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Google Car surpasses 1 million public road miles as new CEO takes stand

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Google Car has seen more development and more improvement in the past year than all the time spent researching combined beforehand and stands as testament to Google’s newfound affinity for autonomous self-driving cars. With the announcement of a new CEO, John Krafcik, taking one of the most important positions in the Google ecosystem this month, Google Car has reached a new milestone in its development and innovation.

Officially, Google Car now has more than 1 million miles driven autonomously on public roads in the United States, more than any other autonomous vehicle in development at the moment. Although major car companies are working on their own autonomous vehicles, Google Car has seen the most rapid development of all, thanks to the dedicated and powerful team in the project.

The appointment of John Krafcik, a veteran when it comes to horsepower, comes as a new push towards public availability and most likely aims to bump up the release date of the self-driving car by at least a few months. People have been looking forward to the Google Car after seeing the great progress the Mountain View giant has made and some of our readers have confessed that their next major purchase in life will be the Google Car, for which they’re saving up.

The Google Car price is uncertain, as we don’t know exactly how the final model of the self-driving vehicle will look like or what features it will boast with. We do know however that it is going to be an electric vehicle with a long autonomy, which means we are expecting an initial price of quite a few thousand dollars. Since Google is only in the prototype stage with its own Google Car, we do expect the final version release date to come around in about 4 years time.

Until the first Google Car, the first completely autonomous vehicle, comes around, Google’s joint ventures with other automotive companies will most likely bring to market more semi-autonomous smart cars. The addition of the skilled new CEO will only speed things up and industry voices think we might see the first self-driving Google Car earlier than expected, putting its release date sometime in 2018, well before the estimated date.

Google is building and engineering prototypes in Livonia, readying them for public roads of Cali, where it will be test-driving all of the models. Austin and Moutain View, California are the two main HQs for test-driving the Google Car, but the self-driving vehicle will soon be all around the states in test drives as the tech giant tries to improve voice guidance, GPS features, navigational controls, motion sensing and environmental perception of the vehicle.

Although we’re still a long way from a fully autonomous Google Car, the changes within Google’s Self-driving Car Project point towards an acceleration in development and towards the confidence that Google already has in its new product. It seems like the company has things on point and going according to plan, but until we find out more, we can only imagine how the world will be with self-driving cars improving travel, safety and comfort.

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.

Engineering

Self-driving cars are safe as long as you don’t plan to turn them around

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A new study looked at the safety of self-driving cars (AVs) and found that while they are better than humans in some everyday driving tasks, they are not yet as good as humans when it comes to turning or driving in low light.

We need to know that our cars are safe before we can just get in and let them take us where we need to go. The hope is that one day they will be able to drive better than humans. Cars don’t get tired, irritable at other drivers, or lose focus while thinking about something else, after all.

Tests of the technology have been done all over the world, and we now have a lot of information from semi-autonomous systems in cars that are used in real-life traffic situations. The new study from the University of Central Florida looked at accident data from 35,113 human-driven vehicles (HDVs) and data from 2,100 Advanced Driving Systems and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. The goal was to find out how safe AVs and HDVs are in different situations.

In general, the team found that AVs are safer than human drivers, though there are a few big exceptions.

“The analysis suggests that accidents involving vehicles equipped with advanced driving systems generally have a lower chance of occurring than accidents involving human-driven vehicles in most of the similar accident scenarios,” the team said in their paper.

AVs did better than HDVs at routine traffic tasks like staying in their lanes and adjusting to the flow of traffic. They also had fewer accidents while doing these tasks. Sideswipe accidents were 0.2% less likely in AVs, and rear-end accidents were 0.5% less likely in AVs.

In other traffic situations, though, humans are still better than AI.

“Based on the model estimation results, it can be concluded that ADS [automatic driving systems] in general are safer than HDVs in most accident scenarios for their object detection and avoidance, precision control, and better decision-making,” the team said.

“However, the chances of an ADS accident happening at dawn or dusk or when turning are 5.250 and 1.988 times higher, respectively, than the chances of an HDV accident happening at the same times and places.” The reasons could be a lack of situational awareness in difficult driving situations and a lack of experience driving an AV.

Finding these key problem areas could help researchers improve how well AVs work. It would be helpful to think about finding dangers in new ways right now.

“At dawn and dusk, for instance, the sun’s shadows and reflections may confuse sensors, making it hard for them to distinguish between objects and identify potential hazards,” they wrote. “Furthermore, the fluctuating light conditions can impact the accuracy of object detection and recognition algorithms used by AVs, which can result in false positives or negatives.”

The study might disappoint supporters of self-driving cars. They may be waiting for the crossover point where AVs are better than human drivers. But if performance gets better, it can be sent to all AVs at the same time. Researchers who find a way to make turning better can use it on these kinds of vehicles through software updates, which is something we can’t do with people.

We hope that one day we can get into AVs without having to worry about lights changing or other people on the road getting distracted.

Nature Communicationsis where the study can be found.

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A groundbreaking type of cement has the potential to transform homes and roads into massive energy storage systems

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For lack of a better word, concrete is awful for the environment. Beyond water, it’s the most-used product in the world, and its carbon footprint shows that making cement and concrete alone is responsible for 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions, or more than 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases every year.

But MIT researchers have come up with new material that might be able to help solve that issue. After mixing water, cement, and a sooty substance called carbon black, they made a supercapacitor, which is like a big concrete battery and stores energy.

Admir Masic, a scientist at MIT and one of the researchers who came up with the idea, said in a statement last year, “The material is fascinating.”

“You have cement, which is the most common man-made material in the world, mixed with carbon black, which is a well-known historical material because it was used to write the Dead Sea Scrolls,” he said. “These materials are at least 2,000 years old, and when you mix them in a certain way, you get a conductive nanocomposite. That’s when things get really interesting.”

The amazing properties of the material come from the fact that carbon black is both highly conductive and water-resistant. To put it another way, as the mixture hardens, the carbon black rearranges itself into a web of wires that run through the cement.

According to the researchers, it’s not only a huge step forward in the move toward renewable energy around the world, but its recipe also makes it better than other batteries. Even though cement has a high carbon cost, the new material is only made up of three cheap and easy-to-find ingredients. Standard batteries, on the other hand, depend on lithium, which is limited and expensive in terms of CO2: “particularly in hard rock mining, for every tonne of mined lithium, 15 tonnes of CO2 are emitted into the air,” says MIT’s Climate Portal.

Since cement isn’t going anywhere soon, putting it together with a simple and effective way to store energy seems like a clear win. Damian Stefaniuk, one of the researchers who came up with the idea, told BBC Future this week, “Given how common concrete is around the world, this material has the potential to be very competitive and useful in energy storage.”

“If it can be made bigger, the technology can help solve a big problem: how to store clean energy,” he said.

How could that be done? One possible solution is to use it to pave roads. This way, the highways can collect solar energy and then wirelessly charge electric cars that drive on them. Because they release energy much more quickly than regular batteries, capacitors aren’t very good for storing power every day. However, they do have benefits like higher efficiency and lower levels of performance degradation, which makes them almost perfect for giving moving cars extra power in this way.

One more interesting idea is to use it as a building material. The researchers wrote in their paper that a 45-cubic-meter block of the carbon-back-cement mix could store enough energy to power a typical US home for a year. To give you an idea of how big that is, 55 of them would fit in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The team says that a house with a foundation made of this material could store a day’s worth of energy from solar panels or windmills and use it whenever it’s needed because the concrete would stay strong.

Franz-Josef Ulm, a structural engineer at MIT, said, “That’s where our technology looks very promising, because cement is everywhere.”

“It’s a fresh way to think about the future of concrete.”

The paper is now out in the journal PNAS.

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The Cybertruck is experiencing a less than favorable beginning

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In 2019, Elon Musk introduced the Cybertuck, an event that did not unfold as Musk had anticipated. Subsequently, a series of calamities have occurred, and presented here are a few comical and mortifying instances.
The initial moment of realization

The Cybertruck was revealed on a well-illuminated stage as a new addition to Tesla’s product lineup. The vehicle was designed to accommodate six individuals, achieve a speed of 0 to 100 kilometers (0 to 60 miles) per hour in under 3 seconds, and possess a somewhat childlike aesthetic.

Additionally, it was asserted during the presentation that the material was impervious to a 9mm handgun. In order to demonstrate the veracity of this assertion, Franz von Holzhausen, the chief designer of Tesla, forcefully propelled a metal sphere towards one of the truck’s windows.

The ball promptly shattered the window, much to the astonishment of all present, and even Musk uttered a few profanities.

The company continues to assert that the Cybertruck remains resistant to shattering.

With the release of the Cybertruck, it has become apparent that rough terrain poses a challenge for this vehicle, despite its Off-Road Mode designed to handle steep inclines, declines, uneven surfaces, shallow streams, and other obstacles.

The Cybertuck appears to be better suited for driving on paved roads than off-roading, which has been a disappointment for owners. Even mild off-roading can be problematic and may necessitate assistance.

It strongly dislikes sand

 

@myonymyon

lol this thing is such a shitbox #fyp #tesla #cybertruck #fail #meme #guilestheme #guilesthemegoeswitheverything #bruh #shitbox

♬ original sound – Myony (LESBIAN APOCALYPSE)

Being summoned back
In the previous month, a recall was issued for Cybertrucks manufactured from November 13, 2024, to April 4, 2024. This recall specifically related to a problem with the accelerator pedals and affected a total of 3,878 vehicles. The presence of lubricant between the pedal and the covering pad was causing the pad to slide off and become stuck underneath the interior trim in front of it.

@el.chepito1985

serious problem with my Cybertruck and potential all Cybertrucks #tesla #cyberbeast #cybertruck #stopsale #recall

♬ original sound – el.chepito

The Cybertruck appears to have encountered a less than favorable beginning.

 

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