Thursday, October 10, 2019

Waymo Placing Fully Autonomous Vehicles on the Road

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle business under Alphabet (neƩ Google), sent an email to customers of its ride-hailing app in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) that their next trip might not have a human safety driver behind the wheel. Fully autonomous / robot cars are here!

Waymo opened a testing and operations center in Chandler, Ariz. in 2016. Since then, the company has ramped up its testing in Chandler and other Phoenix suburbs, launched an early rider program and slowly crept toward commercial deployment. The early rider program, which required vetted applicants to sign non-disclosure agreements to participate, launched in April 2017.

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Boeing Wins at the WTO against Airbus

The World Trade Organization (WTO) found in favor of Boeing and the U.S. in retaliation for the unlawful EU subsidization of Airbus. The October 2, 2019, $7.5 billion annual award is the largest made, and comes after almost 15 years of litigation at the WTO. The U.S. successfully argued that the EU / four of its member states conferred more than $18 billion to Airbus in subsidized financing.

This entitles the U.S. to impose an additional 10 percent duty (tariff) on airplanes from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, as well as an additional 25 percent duty on certain goods including single malt Irish and Scotch whiskies, coffee from Germany, cheeses from several countries, and certain garments from the United Kingdom.

EU officials claim to have little interest for mutual imposition of countermeasures. They have emphasized that such countermeasures strain transatlantic trade relations and inflict damage on citizens and businesses. The timing of the new tariffs is politically sensitive given the recent global imposition of national security tariffs by the U.S. on steel and aluminum, as well as the potential addition of global national security tariffs on automobiles and parts.

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

UPS First out of the Gate in the US for Drone Delivery

The FAA has settled on UPS to be the first nationwide drone delivery service. The company’s drone subsidiary just got the official nod to take its delivery service nationwide.
UPS announced today that it is the first to receive the official nod from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a full “drone airline,” which will allow it to expand its current small drone delivery service pilots into a country-wide network. In its announcement of the news, UPS said that it will start by building out its drone delivery solutions specific to hospital campuses nationwide in the U.S., and then to other industries outside of healthcare
With the FAA’s approval, the company appears ready to ramp up its drone operation to go head-to-head with competitors like Alphabet's (formerly Google) Wing, DHL, and Amazon.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Huge Multi-National That Only Utilizes Remote Workers

There are obvious benefits to remote workers. Staff are more productive. It improves morale. It enhances talent recruitment and retention. And remote work offers cost savings. But how can a large organization manage?

Take page from GitLab, which has an all-remote policy. While officially based in San Francisco, the company has 850 employees across more than 55 countries, all of whom work from home. Company culture, of course, can be difficult to maintain when everyone is remote. GitLab workers stay connected through daily team calls and watercooler chats on Zoom and Slack, where employees often gab about non-work activities. "Visiting grants" help cover costs when staffers travel to regions where other employees are located.

Remote work can ease the carbon footprint of companies. It can also boost productivity and lower operating costs. But how to deal with the obstacles to effective dispersed teams? GitLab offers a few model processes.

For example, organizations should address how to ensure workers are,w ell, working. One of GitLab's core values: Measure results, not hours. "We can't measure how long you work," he says. "We don't want to measure it. We don't want your manager to even talk about it with you unless they think you work too much," says GitLab CEO Sijbrandij.

One area to address is to coordinate and communicate effectively across time zones GitLab does this by documenting everything. In addition to the publicly viewable merge requests, meetings and presentations get uploaded to YouTube. When employees have questions, they're encouraged to search the company's comprehensive (1,000 printed pages) online handbook.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

UAS-Based Radar Suite for Sounding and Mapping Glaciers

Emily Arnold, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas, was awarded a five-year, $609,000 National Science Foundation grant to customize an unmanned helicopter with two radar arrays so she can explore Greenland’s Helheim Glacier in 2021.

Carrying two bespoke radars powered by the aircraft's electrical system, the professor and her fellow researchers plan to not only map the glacial surfaces, but probe hundreds of meters into the ice. This kind of detailed data collection is not possible with satellite imagery, which covers great expanses but with less precision/far less resolution than low-altitude radar grid mapping. The UAV will operant in an environment of extreme cold temperatures with winds that can reach 55 knots — all while carrying a 10-pound payload. The specifications are for a mission endurance longer than 25 minutes. This means hardware more capable than the typical off-the-shelf solution.

Arnold and her other University of Kansas collaborators aim to gather data that will help scientists better understand the physics and dynamics of ice. “We want to know what [glaciers'] contribution is to global sea level rise” will be, says Arnold.

See the details here: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1848210