#414 May 18th, 2015 – Self Driving Cars Take to the Streets

This week’s headline story: Self Driving Cars Take to the Streets

google-selfdrivingcarGoogle’s cute little bubble-shaped self-driving cars have gotten the okay to drive on public streets in northern California. The initial fleet of 25 cars will be limited to 25 mph, and will have humans ready to take control if any issues arise.

Driverless cars may be coming to YOUR town sooner than you think! The Obama administration is launching an effort to expedite their progress. “We don’t want to be part of the problem of integrating this technology into the marketplace,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday. “We want to be part of the solution.” Foxx plans to speed up the normally ponderous federal rulemaking process, move more quickly to resolve a simmering fight over who gets to use critical bandwidth and remove the array of federal obstacles traditionally faced by innovative technology. “We want to ensure that industry sees DOT as an agency that is not only working to set the bar for safety in the marketplace but is leading in technologies that can play a role in enhancing safety,” Foxx said.

Other Tech News

  • Microsoft study shows that tech is shortening your attention span [engadget]

    A recent study from Microsoft suggests that technology has caused a decrease in our attention spans. In the year 2000, people were able to focus on tasks for an average of 12 seconds. That figure dropped to 8 seconds in 2013 — about one second less than a goldfish. Reportedly, a lot of that reduction stems from a combination of smartphones and an avalanche of content. On the bright side, our tech-centric life style appears to have improved our abilities to both multitask and concentrate in short bursts.

  • DARPA Robots Aim for Finish Line [EETimes]

    The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is planning its third and final Robotics Challenge (DRC) with a $3.5 million purse — $2 million for first place, $1 million for second place and $500,000 for third place. This final challenge intends to test robots in disaster mitigation. DARPA has set up a special town in the Pomona, California desert where next month 25 robots will compete in mitigating a Fukushima-like disaster.

in Information Security News…

  • FBI: researcher admitted to hacking plane in-flight, causing it to “climb” [ars technica]

    According to an FBI report, an aviation computer security researcher successfully hacked a commercial aircraft’s control systems and forced the aircraft to increase its altitude. The researcher hacked into the airlines in-flight entertainment system from his passenger seat, and used it to overwrite code on the airplane’s Thrust Management Computer, essentially taking control of the aircraft.

  • Use privacy software if you want to be safe from Facebook, warns watchdog [ars technica]

    Facebook has been under fire for tracking user and non-user behavior online, without consent, most recently becoming the target of a Europe-wide lawsuit. A Belgian watchdog group has issued a scathing statement on the social network’s operations, saying: “Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws. Facebook has shown itself particularly miserly in giving precise answers.” The authority has recommended that Facebook alter the way the plugins work, that websites put in extra protections for their visitors when plugins are present, and that the general public use privacy software that will circumvent the problem completely.

and in Tech Industry news…

and finally,

  • Facebook’s Instant Articles Raise Troubling Questions [Ecommerce Times]

    Facebook has introduced a new feature called Instant Articles that lets publishers place their stories directly on its site. Nine major media outlets have signed on so far — The New York Times, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Der Spiegel and Bild.

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