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Google Blames Human Drivers for Self-Driving Cars Accidents

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Google Blames Human Error for Self-Driving Car Accidents

Following the storm of coverage about their self-driving cars being involved in accidents Google has said human drivers are to blame

If you follow the tech industry closely then you’ve probably seen all the stories covering the accidents involving Google’s self-driving cars. Creating a media storm about how safe the cars really were that blew up faster than anyone could have predicted. Google has admitted that in the six years since starting the project their cars have been in 11 minor accidents; four of those have happened in the last 9 months. Now Google spokesman Chris Urmson has another key piece of information for the public about those accidents.

According to Urmson none of those accidents were caused by Google’s self-driving cars. In a blog post Urmson says that the self-driving cars have been sideswiped “a couple times”, rear ended seven times, and nailed by a car running through a stop sign. None of the accidents caused injuries and any other data is hard to come by. Minor accidents are usually not reported to the police giving the DMV no data to analyze.

That makes it that much more difficult for Google and car manufacturers to improve their self-driving car programs to lower the number of accidents. Despite that Urmson says “We have a detailed review process and try to learn something from each incident, even if it hasn’t been our fault,” Although much of that information isn’t made available to the public, the majority of what we know comes from an [highlight]AP report [/highlight]saying that two of the four recent accidents happened when the car was in self-driving mode.

The other two incidents happened while a person was driving, obviously putting the blame on human error instead of the program. If Google’s data is to be believed that should come as no surprise, since the company blames human error for all of the accidents. Citing that their fleet of 20 self-driving cars have sensors to help them detect and avoid obstacles like people or other cars. The cars also sport GPS tracking, radar, and software that recognizes and reacts to street signals and signs.

Using all of the data their self-driving cars have collected Google claims they’ve identified a number of dangerous human driver patterns. Programing their cars to react to things like lane drifting, people running red lights, and lane cutting. None of that means these vehicles are incapable of causing an accident. Self-driving cars may be safer than human drivers in many ways but we are a long ways from making them perfectly safe.

Just like most other people are here, Ryan is very passionate about gaming and technology. When he's not writing about video games, you'll likely find him talking about the latest gadgets.

Space Exploration

NASA’s first black astronaut, Ed Dwight, just made it to space after 60 years

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Ed Dwight really is a Renaissance man for our time. At the age of 90 years, 8 months, and 10 days, he was able to add another accomplishment to his long list of many. He made it to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-25, a suborbital spacecraft. William Shatner was older than him when he went to space, but he beat him to the record.

Dwight can write well and is also a skilled sculptor. He has made 129 memorial sculptures and more than 18,000 gallery pieces. His high marks in aeronautical engineering earned him the rank of captain in the US Air Force, where he worked as a test pilot. He was one step closer to becoming NASA’s first black astronaut, thanks to his skills and abilities.

In 1961, he was the first African American to go to the Aerospace Research Pilot School. This was the school where NASA chose astronauts before they were trained as pilots. He left the Air Force, though, because he wasn’t chosen. His words to The Guardian were that “racial politics forced him out of NASA and back into the regular officer corps.”

Space for Humanity paid for his seat on NS-25. Space for Humanity is a non-profit organization that wants to enable more people to access space by sending interesting people there to experience the overview effect. Some of the other people on the crew were Gopi Thotakura, Carol Schaller, Sylvain Chiron, and Kenneth L. Hess.

New Shepard has flown 25 times, but not always with a crew. As of now, 37 people have been taken beyond the Karman line, which is 100 kilometers (61 miles) above sea level and is considered to be the edge of space by everyone. Since August 2022, this was the first New Shepard crewed flight.

In September 2022, an unmanned flight had an engine failure and then a fire, which forced the fleet to land. Unmanned flights started up again in December.

This most recent flight lasted almost 10 minutes, and as it rose, the people on board felt like they had no weight.

It was a little dramatic when they went down. Two of the three parachutes were only partially opened. Launch commentators said that the capsule could land safely with only two, but it might have been a little harder than if all three worked.

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Space Exploration

JWST reveals the exposed core of a planet with an exceptionally fluffy composition

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A significant enigma regarding a celestial body seems to have been resolved. The “cotton candy planets” are celestial bodies with an exceptionally low density, which poses a challenge to our existing theories on the formation of planets. Astronomers have successfully determined the origin of black holes by closely observing their internal processes, which is a remarkable accomplishment.

The celestial body under consideration is known as WASP-107b. With a volume exceeding 75 percent of Jupiter’s, yet a mass less than one-tenth of Jupiter’s, this planet possesses one of the lowest densities known among celestial bodies. This world possesses a substantial atmosphere; however, initial models aimed at elucidating the planet’s characteristics yielded disparate and perplexing depictions.

One proposed scenario posits that the Earth consists of a compact core and an expansive atmosphere. While this theory can explain the current observations, it is still unclear how a relatively small rocky structure could gather such a sizable gassy envelope.

Alternatively, there was a significantly bigger central component available. Furthermore, that also presented a predicament. The planet orbits its star at a distance closer than Mercury’s distance from the Sun, yet the star is considerably less bright. Unlike other celestial bodies composed of cotton candy-like substances, WASP-107b does not receive sufficient illumination to generate heat and subsequently cause the expansion of its atmosphere. An increase in the size of the core would result in a decrease in the size of the world.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) data collected helped to solve the mystery. When the planet aligns with its star and us, some starlight is filtered through the atmosphere. By analyzing the attenuated light, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) successfully identified certain constituents of the atmosphere. Remarkably, the amount of methane present is one thousand times lower than anticipated.

Methane is thought to be a prevalent component in similar celestial bodies, but it is found in limited quantities on WASP-107b. However, there is a substantial abundance of carbon-based molecules. Researchers posit that methane previously existed but underwent a chemical conversion into different molecules, a process that necessitates the presence of heat. More specifically, it is referring to internal heat.

The team posits that the planet’s elliptical orbit is generating tidal heating within its interior. The core of the object is significantly large, with a mass approximately 12 times that of the Earth and twice the size initially predicted. The core is sufficiently hot to induce chemical changes in the planet and cause the atmosphere to expand.

“Examining the internal structure of a planet located hundreds of light-years away may seem nearly impossible. However, by acquiring knowledge about its mass, radius, atmospheric composition, and temperature within its core, one can gather sufficient information to form an understanding of its interior and determine the weight of its core,” stated Professor David Sing, the lead author from Johns Hopkins University. “We can now perform this task on numerous gas planets in different systems.”

The team is currently examining the magnitude of these potential tidal forces on the planet and determining whether they can account for the observed heating. Although there may still be some aspects of WASP-107b that are not completely comprehended, it is no longer as enigmatic as it once was.

The recent study has been published in two papers within the journal Nature, which can be accessed here and here.

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Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft releases Copilot+ PCs because it wants to turn Windows into an AI operating system

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Microsoft wants to make generative AI a big part of Windows and the PCs that run it.

This week, at a keynote event before its annual Build developer conference, the company showed off a new line of Windows computers it calls Copilot+ PCs. The computers also have generative AI-powered features like Recall that help users find apps, files, and other content they’ve seen before. Copilot is Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, and it will soon be a lot more built into Windows 11. Also, new Microsoft Surface gadgets are on the way.

All the important news has been put together here.

The Copilot+ PCs

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Copilot+ PCs are Microsoft’s idea of the best Windows hardware for AI. All of them have special chips, called NPUs, that power AI games like Recall. They also come with at least 16GB of RAM and SSD storage.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and Plus chips will be in the first Copilot+ PCs. Microsoft says these chips can power up to 15 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of video playback. Intel and AMD have also promised to work with a number of manufacturers, such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung, to make processors for Copilot+ devices.

Some Copilot+ PCs can be preordered today for as little as $999.

Surface Book and Surface Pro
The Surface Laptop and Surface Pro, which Microsoft just released, are designed to be fast and last a long time.

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The most recent iteration of the Surface Laptop, which comes in either a 13.8- or 15-inch size, has undergone a redesign featuring sleeker screen bezels and contemporary aesthetics. According to the company, the device has a battery life of up to 22 hours and is claimed to be 86% faster than the Surface Laptop 5. Additionally, it is compatible with Wi-Fi 7 and features a touchpad with haptic feedback.

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Regarding the new Surface Pro, Microsoft claims that it offers a performance boost of up to 90% compared to the previous-generation Surface Pro (the Surface Pro 9). It also features a new OLED display with HDR, Wi-Fi 7 (with the option for 5G connectivity), and an improved ultrawide front-facing camera. In addition, the keyboard of the device has been strengthened with extra carbon fiber and now includes haptic feedback.

Retrieve

Windows 11’s upcoming Recall feature has the ability to retain information about apps and content that a user accessed on their PC, even if it was weeks or months ago. This feature can be helpful in locating specific information, such as in a Discord chat where the user was discussing potential clothing purchases. Recall’s timeline feature allows users to easily review their recent work and navigate through files, such as PowerPoint presentations, to find relevant information for their searches.

Microsoft claims that Recall has the capability to establish connections between colors, images, and other elements, enabling users to search for virtually anything on their personal computers using natural language, similar to the technology employed by startup Rewind. The company asserts that all user data linked to Recall is maintained as private and stored on the device without being utilized for training AI models, which is of significant importance.

Here is additional information from Microsoft: “Your snapshots are stored exclusively on your personal computer and are not shared or stored elsewhere.” To delete specific snapshots, modify and remove time intervals, or pause the process, you can access the corresponding options in the Settings menu. Alternatively, you can directly perform these actions by clicking on the icon located in the System Tray on your Taskbar. You also have the option to apply filters that prevent certain apps and websites from being saved.

Photo manipulation and real-time language translations
Windows now incorporates a greater amount of artificial intelligence (AI) than ever before, with certain AI features available exclusively on the new Copilot+ PCs.

The Super Resolution feature has the ability to automatically enhance and enlarge old photos. Copilot now has the capability to analyze images and provide users with suggestions for creative compositions. Users can utilize the Cocreator feature to generate images and instruct the AI model to modify or transform the image based on their drawings.

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Additionally, live captions with live translations can translate any audio that passes through a PC, regardless of its source (such as YouTube or a local file), into the user’s preferred language. Live translations will initially support approximately 40 languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Russian.

The Windows Copilot Runtime is a crucial component for your system.
Enabling features like Recall and Super Resolution is the Windows Copilot Runtime, a set of approximately 40 generative AI models that Microsoft refers to as “a new layer” of Windows. Similar to an IT project manager, the Windows Copilot Runtime enables generative AI-powered apps, including third-party apps, to run on an individual Copilot+ PC without relying on an internet connection. The semantic index and a vector-based system are responsible for making this possible.

According to Microsoft’s announcement, CapCut, the well-known video editor from TikTok owner ByteDance, will use the Windows Copilot Runtime to improve the effectiveness of its AI capabilities.

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