via Dr Michio Kaku reveals how we could use our brains in the next 50 years | Daily Mail Online.

via Dr Michio Kaku reveals how we could use our brains in the next 50 years | Daily Mail Online.

Japanese robot bear nurses soon to care for rapidly ageing population – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Japanese research institute Riken developed the Robear to support healthcare workers, with enough power to lift frail patients from bed and support unstable patients on their feet.

The Robear is based on an earlier model called RIBA, which was introduced in 2011. The upgraded Robear is about 90 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, capable of more subtle movements and sports an even cuter look.

via Japanese robot bear nurses soon to care for rapidly ageing population – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

via Japanese robot bear nurses soon to care for rapidly ageing population – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

First ever public jetpack company zooms onto Australian Stock Exchange

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The Martin Jetpack has come in leaps and bounds since the first showing in 2008. Based on current testing, it can now fly for more than 30 minutes at a speed of 74km/h and an altitude up to 1,000 metres (3,000 ft.) with or without a pilot strapped into it.

Despite the name, it’s not technically a jetpack, Martin says — but rather a “helicopter backpack.” The device is lifted by two carbon fiber fans rather than jets propelled directly by gas. This style of craft can take off and land vertically due to its small dimensions, allowing it to operate in spaces where a traditional helicopters could not access.

via First ever public jetpack company zooms onto Australian Stock Exchange.

via First ever public jetpack company zooms onto Australian Stock Exchange.

Uber: Military drivers made $18 million in 6 months

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To date, Uber reports 10,000 drivers with military backgrounds have earned $18 million. That figure includes Kia Thomas Hamel, a 40-year-old U.S. Navy veteran whose husband is currently stationed at the Pentagon. Hamel has been an Uber X driver from UberMILITARY’s inception, transporting riders around Washington, DC roughly 20 hours a week when she isn’t looking after her two young children.

According to Hamel, the wages she gets being an Uber X driver not only pays some of the bills but also covers the law school prep course she had been eying. Becoming a driver, Hamel told Mashable, helped veterans like herself quickly join the workforce “instead of jumping through all the hoops of getting out the resume.”

via Uber: Military drivers made $18 million in 6 months.

via Uber: Military drivers made $18 million in 6 months.

Fujitsu Laboratories Develops Ring-Type Wearable Device Capable of Text Input by Fingertip – Fujitsu Global

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The ring-type wearable device that Fujitsu Laboratories developed identifies the fingertip movements users make as they write in the air, and recognizes that tracing as a letterform. By writing in the air with one’s fingertip, operators can select menu options or make memos on photos that they take in the field. By applying proprietary technology that corrects the letterform tracings, Fujitsu Laboratories has been able to improve character recognition accuracy, enabling recognition of everything from numbers to Chinese characters. Furthermore, with a built-in NFC tag reader, operators can specify an object to be worked on with a touch on its NFC tag and display an operation’s details. As data from the object to be worked on can be easily selected in a hands-free manner, the performance of maintenance and other tasks is expected to be more efficient.

via Fujitsu Laboratories Develops Ring-Type Wearable Device Capable of Text Input by Fingertip – Fujitsu Global.

via Fujitsu Laboratories Develops Ring-Type Wearable Device Capable of Text Input by Fingertip – Fujitsu Global.

Analyst recommends investors short taxi medallions because Uber is destroying the cab business – Business Insider

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No wonder taxi companies are fighting Uber so fiercely — the arrival of the ride-hailing app is destroying the value of taxi medallions, according to Jefferies chief global equity strategist Sean Darby and his team.

In city after city, taxi lobbyists have urged municipalities to restrict or ban the app, largely by enforcing laws that let only licensed drivers offer rides for money.

Taxi licenses, or medallions, create local taxi cartels or monopolies. The medallions themselves often trade at auctions for up to $1 million.

via Analyst recommends investors short taxi medallions because Uber is destroying the cab business – Business Insider.

via Analyst recommends investors short taxi medallions because Uber is destroying the cab business – Business Insider.

Uber: Thousands of St. Louis Drivers Have Already Applied for Rideshare Work | Riverfront Times

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St. Louis remains one of the largest metropolitan cities that bars ridesharing businesses. But that hasn’t stopped drivers here from applying for jobs with one of ridesharing’s biggest names: Uber.

Four months after Uber rolled out Uber Black, its app-based black car service staffed by already-licensed livery drivers, the company says thousands of St. Louisans have already applied for its rideshare service — even as the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission shows no sign of allowing the business model here anytime soon.

via Uber: Thousands of St. Louis Drivers Have Already Applied for Rideshare Work | Riverfront Times.

via Uber: Thousands of St. Louis Drivers Have Already Applied for Rideshare Work | Riverfront Times.

Presidents Day: How Uber Riders in DC Got to Cruise Like Obama Today – ABC News

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nation’s capital got a Presidents Day treat today when they logged on to the app: In honor of the holiday, the ride service offered Washingtonians the chance to cruise around town just like the president.

By selecting the “Ubercade” option, riders (along with up to three of their closest “advisers”) could summon their own personal motorcade, consisting of a Cadillac STS escorted by two Suburbans (adorned with U.S. flags) with the entourage completed by Uber “Secret Service” Agents, according to Uber’s D.C. blog.

via Presidents Day: How Uber Riders in DC Got to Cruise Like Obama Today – ABC News.

via Presidents Day: How Uber Riders in DC Got to Cruise Like Obama Today – ABC News.

Uber putting dent in some city transportation companies

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McCollum insisted Uber is not competition to fellow transportation services in Fort Collins, but a “compliment.’’

“We want to be a part of the transportation options,’’ he said. “We want everyone to grow and get around and to know their towns, and we’re happy to do that.’’

But Terri Ogan, owner and operator of Sapphire Car Services in Fort Collins, said Uber is far more than just an option. It has dominated the field, affecting her business, a 24/7 transportation service she opened in Novermber 2009.

“At this point, it’ll be easiest just to get rid of a car,” Ogan said of her company that owns six vehicles and employs eight drivers.

via Uber putting dent in some city transportation companies.

via Uber putting dent in some city transportation companies.

Editorial: Show us the money, Uber – NY Daily News

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Just over five years ago, a transportation startup called Uber launched. Tap an app on your phone, get a car quickly. Pay without ever taking out your wallet.

Today, Uber has an estimated global value of $40 billion — and a dominant position in New York City, its largest market.

More than 13,000 Uber cars cruise the five boroughs, with 1,000 more coming online every month. Within weeks, the number of Ubers will eclipse the number of yellow cabs on city streets.

The service has grown exponentially by offering New Yorkers a transportation option at prices they find acceptable. Additionally, drivers have found new income opportunities.

via Editorial: Show us the money, Uber – NY Daily News.

via Editorial: Show us the money, Uber – NY Daily News.

Uber takes city citations to federal court : Wsj

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Uber, a ride-buying service that the city of Madison has accused of violating city taxi ordinances, has shifted the city’s ordinance violation case over to federal court, citing concerns about its chance for fair treatment in municipal court.

In a notice filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Uber claimed that because the city of Madison “operates and controls” Madison Municipal Court, the city and the court “are one and the same,” and that Uber needs “protection from local prejudice” that it would gain from having the case heard in federal court.

It’s common for cases originally filed in Wisconsin’s state circuit courts to be moved to federal court but very unusual for municipal court cases to be moved there.

Last month, the city filed 42 counts in municipal court alleging that Uber violated Madison ordinances that govern taxi services, including transporting passengers without a city license and transporting passengers without paying license fees or filling out an application.

via Uber takes city citations to federal court : Wsj.

via Uber takes city citations to federal court : Wsj.

UBER EXPANDS ACROSS THE LAND OF LINCOLN | Uber Blog

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Illinois, you spoke, and we listened. We are thrilled to announce that today at noon, Uber will roll into six new cities — Aurora, Bloomington-Normal, Urbana-Champaign, and Rockford. Thanks to a smart regulatory framework at the state level Uber can provide safe rides to the citizens of Illinois, Uber is now available in eight cities across the state, giving 76% of Illinois residents access to a safe, reliable way to get around town.

via UBER EXPANDS ACROSS THE LAND OF LINCOLN | Uber Blog.

via UBER EXPANDS ACROSS THE LAND OF LINCOLN | Uber Blog.