Tags Posts tagged with "new technology"

new technology

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technology_lincoln

On Demand Driver Technology? Lincoln Chauffeur Service Will Make You Feel Like A VIP

Automobile company, Lincoln, is testing a new service for owners of its vehicles that supply a driver on demand technology. The service is like an upscale version of Uber’s technology, in which you supply the car, and Lincoln supplies a professional driver. This driver is actually a Lincoln employee, not a spot contractor, and will drive you around and return your car to your home, basically make you feel like a VIP.

technology

The service will launch first in Miami and will let Lincoln owners order up a chauffeur via a smartphone app. The chauffeur will not only be able to drive you around, but will also return your car to your home in case others in the household need to use it, will fill it up if so required, and can even run light errands like picking up some groceries. Costs, as you might expect, are not cheap. During the pilot program, Lincoln Chauffeur will run around $30 per hour, which is actually not terrible compared to Uber until you remember you have to supply the car as well. On the plus side for Lincoln owners, they will get eight hours free of Chauffeur service included in the purchase price of their vehicle.

This is only a limited test at the moment, but Lincoln reported that it would like to expand the service to San Diego next, and then additional markets after that. It is likely a decent challenge to scale, since Lincoln’s actually employing the drivers it is using. Lincoln Chauffeur may be a bit of a departure from other mobility service offerings automakers are exploring, which include on-demand vehicle rentals and even white glove delivery of said cars to a renter’s door, but it still sounds like an interesting way to add value while driving new revenue sources in the luxury segment.

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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Goes Corporate

Artificial Intelligence / A Cambridge, Massachusetts startup, Talla, wants to help companies to ease into artificial intelligence, and they have come up with a new service assistant bot that gives companies whatever degree of intelligence-fueled power they are looking for. The tool, called ServiceAssistant, works as an IT or HR help desk inside of Slack or Microsoft Teams and gives customers a few options on how to use it. First of all, you can run it like a conventional service desk. The user sends requests through ServiceAssistant where it gets processed and answered by a human.

Artificial Intelligence

In the second scenario, the customer eases into automation where the ServiceAssistant provides an automated answer, which gets checked by a human before being sent through to the questioner, or at the highest level of automation the system simply sends an answer when the confidence threshold is above a certain level set by the customer. Rob May, CEO and co-founder, says the company deliberately used an in-house service model instead of live customers because after reviewing the technology, he felt that the current Natural Language Processing technology was better suited to this approach.

The Talla ServiceAssistant looks like any user on Slack or Microsoft Teams. As with any Slack or Teams bot, employees can interact with it by asking questions. If it’s tuned to be an HR assistant, for example, an employee might ask, “Do we have Labor Day off?” If the system has been configured to answer automatically, it’s the kind of question that it can answer with a high degree of certainty and can simply tell the employee yes or no. In an IT Help Desk approach, the questions could get trickier such as, “How I get access to QuickBooks?” In this case, the system might find multiple matches, and if it were set for automated responses, it could ask the questioner to choose the most relevant one, or it could ask if they want to open a help desk ticket to move to the question to a human for processing.

The system is tuned to ask questions when it doesn’t understand and to learn from the responses. Since people ask questions in non-standard ways, the system can also learn that “Are we open Labor Day?” is the same as “Do we have Labor Day off?” or “Is the office closed on Labor Day?” May says even in companies where there are high usage rates for Slack or Teams, there could be as many as 20% of employees not using that tool, so they’ve also built a Web App and allow email, but the ultimate goal is to get people into the conversational tools to ask the questions; and do it in an automated way as possible.

The company wants to be more than a conversational bot, however. It wants to be a central place for processing IT and HR requests. That means having a ticket system, a knowledge base, and the ability to broadcast to employees, for example, when the system is going down for maintenance or the office is closed for a holiday. May says among his customers Slack is definitely the more popular of the two offerings today, but he believes it’s important to look at the different conversational tools and continually assess where that market is going as it’s still being established.

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    hybrid technology

    Technology for World’s First Electric Hybrid Aircraft Gets Funding From Boeing And JetBlue

    Technology / Backed by funding from Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue’s technology venture arm, Zunum Aero has revealed its plans to create a hybrid electric aircraft designed for regional flights with plans to fly by 2020. The aircraft would have a range of around 700 miles at launch, and the plan is to get that up to over 1,000 miles by 2030, which means it could potentially service many popular commuter routes in the United States.

    hybrid technology

    The Zunum Aero plane is designed around the idea that by routing more traffic to regional hub airports, and providing much lower operating costs for smaller craft with between 10 and 50 seats that do short-haul trips, between locations like Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, air travel can become much more efficient and convenient for commuters. Zunum says that air travel between hubs as an alternative to slower options like overland rail and highways hasn’t really gotten any better in the last 50 years, but it hopes to change the economics with its electric drive technology.

    The use of electric drive system technology will help Zunum Aero achieve hard targets including a 40 percent decrease in the overall travel time between spots on busy commuter corridors, or by up to 80 percent on routes that have less traffic. Costs will be reduced by between 40 to 80 percent, too, which could accommodate a corresponding decline in fares. Even with the hybrid tech, the planes will result in 80 percent decreased emissions vs. purely gas-powered regional jets, with the ultimate aim of working on 100 percent battery power with zero emissions once battery density capability catches up.

    Finally, Zunum Aero promises a 75 percent drop in community noise, which could dramatically increase both the hours of operation for smaller regional airports, and the willingness of communities to allow the existence of hubs to begin with, and larger planes with higher seating capacity on existing routes.

    In addition to funding from Boeing and JetBlue, Zunum has a team that includes a leader from a previous NASA-backed project on developing electric drives for airliners, and a long-term partnership in place for research on electric systems power optimization with the University of Illinois. It’s also been in close contact with the FAA since 2014 to work on certification standards for electric aircraft, so it’s up to date on the regulatory environment, too, and is helping shape what that looks like.

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    water technology

    Technology Turning Seawater Into Drinking Water

    Technology / Researchers continue to examine the potential of graphene, the one-atom thin sheet of bonded carbon atoms that was created more than ten years ago after researchers first peeled a few layers off a block of graphite with some Scotch Tape, before going on to refine their technique until a sheet just a single atom thick was produced.

    water technology

    The nanomaterial has been posited for all sorts of potentially revolutionary uses; from faster, thinner and even transparent electronics, to biotech implants, to better battery capacity. Now researchers at the University of Manchester say they have come up with a method for controlling the permeation of graphene oxide membranes so they can act as a filter to remove salt from ocean water. By controlling the size of the pores in the membranes the team was able to prevent common salts passing through the material, turning seawater into drinking water.

    While graphene has previously been demonstrated for filtering small nanoparticles, organic molecules, and even large salts, the challenge with common salts found in seawater is their small size. Graphene membranes also swell in size when immersed in water; meaning smaller sieves were required in order to block these common salts.

    The team at Manchester say they used physical confinement to control the interlayer spacing within graphene laminates immersed in water, enabling them to achieve what they describe as “accurate and tunable ion sieving”, and to provide a sieve size smaller than the diameters of hydrated ions.

    While they found that permeation rates for the membranes decrease exponentially with decreasing sieve size, they also report that water transport itself is only “weakly affected.” That means the filtered water flows through the membrane relatively quickly; an important factor if the aim is to develop affordable desalination technology. As well as potential uses for desalination, the team envisages wider industrial applications for “on-demand filtration capable of filtering out ions according to their sizes.” This study is detailed in a paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

    Professor Rahul Nair, one of the scientists stated, “Realisation of scalable membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale is a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology. This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.”

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    technology android king

    Technology For Android Takes Center Stage As The Internet’s Most Used Operating System

    Technology / Research from web analytics company Statcounter found Android technology now accounts for a larger share of internet usage than Windows for the first time. During March 2017, Android users represented 37.93% of activity on Statcounter’s network versus 37.91% for the Microsoft operating system. It’s a small gap for sure, and it refers to usage not necessary users, but it marks a notable tipping point that has been inevitable for the past couple of years.

    technology android king

    Statcounter, which bases its findings on 2.5 million websites that it claims generate over 15 billion monthly page views, tracked the gradual converge of usage for the two operating systems over time. The chart highlights Microsoft’s failure to challenge with its ill-fated Windows Phone platform. For Apple, the switch happened some time ago. During March 2017, Apple’s mobile users (iOS) were close to three times more active on the internet than users of its desktop machines (OSX).

    The wider Android-Windows trend has been evident for some time. Windows dominated, and continues to dominate, the desktop landscape, but worldwide PC sales have declined for the past five years to reach the same levels as 2008. In contrast, sales of smartphones continue to grow, and Android is the operating system for the lion’s share of internet users worldwide. Growth is highest in emerging markets like India. There, Apple has increased its sales but remains a niche player with Android accounting for upwards of 90% of smartphones.

    While the balance between iOS and Android is more level in Western markets like the U.S., the influx of new internet users from regions like Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America has tipped the scales in favor of Android. Indeed, a Statcounter report issued last week showed that mobile accounts for the vast majority of internet usage in countries like India (79%), Indonesia (72%) and China (57%) while desktop remains king in markets such as the U.S. (37 percent), UK (35 percent) and Germany (30%).

    Those numbers have seen some shift in global revenue for developers, with China overtaking the U.S. as the most lucrative market for iOS apps worldwide, but Android continues to lag despite a larger base of users. A recent App Annie report found that iOS accounted for just over 25 billion of the 90 billion app downloads made in 2016, with Android taking the remainder. Yet iOS apps pulled in the majority of the $35 billion paid out to publishers across the iOS and Android app stores. That might change soon, though. Thanks again to its vast dominance in the emerging world, App Annie is predicting that 2017 could be the year that Android app earnings overtake iOS for the first time. That would be another important milestone.

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    technology heart

    New Technology Grows Organs From Salad?

    Technology / New research has found that spinach leaves can be used as a scaffold for beating human heart cells. Researchers grew beating human heart cells on spinach leaves by perfusing them with a detergent solution, which stripped them of their plant cells. This proof-of-concept study suggests that multiple spinach leaves could be used to grow layers of healthy heart muscle that could one day be used to treat heart attack patients, the researchers believe.

    technology heart

    Glenn Gaudette, the study’s senior researcher and a professor of biomedical engineering technology at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts stated, “We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising. Adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a host of problems limiting the field.”

    The researchers also said they believe they could deliver blood and oxygen to developing tissues by pouring fluids through the spinach leaves’ veins. Joshua Gershlak, a graduate student of biomedical engineering at WPI and the study’s lead researcher stated, “When I looked at the spinach leaf, its stem reminded me of an aorta; so I thought, let’s perfuse [the fluids] right through the stem.”

    The scientists said spinach leaves make a good scaffold because once the plant cells are washed away, a cellulose structure remains. The researchers wrote in the study, “Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering and wound healing.”

    In addition to spinach leaves, the researchers also removed plant cells from parsley, Artemesia annua (sweet wormwood), and peanut hairy roots. The researchers said scaffolds from these plants, and perhaps others, could be helpful for other types of specialized tissue regeneration.

    Although spinach leaves have many veins, making them a well-suited scaffold for heart tissue, other plans show promise for other medical uses. Namely, the “cylindrical, hollow structure of the stem” of the jewelweed plant could be used as a graft for an artery. Additionally, wood from trees “might be useful in bone engineering,” due in part to its strength, they wrote.

    Plants such as these may provide economic and environmental advantages to the biomedical field. The scientists wrote, “By exploiting the benign chemistry of plant tissue scaffolds, we could address the many limitations and high costs of synthetic, complex composite materials.”

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    technology robot

    New Technology: Robot Pizza Delivery?

    The pizza company joked about driverless delivery robot technology back in 2015. The food delivery robots are coming! Remember the “Domi-No-Driver” campaign? Domino’s has joined hands with Starship Technologies to begin using its “personal delivery devices” this summer in Hamburg, Germany. If all goes well there, Domino’s and Starship intend to bring robot pizza delivery to the Netherlands as well.

    technology robot

    Starship’s devices have the look of a self-driving food cart, rather than some science fiction humanoid. They travel on six wheels at an average speed of 4 miles per hour, and can carry just over 40 pounds. In Hamburg, the robots will deliver pizzas within a one-mile radius.

    Starship is facing significant competition in the prospering market for “professional service robotics.” Competitors range from fellow startups like Marble to established players like Boston Dynamics. The International Federation for Robotics (IFR) forecasts that between 2016 and 2019, logistics businesses will have begun using at least 175,000 robots to provide their services. That compares to UPS’ global fleet of around 100,000 trucks today.

    Launched by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis in 2014, Starship Technologies also recently inked food delivery partnerships with DoorDash and Postmates in the US. But Domino’s has yet to offer pizza delivery by robot here. Many retailers and restaurants are waiting to see how robot delivery tech shapes up, but also how the rules for using these devices are set in the US market. Virginia, and as of this week Idaho, allow delivery by robot today. Other states and federal US laws are still to be determined..

    Domestically, Domino’s has offered other tech-enabled and entertaining ways to buy a pie, including by Tweeting a pizza emoji to @dominos, or requesting delivery from drivers of the Domino’s DXP “ultimate pizza delivery vehicle,” a modified Chevy Spark. In New Zealand, Domino’s has also begun delivery by drones in a partnership with Flirtey.

    Indeed, tech has become an international marketing gimmick for Domino’s. But learning what works, and doesn’t, in the next wave of logistics tech could spell serious cost savings, and not just near-term buzz, for any major restaurant chain that delivers. After all, robots may need maintenance, but they don’t call in sick unexpectedly or hop between employers like the people they could displace.

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    electric vehicle

    Electric Vehicles Go To Two Wheels

    What To Expect With A Zero Motorcycles’ Electric Vehicles, I mean, Motorcycles.

    With growing popularity, electric vehicles have started taking over. Some of the most popular brands on American roads are: Bolt, Prius, Proterra, and Tesla. It is rare to see or hear of a fully electric or hybrid motorcycle. Harley and Honda are two of the more popular brands of motor bikes. Their customers have expressed interest in the greener approach to riding but not many startups have been successful. Zero Motorcycles, Lightning Motorcycle, and Alta Motors are some US Companies still in the game.

    electric vehicles

    Zero Motorcycles CTO, Abe Askenazi, has been in the motorcycle industry for almost twenty years. He said right now a lot of Zero Motorcycles’ customers buy the company’s EV bikes alongside market-leading V-twins and V-4s. To him, that indicates Zero’s bikes perform at the same or better levels as riders’ long-held favorites. He continued, electric bikes are quiet, so riders can hear what’s happening around them, and won’t disturb the peace, which their neighbors appreciate. That quietness is one reason police departments buy Zero Motorcycles for their fleets. They can ride at any hour, and approach suspects stealthily if they drive electric.

    Zero’s products range from lightweight “hot rods” to off-road models that cost anywhere from about $8,500 to $16,000. Some of the new bikes are promising 200 miles per charge, which is a significant improvement from past models. The motorcycles’ easy to read instruments, speed control, and acceleration are some of Zero’s customers’ favorite qualities.

    Askenazi stated, “Optimization of chemistry has gotten us here. The beautiful thing is that batteries are plug-and-play. When that battery comes that will give you 1,000 miles, we’ll be able to use it. Where the industry is going though is not so much a bigger battery to go further between charges, but faster charging so you can go grocery shopping, plug it in, come back and then you’re ready to go again.”

    The CTO said that batteries will eventually weigh less and take up less space on the e-bikes. This will allow more space for cargo and other components. Askenazi stated, “You gain a lot of practicality with this bike.” He believes over time there will be many improvements with lighter weight and stronger materials.

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    technology

    Technology For Automobile Cybersecurity Getting Beefed Up

    A Technology focused on auto’s has been reintroduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ed Markey of Massachusetts called the Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act of 2017. The proposal was first introduced during the last session. The SPY Car Act places the responsibility for automotive cybersecurity and privacy standards on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The regulation would require critical software systems to be isolated from noncritical systems. And then those isolated systems should be tested for security.

    technology

    It also addresses securing personal information, including all data “collected by the electronic systems that are built into motor vehicles,” against unauthorized access. If there is a hacking attempt, the SPY Car Act calls for all cars to be equipped with the ability to detect the breach, report it and stop it from taking over the vehicle or collecting driving data. If a manufacturer doesn’t include this capability, under the law it would be fined $5,000 per car that didn’t have security technology built in.

    So far, the SPY Car Act seems like something we would expect to see. However, Senators Markey and Blumenthal take another step in requiring a “cyber dashboard.” This would tell the driver how far above and beyond the basic requirements a car company has gone to secure the onboard electronic systems via an “easy-to-understand, standardized graphic.” So some kind of scorecard would be placed where anyone could see it.

    The SPY Car Act also requires that every vehicle give “clear and conspicuous notice” to the driver about what driving information is being collected, if it is being transmitted or saved, and how it’s being used. Once you know this, the law would require that manufacturers give you the right to opt out of data collection without interfering with your ability to use navigation tools. And that data can only be used for marketing to you if you choose to opt in. The SPY Car Act does exempt black-box-type data collection. That basic information is still useful in the event of a crash, or to check the emissions history of a vehicle.

    Vehicle tracking specialists Satrak Plant Security polled 2,000 people in the U.K. recently and found that 40% of respondents said hacking was a “fairly serious” problem, which echoes other polls of consumers’ attitudes toward automotive cybersecurity. Now that NHTSA has created guidelines for autonomous vehicles, maybe it can build on its best practices guidelines if the SPY Car Act is passed.

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      technology nasa

      App Technology Allows Users To View Landscapes From Space

      The global imaging technology company that acquired Google’s Terra Bella satellite imaging business recently, Planet, is introducing a new tool called Planet Explorer Beta that permits its users to view how its image captures of Earth from space change over time. It is available to the public without a login, which means almost anyone can see what a particular spot on the planet looked like over a yearly or monthly period.

      technology nasa

      Will Marshall, Planet co-founder and CEO, describes in a blog post that the company has noticed that, as it captures images of the same locations over time, almost all places show visible signs of transformation. Planet’s satellite network captures a lot more imagery than has typically been available, and on a more frequent basis. It can collect a new photo of every piece of land on Earth on a daily basis, via its network of almost 150 orbital satellites. It proves things transform almost indefinitely all over the planet.

      There is clearly a business focus with Planet’s choice to reveal Explore Beta publicly with no login required. Use of the resulting images is limited to non-commercial purposes, and Planet anticipates this will drive free account sign-ups, which unlock access to not only yearly and monthly change imagery, but also daily comparisons. These gimmicks are likely to convert at least some users into paid subscribers, which permits them to use the available data for commercial use.

      However, Planet also says it believes imagery of the Earth should be freely accessible to all, including NGOs, individuals, and small companies, rather than exclusive province of big corporations and government agencies. For the everyday user, this is a great modern way to pass some time looking at truly fascinating satellite images, and getting some new perspective on the all-too inevitable passage of time.

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