#475 August 30, 2016 – Self-Driving Cars are Going Mainstream

This week’s headline story: Self-Driving Cars are Going Mainstream

Autonomous Ford Fusion

Self-driving cars are slowly making their way onto public highways. Ohio’s toll road, a heavily traveled connector between the East Coast and Chicago, is moving closer to allowing the testing of self-driving vehicles. Testing is likely to begin soon, and possibly before the end of the year.

Uber passengers in Pittsburgh will be able to summon rides in self-driving cars with the touch of a smartphone button in the next several weeks. Uber says that an unspecified number of autonomous Ford Fusions with human backup drivers will pick up passengers just like normal Uber vehicles.

Cars capable of driving themselves may be on the showroom floor sooner than you think, but whether they should come with all the current essentials — including a steering wheel and pedals on the floor — has the auto industry at a fork in the road. Ford sided with the pioneering engineers at Google last week in announcing plans to introduce limited-use vehicles without traditional controls within five years. Some other major automakers — and virtually all of them are well along in their work on self-driving vehicles — say they will introduce automated elements one step at a time, until drivers accept that they no longer need to control their cars.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Yosemite and President Obama Head Into Virtual Reality [NewsFactor]
    President Obama is the first US president to project himself into virtual reality. National Geographic has produced a 360-degree representation of Yosemite National Park, into which the President is projected providing narration about the wonders of America’s national parks and warning of the threat posed by climate change. The experience can be enjoyed via Facebook 360, Samsung Gear VR headset and soon on Oculus Rift headset.

in Information Security News…

  • FBI Warns of Possible State Election-System Hacks [NewsFactor]
    The FBI is warning state officials to boost their election security in light of recent hack attempts. The FBI is investigating a pair of hacking incidents targeted at the voting systems in two states and advising states to scan their systems for specific signs of hacking.
  • Apple Urges Users To Immediately Update iOS Devices After Hack [NewsFactor]
    Apple is urging users of iOS devices to update to the latest version as soon as possible to patch a dangerous vulnerability that provides hackers with access to the device’s camera and microphone.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Apple Told To Pay $14.5 Billion Irish Tax Bill; CEO Says No [NewsFactor]
    The European Commissioner is accusing Apple of taking an unfair tax advantage granted by Ireland. The penalty could be more than $14,5 billion in unpaid taxes. The commission’s investigation found that Ireland had “artificially reduced Apple’s tax burden for over two decades,” the European Commissioner said. Apple has a factory in Cork, but has been claiming taxes through a “so-called head office” that exists only on paper, claims the Commissioner. Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Irish Finance Ministry said they plan to appeal the decision.

and finally,

  • Verizon’s Faster LTE Tech Boosts Mobile Speeds by 50% [NewsFactor]
    A couple hundred million Verizon clients received a nice surprise this week. The carrier announced that it has launched a new technology, called “LTE Advanced” in 461 U.S. cities designed to make wireless data download speeds as much as 50 percent faster.

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