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No one behind the wheel. Tesla 'autopilot' car hits Phoenix police motorcycle; Apple to test self-driving cars

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Official: Tesla 'autopilot' car hits Phoenix police motorcycle
A Phoenix police motorcycle was struck by a Tesla Model X reportedly operating on autopilot last week, police said.

The incident came days before a crash in Tempe involving an automated Uber vehicle in Tempe.
The collision prompted Uber to temporarily ground the program as it investigated the incident, but a company representative said Monday that the fleet will be redeployed.

In the southwestern dusk, an accident involving one of Uber’s autonomous Volvo XC90 test fleet cars happened

The iPhone of cars? Apple enters self-driving car race
Ending years of speculation, Apple's late entry into a crowded field was made official Friday with the disclosure that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads in the state.

Apple will be vying against 29 other companies that already have California permits to test self-driving cars. The list includes major automakers, including Ford, General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Tesla, as well as one of its biggest rivals in technology, Google, whose testing of self-driving cars has been spun off into an affiliate called Waymo.

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Driver texting while driving, crossed center line, killed 13 on church bus. Spike in pedestrian deaths: cell phone distractions

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Witness Saw Truck Driver Texting Befоre Texas Crash That Killed 13
A witness to a deadly Texas wreck involving a church minibus says the driver of a pickup truck that crossed the center line repeatedly apologized and acknowledged he had been texting while driving.

Jody Kuchler told The Associated Press on Friday that he was driving behind the truck and had seen it being driven erratically prior to the collision on a rural two-lane road about 75 west of San Antonio.

Kuchler says he spoke with the driver as he was pinned in his truck Wednesday moments after the collision with the bus carrying senior adults with First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas.

Kuchler says he told the driver, "Son, do you know what you just did?" He says the driver responded by repeatedly apologizing. The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the driver as 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young.

Thirteen people on the bus were killed and the lone survivor remained hospitalized Friday.

Spike in US Pedestrian Deaths Linked to Cell Phone Distractions
The Governors Highway Safety Association reported nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths for 2016, the highest figure in more than 20 years.

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Image courtesy newscame.com

Digital. Trump rarely uses email: "no computer is safe". Hack self-driving cars' sensors? $43 & a laser pointer

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Jan. 01, 2014
PALM BEACH, Fla. President-elect Donald Trump says that "no computer is safe" when it comes to keeping information private, expressing new skepticism about the security of online communications his administration is likely to use for everything from day-to-day planning to international relations.

Trump rarely uses email or computers, despite his frequent tweeting.

"You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way. Because I'll tell you what: No computer is safe," Trump told reporters during his annual New Year's Eve bash. "I don't care what they say."

Today's self-driving cars rely on spinning sensors called lidar that can cost more than $10,000 each. But it took Jonathan Petit just $43 and a laser pointer to confuse and defeat them.

"Anybody can go online and get access to this, buy it really quickly, and just assemble it, and there you go, you have a device that can spoof lidar," Petit, a cybersecurity expert, told Business Insider.

One of the first researchers to show how easy it is to hack self-driving cars' sensors, he was able to trick a sensor into thinking objects were there when they weren't, and vice versa.  read more »

In seconds: How fast driver able to switch from relaxation to control driverless car when machine is unsure to make decisions


Brown was passionate about his driverless car which was speeding into truck trailer and killed its master

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Washington: Joshua Brown, 40, a former Navy SEAL is the first person to die at the wheel of his confidently-trusted self-driving car. His computer-guided Tesla Model S hit a tractor trailer on a freeway in Williston, Florida, in May.

And here's what the Model S owner's manual has to say about Autopilot: "...Always drive attentively and be prepared to take immediate action." (Note: How fast can you switch yourself from relax mode into controlling the wheel to avoid a fatal accident?)

"When machines unsure to make decisions

Where's the lane? Self-driving cars confused by shabby U.S. roadways

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Photo courtesy heavy.com, Reuters / Mario Anzuoni, and Ben Cawthra / Rex / Shutterstock

Land speed record: 406.6mph pass, 1st to break 400mph barrier. Challenger II, naturally-aspirated, piston-powered, wheel-driven

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Danny Thompson, son of American racing legend Mickey Thompson, has set a land speed record at age 66. And it was a long time coming.

1960 -
In 1960, Mickey hit Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in a streamlined car called Challenger that was built to set a land-speed record. And it did. Sort of.
He made a single 406.6 mph pass, becoming the first American to break the 400 mph barrier. However, official speed records require two consecutive runs, one in each direction, and mechanical issues prevent him from making the second attempt.

1968 –
Mickey returned in 1968 with a new car dubbed Challenger 2, but the event was cancelled due to bad weather and the car was eventually mothballed as he focused on other racing and business pursuits.

1988 –
But about twenty years later, the bug bit again, and he and Danny hatched a plan to update the car and go for a record again, this time in the Southern California Timing Association’s naturally-aspirated, piston-powered, wheel-driven class. Tragically, before they could, Mickey and his wife were gunned down in what authorities later discovered was a hit put on Thompson by a former business associate, and the dream died with them in 1988.

2014 -
At least it seemed like it did. A few years ago, Danny decided to finish the family business once and for all. So he dug the car out of storage, put in a pair of nitro-burning Hemi V8 engines with a total of 4,000 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system, and went back to Bonneville Speed Week in 2014.

2015 -  read more »

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