John Maddox is senior director of autonomous safety and compliance at Lyft. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act in 1956, he predicted that the connected highway system would change the face of America. And it did exactly that - reshaping the way we move, and creating tremendous economic value. But it also created new challenges for our communities. Now, we stand to witness the next transportation revolution with the advent of self-driving cars. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to improve safety and reshape cities to transport people more efficiently. But to reach that future, we have work to do. Public and private stakeholders, including rideshare companies, public transit operators and local, state and federal governments must work together to create consistent industry regulations and streamline the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Rideshare's role … [Read more...] about For a self-driving future, it’s not just the tech we need to get right
Driving insurance no car
The stretch of open road in front of you, the unknown, the adventure, the wind in your hair. A road trip is all that and more. At least for Arindam Haldar. The CEO, SRL Diagnostics, loves driving vacations and he still remembers his first one, a road trip between Goa to Mangalore via the NH 66. He says, “This was in the ’90s and the roads were practically empty and smooth. The pristine beaches of Karwar blew our minds away and I can still remember the stretch next to Kali river on one side and the sea on the other. We just stopped by the road and absorbed the incredible natural beauty.” Best destinations While Haldar has lost count of the number of road trips he has done, he tries to include one whenever the time permits. “My last road trip was from Budapest to Bratislava and then through Austria, taking pit stop at Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck. The final break was at Prague.” While it’s hard for him to pick a favourite, he says that for those … [Read more...] about Road trip essentials of SRL Diagnostics boss: Insurance cover, on-the-go munchies, cool music
Next to the M56, on the outskirts of Manchester, the future has landed. A cluster of huge distribution centres sits at the heart of Airport City, a new development part-funded by the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (two years ago, it was visited by president Xi Jinping of China). Among the biggest buildings is one of Amazon’s self-styled “fulfilment centres”. Known within the company as MAN1, it opened in September last year, but everything inside, from the chairs to the wall-mounted screens, looks as if it has just come out of a box. Deeper within the centre, beyond the reception area and meeting rooms, there is something else just as new: a great expanse of space behind a metal cage, where dozens of robots, finished in Amazon orange and each emblazoned with its own number, glide across the floor, gracefully avoiding collisions and sprinting to their next task. Amazon employees call them “drives”, but to all intents and purposes these are droids, … [Read more...] about Meet your new cobot: is a machine coming for your job?
The river Yarrow has been a friend to Croston in Lancashire for centuries, with St Michael's church and its old school built close to the banks, along with the rectory, smithy and farms which saw no need to retreat to higher ground. But three times since 1987, the sought-after village near Preston has been swept by flooding, most recently in June when 70 houses were damaged, some very seriously, by a sewage-laced torrent. Engineer Peter Thomas stands in the wreckage of his family's living room, with plaster scraped from four feet of brickwork and stud walls hacked out. The devastation will cost an estimated £80,000. On the other side of Town Road, pretty with its Jubilee bunting, Tom and Jo Burke face similar chaos on their ground floor, with a dirty tideline showing where the water peaked. The Environment Agency (EA), water company United Utilities and Chorley council came to Croston last week for a public meeting. "There were so many questions they just couldn't answer," says Jo … [Read more...] about Residents face devastation with neither flood defences nor respite from the rain
They may lack the exotic ring of Venice's Piazza San Marco or Marrakech's Djemaa el-Fna, but Norwich's planned Rain Square and Flood Park may one day earn a little renown of their own in the epic battle with the weather. After England's wettest year on record, planners this spring will be asked to grant consent to 670 homes by the confluence of the Wensum and Yare rivers featuring these new public spaces, where half the site has a high probability of flooding and its edge is only 45cm (18in) above sea level. The project, described as a folly by opponents, is a bellwether for Britain's readiness to tackle the twin pressures of rising floodwaters – which the Environment Agency estimates put one in six homes at risk – and ever increasing housing demand in popular places such as Norwich. In a counter-intuitive attempt to persuade homebuyers to set aside their fear of the rising tide, the scheme proposes homes around marshes, squares that are designed to become ponds, and parks … [Read more...] about Welcome to Rain Square, where the answer to rising flooding is: let it flow
Robots won’t eat all the jobs, says Marco Zappacosta, the CEO and co-founder of Thumbtack, a marketplace for service professionals from plumbers to yoga teachers to personal trainers. While automation is expected to replace many positions, he thinks huge growth will come in the types of local trades that Thumbtack showcases — work that cannot be sent offshore or done by machines. To support those workers, he hopes the country will embrace portable benefits, streamline regulations, invest in training and skills, and build more housing. Thumbtack has more than 200,000 people offering more than a thousand types of services. The lion’s share do home-related work: maintenance, construction and systems. Events, health and wellness, business systems and education are also popular. People peddling their services on Thumbtack say it helps them cast a wide net to reach potential clients, eliminating one of the biggest hassles of being an independent professional. Darrell Ross, … [Read more...] about Why the robot apocalypse won’t kill all gig economy jobs