Self-driving cars can help cut pollution if their adoption is guided by public policy initiatives that change the way people think about transportation, the Frontier Group's Tony Dutzik said. Ride-sharing and better traffic management brought on by autonomous-vehicle development would spur environmental gains, but cheaper and easier driving options could actually worsen air quality by increasing the number of cars, he said.
Otto, the self-driving-truck startup owned by Uber Technologies, says one of its vehicles has transported 2,000 cases of Budweiser from Fort Collins, Colo., to Colorado Springs, about 120 miles. Otto said a driver was present in the cabin all the way but didn't need to take control of the truck.
Las Vegas is part of a small group of US cities incorporating self-driving vehicles into regional transportation plans and will be one of the first to unveil smart-city automotive technology, a speaker at a transportation conference said. The city is already testing smart-car technology and has created an "innovation district" downtown.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued guidelines to increase security and keep hackers from launching cyberattacks against vehicles. "Everyone involved must keep moving, adapting, and improving to stay ahead of the bad guys," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently discussed more details about the company's planned drones, specifically how the drones know where to land. He also noted the drones are capable of reacting to situations on the ground and able to navigate on their own at more than 50 miles per hour.
Best Buy will offer free shipping on orders of all sizes through Christmas Eve for the second consecutive year, a move aimed at staying competitive with Amazon. Many online orders will be filled from stores and delivered in two days or less, the retailer said.
Dueling between traditional automakers and Silicon Valley innovators over who will create cars of the future continues, but some in Silicon Valley are beginning to acknowledge the difficulty of mass production. Meanwhile, automakers struggle to find top tech talent.
Hanjin Shipping will close all 10 of its European operation centers as it seems to inch closer to liquidation in its bankruptcy filing. However, "the added overhead costs of a duplicated network and redundant vessels are the last things that carriers would buy at the moment, with container ship charter hires at historic lows and idle vessel capacity nearing an all-time high," said Alphaliner, a shipping industry monitor.
Two more smart city finalists, including winning city Columbus, Ohio, have received Federal Highway Administration grants for intelligent transportation system projects. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency received $10.9 million, while the NW 33 Innovation Corridor Partnership got $5.9 million for technology improvements in two cities near Columbus.
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