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NASA's aeronautics department has developed and refined green technology through its Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project the past six years, and the results are excellent. It says what it's done could "cut airline fuel use in half, pollution by 75 percent and noise to nearly one-eighth of today's levels."
For airlines, this means a potential $255 billion in savings between 2025 and 2050. And before you think the savings won't be passed onto you, airline prices have actually dropped by 50 percent the last three decades.
Ford has planned to integrate Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto into its vehicles for awhile, and now we have a timeline. If you have a 2016 vehicle, you'll be able to upgrade to the new platform later this year; 2017 models will have the technology built-in. The 2017 Ford Escape, due in spring, will be the first to have it. The Escape also features LTE, as will other Ford vehicles with Sync 3 later this year.
CarPlay and Android Auto effectively turn your vehicle's display into a smartphone, so you can listen to music, check driving directions, and so on with your vehicle much like you would on your phone.
In a milestone that pushes humanity one step closer to science fiction, ArcaSpace has created the world's first real hoverboard.
Unlike hoverboard "impostors" like the uni-wheeled gyro skateboard or Lexus' SLIDE board, the ArcaBoard actually levitates up to a height of one foot over surfaces. Although the ArcaBoard is an authentic hoverboard, it's very much unlike Marty McFly's 80's kistch sci-fi wonder: as the tech is still in its early stages, the board is quite bulky, weighing it at 180lbs. With that kind of heft, it's more like a floating coffee table rather than a svelte aerodynamic street-hopper.
The ArcaBoard's hovering action is powered by a massive array of 36 high-powered electric fans that generate up to 272 horsepower and 430 lbs of thrust. The board can also hit a top speed of 12.5 miles-per-hour. Sadly the levitating fun will be short-lived as the fan system drains the board's batteries in six minutes flat. Additionally, it takes about six hours or so to get the board charged again, but ArcaSpace also sells a quick-charging ArcaDock for $4,500 that will have you up and levitating again in half an hour.
Tesla Motors is getting right into the holiday spirit, with company founder and real-life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, showing off the Model X with an Easter Egg built-into their latest electric SUV.
Musk took to Twitter, saying "Model Xmas show! This is being done by the car itself (no special mods) & will be onboard as an Easter egg". In the video above, the Model X electric SUVs are playing along to Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was at the Stanford FutureFest recently, where he updated his timeline for the progression of AI.
During the chat, Musk said "If any given year you find your predictions are going further out or coming closer in, that actually one way to think of acceleration [of progress] because otherwise what's the quantitative measure of AI?"
While talking with Fortune's Kirsten Korosec, Musk said "We're going to end up with complete autonomy, and I think we will have complete autonomy in approximately two years". Now, keep in mind that Musk is referring to a "level 4 autonomous vehicle", which The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes as a "vehicle designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip".
When it comes to commercial availability of truly autonomous cars, Musk says it will be between 1 and 5 years, depending on the jurisdiction.
Following Google's discovery driverless cars are a bit too good at driving for their own good, the company is said -- according to three sources aware of the plans -- to be partnering with classic car maker Ford to make new ones. This news is in line with what co-founder Sergey Brin said earlier in the year: it wants manufacturing partners interested in its self-driving technology.
The deal is said to be non-exclusive, meaning it can partner with other companies if it pleases. As well, it's understood Ford will not be liable for any accidents to come out of the venture.
Model S owners outside of the US are in for a treat, with Tesla Motors announcing today that it has partnered up with Spotify to provide built-in Spotify Premium into the Model S.
Tesla is only offering Spotify Premium to Model S owners in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong - with the US to soon receive the streaming music offering, but just now for now. The integration won't require that Model S owners install the Spotify application on their phone, or to even have a Premium account of their own. Spotify Premium will be built into the car, and will only work with that specific vehicle.
On the other hand, if you've already got a personal Spotify Premium account, you can link that instead.
Programmers and engineers at Google and the GM-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab, among other institutions, are finding driverless cars are too good at what they do, and it's causing a crash rate double that of cars with human drivers. That is to say, a robot driver that obeys the law to the letter every time doesn't mesh so well with human drivers that don't do the same. For example, a driverless car will go the speed limit on a busy highway whereas everyone else will be going well above it, or be wanting to, thus increasing the probability of a crash. As well, the reflexes of a driverless car are better, which can catch a human off guard.
Though all crashes have been minor and none of them the fault of a driverless car, researchers are of course debating what to do about the situation. One possibility: programming the vehicles to behave more like humans and better fit into the "social game" (as Google describes it) that is driving, even if that means making them a little less lawful.
It looks like Google will be making a self-driving unit within its Alphabet company, according to "a person briefed on the company's strategy", reports Bloomberg.
Google's autonomous vehicles have clocked up over 1 million miles (or 1.6 million kilometers) on public roads throughout San Francisco, and Austin, Texas. These cities are where Alphabet (or Google, or whatever) will roll out their autonomous vehicles first, with an Uber-like service. The person that Bloomberg talked with asked not to be identified as "the plans are private". The new autonomous vehicles would be deployed in confined areas at first, such as "campuses, military bases or corporate office parks", according to Bloomberg's source.
One of Google's main goals with autonomous vehicles is to reduce traffic accidents, which claim around 33,000 lives every year in the United States alone. Back in September, Google and Alphabet co-founder Sergey Brin said that self-driving cars would first reach humanity as a form of service, saying that countless people could try the technology, and that having "the vehicle come back to us every day" meant that Google could update the machines at a much higher rate than consumer-owned autonomous cars.
It seems going all-electric is the way of the future for carmakers, with Hyundai entering the fold with its impending announcement of the Ioniq, it's first all-electric vehicle.
Hyundai will unveil the Ioniq next month, but the company is going to go about the announcement a little different - offering the Ioniq in multiple versions. Not only will there be an all-electric version, but Hyundai will offer a gasoline-electric model, as well as plug-in electric hybrid options, too. Hyundai says that this is the first time that a vehicle will be sold with three different environmentally-friendly powertrain options to choose from.
The carmaker is teasing that its Ioniq vehicle features "class-leading" aerodynamics with a "coupe-like" exterior design that minimizes wind resistance. Hyundai has also added that the Ioniq is made from environmentally-friendly materials throughout the interior, that continues the "elegant and clutter-free theme". Hyundai will debut the Ioniq in Korea next month, before it will go on display at the Geneva Motor Show, and the New York Auto Show in March 2016.