Google puts its self-driving cars to use as commuter vehicles

Technology is at its best when it makes people’s lives better, and that’s precisely what we’re going for with our self-driving car project. We’re using advanced computer science to try and make driving safer and more enjoyable.

Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They’ve covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn’t been a single accident under computer control.

We’re encouraged by this progress, but there’s still a long road ahead. To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter. As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work. This is an important milestone, as it brings this technology one step closer to every commuter. One day we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars. For now, our team members will remain in the driver’s seats and will take back control if needed.

With each breakthrough we feel more optimistic about delivering this technology to people and dramatically improving their driving experience. We’ll see you on the road!

 

Source: Google – The self-driving car logs more miles on new wheels

 

 

Continue reading Google puts its self-driving cars to use as commuter vehicles

Speed record set for all-electric airplane – 204.4 mph

Chip Yates does not like sitting still. Just a day after piloting his electric-powered Long EZ airplane to over 200 miles per hour – making him the fastest electric-airplane pilot in the world – he had to disassemble the airplane, pack it up and drive 2,000 miles east to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here at Airventure, Yates continues to be busy answering questions about his record-setting run. And perhaps one of the more surprising answers is that Yates is a not a veteran test pilot. He just got his license in June and has about 58 hours of experience, including the record-setting run last week.

When the electric vehicle pioneer bought the used airplane it had a 118 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that is fairly standard for a Long EZ. Over the course of several months Yates and his team pulled the four-cylinder engine out of the Long EZ. They then pulled the 193 kW (258 hp), liquid cooled electric motor out of his record setting battery powered motorcycle and mounted it to the back of the Long EZ.

With the very well used (Yates calls it “abused”) lithium polymer battery back from the motorcycle in the back seat, the Long EZ was being prepared as a test bed for some of the technologies Yates needs to develop for his transatlantic flight. But after setting speed records for an electric motorcycle, first up for the Long EZ was a speed run.

 

Keep reading: Wired – The Story Behind a Record-Setting Electric Airplane Flight

 

 

Continue reading Speed record set for all-electric airplane – 204.4 mph

Adventure playground is open! – mud slide, rafting, fort building, rope bridge

The kids will get dirty.

At this Central Park adventure, kids will hammer, saw wood, make forts, push themselves around in the shallow water on a raft and do all sorts of climbing, jumping and whatever they choose. Kids can raft on a small pond, navigate a rope bridge, use a cable slide, go down a mud slide and more. Bring a spare change of clothing, a plastic bag to put the wet clothes in and close-toed shoes for safety.

Parents will not be allowed to tell the kids, “Don’t get dirty.” Sorry mom or dad. The dirt is what this is about and you must just butt out!

This summer-fun event is held annually. Adventure Playground runs mid-June through mid-August. This experience is suitable for kids six to twelve years old. It is only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Adult supervision is provided and a small fee is charged. For information and group reservations, phone (714) 842-7442.

Location: Huntington Central Park, 7111 Talbert Avenue , Huntington Beach, California.

 

A google user: “I loved going here when I was younger. Tons of fun!! The rafts and the mudslide were cool and the tree house building area was my favorite! I recommend it.”

 

Source: Beach California, City of Huntington Beach

 

 

Continue reading Adventure playground is open! – mud slide, rafting, fort building, rope bridge

We were promised jetpacks! (they’re here)

We were promised jetpacks! Well, they exist. I flew one last weekend, and it was awesome. Video of my flight with Jetlev Southwest is below. – Danny Sullivan

 

 

For Father’s Day 2012, my family got me a 30 minute flight with Jetlev Southwest. Best present ever. I got the hang of it fairly quickly and was even able to do things like “The Submarine,” where you dive under the water and come back up. They’re based in Newport Beach, and you’ll find more info here: http://www.jetlevsouthwest.com

 

Prices:

  • Intro (20 min) – $159 on weekdays, $199 on weekends
  • Jetlev (30 min) – $249 on weekdays, $279 on weekends
  • 10 min add-on – $99
  • Returning pilot
    • 10 min – $79
    • 20 min – $149
    • 30 min – $209