Toyota Prius Stories August 21, 2014

Google’s autonomous car without steering wheel or pedals to get steering wheel & pedals …

When Google showed off its built-from-scratch self-driving car with no steering-wheel or pedals, the world’s press weren’t the only people watching: California’s DMV also had its eye on the vehicle.

A new rule taking effect in California from 16th September says that self-driving cars are only legal on public roads if a driver is able to take “immediate physical control,” reports the WSJ. That means that Google is going to have to make a couple of small adjustments to the cars: fitting that missing steering-wheel and pedals.

[Google] said it plans to comply with the California rule by building a small, temporary steering wheel and pedal system that drivers can use during testing.

“With these additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features, while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary,” Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said.

The company will initially be testing the fleet of 100 prototype vehicles on private roads.

Google had also wanted to test other types of autonomous vehicles, including motorcycles, but the DMV refused permission. California DMV official Bernard Soriano did, however, state that they are drafting rules that allow members of the public to operate driverless cars within a couple of years – and by that time, no steering-wheel or pedals will be required.

Only a handful of US states allow driverless cars on the road at present, but others are likely to follow California’s lead, and other countries likewise.

Toyota Prius Stories November 15, 2011

I’m just crossing 48 hours with the Kindle Fire and have a few quick observations that I think need to be brought to the surface on this great little device.

  1. It isn’t an iPad competitor any more than a Mercedes SUV is a competitor to a Toyota Prius.  A 7-inch tablet is an entirely different use case than a 10-incher.  At $199, it is more likely to take away iPod touch customers rather than iPad customers from Apple.  But mostly, Kindle people will be people who wouldn’t have considered an Apple tablet previously.
  2. The Fire isn’t a speed demon.  A few minutes navigating with the Fire is all it takes to realize that there are hiccups.  To me, it feels more sluggish than a Galaxy Tab 7 from last year, especially on CPU intensive stuff.  Amazon has done nice things with the interface and they should be congratulated on their virtual keyboard (it is one of the best I’ve used), but make no mistake, inside of this case is bargain basement components.
  3. If you are new to Amazon’s ecosystem, there isn’t a lot of content in there.  Getting some will be expensive.  In my family, my wife has the Prime account and our music in the Amazon Cloud is tied there as well.  That means any audio and video has to be purchased or brought over manually.
  4. The Kindle quickly became a Hulu Plus and Netflix player in our house – which the Barnes and Noble Nook can do just as well.  Or any Android tablet.
  5. The Silk browser wasn’t impressive.  It is slow, (probably more a processor thing here than a software thing).  I had more success with the Dolphin browser. expand full story
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