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   133286920 submission

Submission + - This self-driving startup built a "car without wheels" for remote driving (arstechnica.com) 

   Submitted by Iwastheone on Monday July 13, 2020 @12:05AM
   Iwastheone writes: The ideal self-driving car would drive itself all the time, in all situations. But achieving that goal in practice is difficult—so difficult, in fact, that most self-driving companies have provisions for human backup to help cars get out of tricky or confusing situations.
   But companies are often secretive about exactly how these systems work. Perhaps they worry that providing details—or even admitting they exist—will cast their self-driving technology in an unflattering light.
   So it was refreshing to see the self-driving startup Voyage unveil its remote driving console as if it was announcing a major new product—which, in a sense, it is. Voyage didn't just create software that allows a remote operator to give instructions to a self-driving car—it built a physical "Telessist Pod" where a remote driver sits to control the vehicle.
   Meet the Telessist pod
   "For all of this to work safely, it had to basically be a car without wheels," Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron told me in a Thursday phone interview. "It had to have a real steering wheel, real pedals, real automotive-grade connectors, and real automotive-grade ECUs."
   Voyage's engineers built a "car without wheels" because they wanted to mirror the experience of driving a real car as closely as possible.
   "If you try to do it with a gaming steering wheel, you don't get the force feedback" you get with a real car, Cameron said. "It's impossible to drive reliably like that. It's so unsafe."
   {Remote Voyage drivers sit in a metal cage the size of a golf cart. There's a steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal where you'd expect them in a real car. A wraparound array of computer monitors shows the car's surroundings.}
   An encrypted wireless data connection keeps the components in the Telessist pod synchronized with their counterparts in the real car. Voyage says the network latency is under 100 milliseconds—short enough that the driver won't notice a significant lag.
   Three layers of redundancy
   The Shield module sits on the bumper of a Voyage vehicle.
   Enlarge / The Shield module sits on the bumper of a Voyage vehicle.
   Voyage
   The obvious question any engineer is going to ask about a system like this is, "What happens when something goes wrong?" Voyage says it has taken multiple precautions. The company bonds together five separate cellular connections, each with its own SIM card on a different wireless carrier, to achieve maximum redundancy and hence reliability. If one of the five networks fails, software automatically switches over to the other four.
   A system called Remote Drive Assist stands ready to take over control if the car loses its wireless connection. "If Remote Drive Assist detects there's any chance of a dangerous situation during remote operation of the vehicle, it immediately brings the vehicle to a safe stop," Voyage writes.
   A third layer of redundancy is provided by Shield—Voyage's high-tech emergency braking system. I saw an early version of this system when I visited Voyage headquarters last year. It's a small, self-contained system that rides on the front of Voyage's cars. A lidar unit is constantly scanning the road ahead looking for potential obstacles. If it detects an imminent collision, it has the power to activate the brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop. This means that, even if the human driver—or Voyage's main self-driving system, for that matter—makes a mistake, the car is unlikely to run into anything.
   While many cars today have emergency braking technology these days, no car on the market today has a lidar unit as powerful as the ones Voyage is using. So Voyage's braking technology may be significantly more effective than what you'll find in conventional cars.
   Life in the slow lane
   One of Voyage's key advantages is that its cars have a top speed of 25 miles per hour (40 km/h). Voyage's initial commercial offering will be a taxi service at the Villages, a massive retirement community in Florida where that's the maximum speed.
   On high-speed freeways, slamming on the brakes can be dangerous, since it can trigger a multicar pile-up. A technology like Voyage's Shield wouldn't work—or at least would be much harder to build—for a taxi service that had to navigate highways.
   A genius of Voyage's strategy is that the company has found a potentially large market that can be served without ever exceeding 25mph. The Villages is a community of more than 100,000 seniors, many of them affluent. The community has thousands of homes as well as stores, restaurants, and other amenities spread out over a significant area. Many residents have cars, but some have gotten too old to drive themselves. Cameron believes that the Villages alone could be a $100 million-per-year market.
   Meanwhile, companies with more challenging initial markets—Google's Waymo has a taxi service in suburban Phoenix, while GM's Cruise is working on serving San Francisco—have struggled to achieve fully driverless operation. Voyage's bet is that starting with a relatively easy technical challenge will let the company get traction, earn some revenue, and gain knowledge that will help it eventually tackle more challenging environments.
   Correction: Voyage's cellular connection are not 5G as this story previously stated.
   Promoted Comments
   B'Trey Ars Scholae Palatinae et Subscriptor
   JUMP TO POST
   kpluck wrote:
   I am not sure I understand the point of having the driver be located somewhere other than in the car. Is it so they physically don't have to be located close to where they work?
   In this scenario specifically, wouldn't it be advantageous to have the driver in the car so that they would be available to help the elderly passenger in and out of the vehicle if needed or maybe help them carry a purchase to their door?
   To me, it seems like its sole purpose to allow a company to hire the least expensive labor force possible while ignoring important needs of their potential customers.
   The opening paragraph talks about getting the cars out of tricky situations. My guess is that the intent is that the car will operate autonomously but will have the ability to come to a stop, phone home and say "Help!" if it gets into a situation it can't handle. A human driver would take remote control, extract the vehicle from said situation, and then turn control back over to the autopilot. That would ensure that a customer isn't stuck sitting for an extended period if the autopilot gets confused.
   700 posts | registered 4/16/1999
   AusPeter Ars Praetorian
   JUMP TO POST
   Tim Lee wrote:
   This way you can have one remote driver for every 5 or 10 cars. And eventually, as the software gets better, you can have one driver for every 50 or 100 cars and only have them intervene when they encounter really unusual situations.
   I have worked on cranes in container ports and this is exactly how the systems I have worked on are designed.
   An overhead traveling crane runs over a storage field of containers that are nicely stacked up in rows and columns (up to 6 containers high). The automated systems can shuffle containers around without human intervention. If a container is to be delivered to truck outside the field, the automated systems pick it up and then maneuver over the top of the truck. At this point the system alerts an operator sitting in a remote air-conditioned office who has a desk with some joy-sticks and buttons. He then manually lands the container on the truck and lets go of it, and flips the crane back into auto. In this manner a small number of workers can serve a large number of cranes and not be left sitting out in an intolerable environment when they have nothing to do (EG Dubai in summer). The cranes also call for help when they encounter unusual situations (EG the automated parts can't complete an instruction for some reason, such as a misaligned sensor, or the target container not being where the
   system thinks it is)
   Of course work is being done to eliminate that last bit of manual labor, but it will be hanging around for a while yet — especially as long as complex systems can have potential mechanical or electrical issues.
   457 posts | registered 8/2/2014
    
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   133272570 comment

Comment Re: New physics... or metaphysics (Score 1) 164

   by Iwastheone on Sunday July 12, 2020 @07:16AM (#60289034) Attached to: Is Our Solar System's Ninth Planet Actually a Primordial Black Hole?
   https://www.space.com/planet-n...space.com>
    
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   133233058 comment

Comment Re:Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 63

   by Iwastheone on Friday July 10, 2020 @01:36PM (#60283710) Attached to: Amazon Makes Employees Delete TikTok From Phones, Citing Security Risk [Update]
   Tiktok has become a political football, some saying it is anti-republican, now young'uns are using TikTok in order to retaliate against President Trumps call for banning the app. https://time.com/5865261/tikto...time.com>
    
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   133195298 submission

Submission + - On Firefox, websites can keep filming you from your locked phone (traced.app)  2

   Submitted by lateral on Thursday July 09, 2020 @08:58AM
   lateral writes: Firefox on Android has a bug that keeps the camera and microphone rolling if you put the app in the background or lock your phone while you're using a video chat/conferencing website. Firefox has known about the bug for a year and hasn't fixed it yet, which is fine because... nobody uses video chat or video conferencing these days?
    
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   133016444 comment

Comment Re:Maybe next time (Score 1) 18

   by Iwastheone on Sunday July 05, 2020 @07:28AM (#60263222) Attached to: Starting Soon: A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
   Video of the eclipse: https://youtu.be/UVCGv2eZcbQyoutu.be>
    
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   133012098 submission

Submission + - COVID-19 Herd Immunity Is Much Closer Than Antibody Tests Suggest, Say 2 New Stu (reason.com)  3

   Submitted by Way Smarter Than You on Sunday July 05, 2020 @03:08AM
   Way Smarter Than You writes: One interesting observation was that it wasn't just individuals with verified COVID-19 who showed T-cell immunity but also many of their exposed asymptomatic family members," said Karolinska researcher Soo Aleman. "Moreover, roughly 30 per cent of the blood donors who'd given blood in May 2020 had COVID-19-specific T cells, a figure that's much higher than previous antibody tests have shown.
   In a second study, German researchers analyzed blood samples of 365 people, of which 180 had had COVID-19 and 185 had not. When they exposed the blood samples to the COVID-19 coronavirus, they found, as expected, that blood from those who had had the illness produced a substantial immune response. More significantly, they also found that 81 percent of the subjects who had never had COVID-19 also produced a T-cell immune reaction, reports The Science Times. If the German study's results prove out, that would suggest that earlier common cold coronavirus infections may provide about eight in 10 people some degree of immune protection from the COVID-19 virus.
    
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   132997348 submission

Submission + - Divers find evidence of America's 1'st mines (and skeletons) in underwater cave (cbsnews.com) 

   Submitted by Iwastheone on Saturday July 04, 2020 @11:27AM
   Iwastheone writes: Experts and cave divers in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula have found ocher mines that are some of the oldest on the continent. Ancient skeletons were found in the narrow, twisting labyrinths of now-submerged sinkhole caves.
   Since skeletal remains like "Naia," a young woman who died 13,000 years ago, were found over the last 15 years, archaeologists have wondered how they wound up in the then-dry caves. About 8,000 years ago, rising sea levels flooded the caves, known as cenotes, around the Caribbean coast resort of Tulum.
   Had these early inhabitants fallen in, or did they go down intentionally seeking shelter, food or water? Nine sets of human skeletal remains have been found in the underwater caves, whose passages can be barely big enough to squeeze through.
   Para obtener más información sobre Sagitario / La Mina en español, siga este enlace a nuestra pagina...
   Posted by El Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuífero de Quintana Roo A.C. on Friday, July 3, 2020
   Recent discoveries of about 900 meters of ocher mines suggest they may have had a more powerful attraction. The discovery of remains of human-set fires, stacked mining debris, simple stone tools, navigational aids and digging sites suggest humans went into the caves around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, seeking iron-rich red ocher, which early peoples in the Americas prized for decoration and rituals.
   Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox
   Such pigments were used in cave paintings, rock art, burials and other structures among early peoples around the globe.
   The early miners apparently brought torches or firewood to light their work, and broke off pieces of stalagmites to pound out the ocher. They left smoke marks on the roof of the caves that are still visible today.
   "While Naia added to the understanding of the ancestry, growth and development of these early Americans, little was known about why she and her contemporaries took the risk to enter the maze of caves," wrote researchers from the Research Center for the Aquifer System of Quintana Roo, known as CINDAQ for its initials in Spanish.
   The research was published Friday in the journal Science Advances.
   "There had been speculation about what would have driven them into places so complex and hazardous to navigate, such as temporary shelter, fresh water, or burial of human remains, but none of the previous speculation was well-supported by archeological evidence," they wrote.
   "Now, for the first time we know why the people of this time would undertake the enormous risk and effort to explore these treacherous caves," said CINDAQ founder Sam Meacham. At least one reason, Meacham said, was to prospect and mine red ocher.
   Roberto Junco Sánchez, the head of underwater archaeology for Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, said the discovery means the caves were altered by humans at an early date. The early miners may have removed tons of ocher, which, when ground to a paste, can be used to color hair, skin, rocks or hides in varying shades of red.
   "Now we know that ancient humans did not risk entering this maze of caves just to get water or flee from predators, but that they also entered them to mine," Junco Sanchez said.
   However, James Chatters, forensic anthropologist, archaeologist, and paleontologist with Applied Paleoscience, a consulting firm in Bothell, Washington, noted that none of the pre-Maya human remains in the caves were found directly in the mining areas.
   Dr. Spencer Pelton, a professor at the University of Wyoming and the state archaeologist, has excavated a slightly older ocher mine at the Powars II site near Hartville, Wyoming.
   Pelton agreed that among the first inhabitants of the Americas, ocher had an especially powerful attraction.
   Red ocher mining "seems especially important during the first period of human colonization... you find it on tools, floors, hunt sites," Pelton said. "It's a substance of great power... everybody likes shiny red things."
   "It gives them a reason" to go into the caves, Pelton said, adding: "Considering the massive scale of this mining, it's the first thing I would go for."
   The caves provide a well-preserved environment and are where one of the oldest sets of human remains found in the Americas, a young woman nicknamed "Naia," was discovered in 2007.
   Chatters said Naia "most likely died from a 30 meter fall from the dark cave tunnel" onto the floor of a chamber below.
    
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   132992790 submission

Submission + - SPAM: COVID 19: Immunity may be more widespread than tests and study suggest 1

   Submitted by Meddco on Saturday July 04, 2020 @07:43AM
   Meddco writes: For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells which identify and destroy infected cells.
   This was seen even in people who had mild or symptomless cases of Covid-19.
   Link to Original Source
    nix 
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   132981020 comment

Comment One problem... (Score 1) 40

   by Iwastheone on Friday July 03, 2020 @10:50PM (#60259762) Attached to: Walmart is Converting Its Parking Lots Into Pop-up Drive-in Theaters For the Summer
   How to deal with all the 'running daylights' that will wash out the screen?
    
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   132778890 submission

Submission + - Apple Mass Deleting Forum Posts About Defective MacBook Pro Part?

   Submitted by Orrin Bloquy on Monday June 29, 2020 @03:32PM
   Orrin Bloquy writes: 2016 and later MacBook Pros cover the mainboard's multipart unshielded flexible flat cable to the screen with a separate bezel ("logo baffle"), a strip of black glass as thin as a mobile phone screen protector, but not covering a solid surface like screen protectors do. Users on Apple's forums are reporting cracks, chips and total breakage on the logo baffle, often resulting in damage to the flat cable underneath causing vertical strips to permanently reverse color or black out, subsequently requiring replacement of the entire screen assembly.
   While inexpensive plastic third-party replacement baffles are available online, the process of removing the original cracked glass baffle requires a heat gun and is itself capable of permanently damaging an intact screen cable if done incorrectly, as well as voiding your warranty and possibly any additional AppleCare service contracts.
   As the number of reports grows, Apple's reaction to this has gone from deleting user images in forum posts on this topic to simply deleting forum posts about it where any photos have been posted. Google Image Search still has the site's numerous user posted images (archived copy here); but the threads the images link to all return the same error page.
   In 2013, a GPU mount defect with the 2011 MBPs Apple denied knowledge of caused thousands of posts on discussions.apple.com and only the ones mentioning legal recourse such as a class action suit were deleted. Eventually a class action suit was mounted, and Apple was forced to repair these MBPs out of warranty (and refund people who'd paid for repairs) to settle. Is this forum purge a move by Apple to prevent users from organizing a second time?
    apple macbook streisandeffect 
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   132764134 submission

Submission + - SpaceX Crew Dragon Module at the ISS Is Generating Way More Power Than Expected (futurism.com) 

   Submitted by schwit1 on Monday June 29, 2020 @11:48AM
   schwit1 writes: “In fact, the spacecraft’s solar arrays are performing ‘better than predicted,’ according to Stich, meaning that it could technically stay docked 114 more days, way past its planned return date with Behnken and Hurley aboard on August 2.”
    nix 
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   132666176 comment

Comment Re:App polling whether paste icon enable... (Score 2) 61

   by Iwastheone on Saturday June 27, 2020 @03:16PM (#60235378) Attached to: Apple 'Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users', Claims Forbes
   ArsTechnica's article lists 53 other apps..., https://arstechnica.com/gadget...arstechnica.com>
    
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   132546152 comment

Comment Alternate article (Score 5, Informative) 44

   by Iwastheone on Thursday June 25, 2020 @04:48AM (#60225566) Attached to: Gravitational Waves Reveal Lightest Black Hole Ever Observed
   From: https://www.nationalgeographic...nationalgeographic.com>

   While the heavier object is clearly a black hole, the less massive object is one of the few known celestial bodies in what’s called the mass gap between neutron stars and black holes. Somewhere in that gap, matter becomes unstable and collapses into a black hole—and neutron stars exist right on the threshold of that limit.

   “Nature imposes a limit to stable material density,” says Zaven Arzoumanian of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “But we don’t know what it is or what happens to matter just this side of it,” says Arzoumanian, who’s the science lead for NICER, an experiment studying neutron stars from the International Space Station.
   ...

   ..., But, as is often the case in a universe of limitless possibilities, many unknowns linger.

   “Part of the fascination with neutron stars is that they represent the last way-station for matter in gravitational collapse,” Arzoumanian says. “What is the highest stable density that matter is allowed to achieve before it implodes and collapses inside its own event horizon, never to be seen again?”
    
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   132526220 comment

Comment Re:And I expect its flight to last similarly long. (Score 1) 80

   by Iwastheone on Wednesday June 24, 2020 @06:50PM (#60224188) Attached to: Mars Is About To Have Its 'Wright Brothers Moment'
   In Space no one can hear you thud.
    
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   132501474 comment

Comment Re:And I expect its flight to last similarly long. (Score 2) 80

   by Iwastheone on Wednesday June 24, 2020 @06:30AM (#60221074) Attached to: Mars Is About To Have Its 'Wright Brothers Moment'
   Excitement is building for the launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission on July 20. Heading to the red planet will be the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity, a small helicopter that’s set to become the first-ever aircraft to fly on another planet.

   NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has just released a video (below) showing the clever way in which Perseverance will deploy the helicopter once it reaches the Martian surface.

   As NASA points out in its tweet, “the journey of 314 million miles all comes down to the last few inches” for the helicopter, which is relying on Perseverance to safely deposit it on the ground ahead of its maiden flight. https://www.digitaltrends.com/...digitaltrends.com>
    
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     * This self-driving startup built a "car without wheels" for remote driving
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