Category Archives: Transportation

People Are Harassing Waymo’s Self-Driving Vehicles

Waymo's testing dozens of self-driving mini-vans near Phoenix. Now the Arizona Republic asks why the vehicles are getting so much hate, citing "a slashed tire, a pointed gun, bullies on the road..." "Police have responded to dozens of calls regarding people threatening and harassing Waymo vans." That was clear August 19, when police were called because a 37-year-old man who police described as "heavily intoxicated" was standing in front of a Waymo and not allowing the van to proceed. "He stated he was sick and tired of the Waymo vehicles driving in his neighborhood, and apparently thought the best idea to resolve this was to stand in front of one of these vehicles," Officer Richard Rimbach wrote in a report. Phil Simon, an information systems lecturer at Arizona State University and author of several books on technology, said angst from residents is probably less about how the Waymo vans drive and more about people frustrated with what Waymo represents. "This stuff is happening fast and a lot of people are concerned that technology is going to run them out of a job," Simon said. Simon said it is hard for middle-class people to celebrate technological breakthroughs like self-driving cars if they have seen their own wages stagnate or even decline in recent years. "There are always winners and losers, and these are probably people who are afraid and this is a way for them to fight back in some small, futile way," Simon said. "Something tells me these are not college professors or vice presidents who are doing well." Police used video footage from Waymo to identify the license plate of a Jeep that kept driving head-on toward Waymo's test car -- six different times, one in which the driver then slammed on the brakes, jumped out of their car, and demanded that Waymo get out of their neighborhood. Another local resident told the newspaper that "Everybody hates Waymo drivers. They are dangerous." On four separate occasions, people have thrown rocks. A 69-year-old man was even arrested for pointing a revolver at the test driver in a passing Waymo car. He later told police he was trying to scare Waymo's driver, and "stated that he despises and hates those cars." He was charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. The man's wife told reporters he'd been diagnosed with dementia, but the Arizona Republic calls it "one of at least 21 interactions documented by local police during the past two years where people have harassed the autonomous vehicles and their human test drivers," adding "There may be many undocumented instances where people threatened Waymo drivers..." "The self-driving vans use radar, lidar and cameras to navigate, so they capture footage of all interactions that usually is clear enough to identify people and read license plates," the paper adds. (Waymo later cites its "ongoing work" with communities "including Arizona law enforcement and first responders.") When one local news crew followed Waymo vehicles for 170 miles to critique their driving, a Waymo driver eventually pulled into a police station "because the driver was concerned we might've been harassing them. After they learned we were with the media, they let us go on our way."

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Boeing 737 Passenger Jet Damaged in Possible Midair Drone Hit

Grupo Aeromexico SAB is investigating whether a drone slammed into a Boeing Co. 737 jetliner as the aircraft approached its destination in Tijuana, Mexico, on the U.S. border. From a report: Images on local media showed considerable damage to the nose of the 737-800, which was operating Wednesday as Flight 773 from Guadalajara. In a cabin recording, crew members can be heard saying they heard a "pretty loud bang" and asking the control tower to check if the nose was damaged. The collision happened shortly before landing. "The exact cause is still being investigated," Aeromexico said in a statement. "The aircraft landed normally and the passengers' safety was never compromised." The potential drone strike stoked fears that the rising use of uncrewed aircraft will endanger planes filled with passengers. While most nations prohibit drones from flying in pathways reserved for airliners, the millions of small consumer devices that have been purchased around the world can't be tracked on radar, making it difficult for authorities to enforce the rules. In addition, many users don't know the rules or don't follow them.

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A New Engine Could Bring Back Supersonic Air-Travel

An anonymous reader shares a report (may be paywalled): Every morning, time once was, a giant roar from Heathrow Airport would announce the departure of flight BA001 to New York. The roar was caused by the injection into the aircraft's four afterburners of the fuel which provided the extra thrust that it needed to take off. Soon afterwards, the pilot lit the afterburners again -- this time to accelerate his charge beyond the speed of sound for the three-and-a-half hour trip to JFK. The plane was Concorde. Supersonic passenger travel came to an end in 2003. The crash three years earlier of a French Concorde had not helped, but the main reasons were wider. One was the aircraft's Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus engines, afterburners and all, which gobbled up too much fuel for its flights to be paying propositions. The second was the boom-causing shock wave it generated when travelling supersonically. That meant the overland sections of its route had to be flown below Mach 1. For the Olympus, an engine optimised for travel far beyond the sound barrier, this was commercial death. That, however, was then. And this is now. Materials are lighter and stronger. Aerodynamics and the physics of sonic booms are better understood. There is also a more realistic appreciation of the market. As a result, several groups of aircraft engineers are dipping their toes back into the supersonic pool. Some see potential for planes with about half Concorde's 100-seat capacity. Others plan to start even smaller, with business jets that carry around a dozen passengers. The chances of such aircraft getting airborne have recently increased substantially.

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Californians Have Now Purchased Half a Million EVs

According Veloz -- an electric car industry group -- electric vehicle sales in California hit a cumulative 512,717 since 2010. "Months of strong U.S. sales in 2018, preceded by a strong 2017, are starting to show a trend: electric vehicles are selling well, especially in places where there are strong monetary and non-monetary incentives to buy them," reports Ars Technica. From the report: "Overall, this year has seen exponential growth in electric car sales," Veloz wrote. "Electric cars accounted for 7.1 percent of California car sales in the first three quarters of the year, with fully electric, zero-emission car sales outpacing plug-in hybrid sales 4.1 percent to 3 percent respectively." Veloz's data tallies not just fully battery-electric vehicles but also plug-in hybrids as well as the much rarer fuel cell vehicles. The group gets its data (PDF) from the blogs InsideEVs and HybridCars.com as well as a market-research firm called Baum & Associates and estimates from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). According to data from InsideEVs, the Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling electric vehicle model in the U.S. in November. In November alone, 18,650 of those vehicles were sold in the U.S. To its credit, Veloz's press release isn't too self-congratulatory. The group writes, "Veloz recognizes that, while electric car sales are increasing at a rapid clip, it is not happening fast enough to achieve the deep cuts in emissions that the state needs to achieve to protect people's health and curb negative impacts on the environment."

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The Electric Airplane Revolution May Come Sooner Than You Think

An anonymous reader shares a report: An all-electric mini-airliner that can go 621 miles on one charge and replace many of the turboprops and light jets in use now -- flying almost as far and almost as fast but for a fraction of the running costs -- could be in service within three years. But this isn't another claim by another overoptimistic purveyor of electric dreams. It's using current technology, and the first planes are being built right now. In fact, the process of gaining certification from aviation regulators for what would be the world's first electric commuter plane has already started. The pressurised Alice from Israeli company Eviation is a graceful-looking composite aircraft with one propeller at the rear and another at the end of each wing, placed to cut drag from wingtip vortices. Each is driven by a 260 kW electric motor, and they receive power from a 900 kWh lithium ion battery pack. Alongside its 650 mile range, the pressurised $3 million-plus Alice can carry nine passengers and two crew, and cruise at 276 mph -- up there with the speed of the turboprops that are widely used in the commuter role, if not anywhere near that of jets. But crucially, says Eviation chief executive Omer Bar-Yohay, "operating costs will be just 7 to 9 cents per seat per mile," or about $200 an hour for the whole aircraft, against about $1,000 for turboprop rivals.

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Elon Musk: Tesla ‘Would Be Interested’ in Taking Over GM’s Closed Factories

An anonymous reader quotes CNN: Elon Musk wants electric vehicles to be successful -- even if Tesla goes under trying. In an interview for CBS' "60 Minutes," the Tesla CEO and Silicon Valley billionaire was asked about competition from General Motors (GM), which announced last month it's laying off thousands of workers as the century-old company shifts focus to self-driving and electric vehicles. Musk appeared unconcerned. "If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla, and it's so much better than ours that we can't sell our cars and we go bankrupt, I still think that's a good thing for the world," Musk told Leslie Stahl during the interview.... "The whole point of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles and sustainable transport," he said. "We're trying to help the environment, we think it's the most serious problem that humanity faces...." In his 60 Minutes interview, Musk also floated the possibility that Tesla may expand its footprint in the United States. He said Tesla "would be interested" in taking over some of the factory space GM said it will abandon during its restructuring. The article also cites estimates from Navigant Research that Teslas now account for 20% of all fully-electric vehicles on the road today.

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UPS Tries Delivery Tricycles As Seattle’s Traffic Doom Looms

An anonymous reader shares a report: Pushing the cargo bike across a rain-soaked parking lot at a UPS distribution center in Seattle, where the shipper showed off its newest delivery vehicle, I had a realization once the pedal assist kicked in. "Yep, this will totally work," I thought. Bike messengers have long known cycling is the fastest way to get around traffic-choked cities. More commuters are getting it too. Now UPS is giving it a shot: The 111-year-old delivery service has started moving packages around Seattle by electric tricycle, in a yearlong pilot. The vehicle in question was designed and built by Truck Trike in Portland, Oregon. When the rider starts to pedal, human power pushes the front hub. With a thumb throttle, the rider can draw power from a pair of battery packs in the base of the trike to rear hub motors for the back two wheels, with enough juice for 12 to 18 miles of range. The extra power comes in handy because the trailer, made by Portland's Silver Eagle, can fit as many as 40 packages, or about 350 pounds worth of stuff. For UPS the move is pretty spot on, because while the Emerald City is always congested, it's less than two months from what its traffic engineers call the "period of maximum constraint." That ominous-sounding constrained period arrives on February 4, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct elevated highway along the waterfront is torn down and the 2-mile tunnel Seattle dug to replace it comes online. Crews are finishing the ramps that connect the tunnel to surface roads, and for three weeks, the city won't have a road to get through downtown on the city's waterfront side. To dodge the traffic horror show, Seattleites are planning vacations, renting Airbnbs to stay downtown, anything to avoid driving, including working from home.

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Luxembourg To Become First Country To Make All Public Transport Free

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday. Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016. While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg. Luxembourg has increasingly shown a progressive attitude to transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay about $2.27 for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers almost all journeys. Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. The policy is yet to be fully thought through, however. A decision has yet to be taken on what to do about first- and second-class compartments on trains.

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Thieves Are Boosting the Signal From Key Fobs Inside Homes To Steal Vehicles

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBC.ca: According to Markham automotive security specialist Jeff Bates, owner of Lockdown Security, wireless key fobs have a role to play in many recent car thefts, with thieves intercepting and rerouting their signals -- even from inside homes -- to open and steal cars. According to Bates, many of these thieves are using a method called "relay theft." Key fobs are constantly broadcasting a signal that communicates with a specific vehicle, he said, and when it comes into a close enough range, the vehicle will open and start. The thief will bring a device close to the home's door, close to where most keys are sitting, to boost the fob's signal. They leave another device near the vehicle, which receives the signal and opens the car. Many people don't realize it, Bates said, but the thieves don't need the fob in the car to drive it away. Bates says, if you have a key fob that can wirelessly unlock/start your car, you should not keep it by the front door. "If you do live in a house, try to leave your keys either upstairs or ... as far away from the vehicle as possible," he said. "The other thing that you can do is there are products out there that you can put your key fob into," such as a faraday cage -- a box used to block radio signals -- a key pouch, which works similarly, or even a steel box.

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VW Says the Next Generation of Combustion Cars Will Be Its Last

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Volkswagen AG expects the era of the combustion car to fade away after it rolls out its next-generation gasoline and diesel cars beginning in 2026. "Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren't CO2 neutral," Michael Jost, strategy chief for Volkswagen's namesake brand, said Tuesday at an industry conference near the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. "We're gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum." The world's largest automaker has started to introduce its first wave of electric cars, including next year's Porsche Taycan. The rollout across its stable of 12 automotive brands is forecast to comprise about 15 million vehicles, as the company earmarks $50 billion over the next five years to spend on its transformation to self-driving, electric cars. Production of the VW brand's I.D. Neo hatchback will start in 12 months in Germany, followed by other models from the I.D. line assembled at two sites in China as of 2020. VW plans to launch fully or partly electric versions across its lineup of more than 300 cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes by 2030. The company "will continue to modify its combustion engine technology after the new platform is introduced next decade," reports Bloomberg. "After 2050, there may still be some gasoline and diesel models in regions where there is insufficient charging infrastructure, according to Jost."

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Elon Musk Says Autopilot Will Soon Recognize Emergency Response Vehicles

Over the weekend, Elon Musk alluded to impending software updates that would make Teslas even safer than they already are. In response to a story about a DUI where a Tesla autopilot may have been involved, Musk said Autopilot may soon be able to recognize emergency response vehicles and react accordingly. Inverse reports: "Default Autopilot behavior, if there's no driver input, is to slow gradually to a stop & turn on hazard lights," Musk explained in the replies. "Tesla service then contacts the owner." That naturally got people wondering whether or not Tesla's autopilot was capable of differentiating between emergency response vehicles and everyone else. Presumably, someday soon autonomous vehicles are going to be able to recognize sirens (or their futuristic software equivalent.) If an ambulance pulls up behind an autonomous car on a single-lane road, it will need some mechanism to know it's supposed to get out of the way. In the meanwhile, Musk said that Tesla is already working on the first half of that problem, by teaching neural net to be able to recognize police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. On Twitter, he said that this capability would be added to the neural net "in the coming months."

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Security Affairs: Moscow’s New Cable Car closed due to a ransomware infection

Two days after Moscow opened a new cable car system hackers infected its computer systems with ransomware.

The cable car system is long over 700 meters and spans across the Moscow river linking the Luzhniki Olympic Complex to the observation platform on Sparrow Hills.

Two days after Moscow cable car was opened, the servers of the Moscow Ropeway (MKD), the organization that operates the infrastructure was infected with the ransomware and attackers requested the payment in Bitcoin.

The infection occurred on Wednesday, November 28, at around 14:00, local time, according to local news outlets,

“One day after opening to the general public, Moscow’s highly touted first-ever cable car was forced to shut down after a reported cyberattack.” reported The Moscow Times.

“However, a cyberattack forced all passengers to disembark the cable car only two hours after it opened, its operator said on Wednesday.”

A video on the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily’s website showed a police officer explaining people waiting in line that the cable car would not reopen “for technical reasons.”

On November 29, experts at MDK removed the malware from its systems and on November 30 the Cable car was resumed.

“Since November 30, 2018, the Moscow Ropeway (MKD) has been operating normally.

On November 29, 2018, the MKD officers diagnosed all the systems that ensure the safe operation of the cableway as part of test activities for the launch of the road.” states the announcement on the MKD website.

Russian police have identified the hacker who carried out the ransomware attack, a criminal case was launched into the hacker attack on the Moscow cable car server.

“The Nikulinsky inter-district prosecutor’s office recognized as lawful and justified the initiation of criminal proceedings by the investigative bodies of the Moscow police under Part 1 of Article 273 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (” Creation, use and distribution of malicious computer programs “) into the cyber attack on the Moscow cableway server,” said the metropolitan prosecutor’s office Lyudmila Nefedova.

In November 2016, another public transport system was infected with ransomware,

This is not the first time that public transportation has been affected by ransomware. In November 2016, hackers crashed the computer system of the San Francisco’s Municipal railway, took offline the ticket kiosks offline and gave riders a free ride for an entire day.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – ransomware, Moscow cable car)

The post Moscow’s New Cable Car closed due to a ransomware infection appeared first on Security Affairs.



Security Affairs

Moscow’s New Cable Car closed due to a ransomware infection

Two days after Moscow opened a new cable car system hackers infected its computer systems with ransomware.

The cable car system is long over 700 meters and spans across the Moscow river linking the Luzhniki Olympic Complex to the observation platform on Sparrow Hills.

Two days after Moscow cable car was opened, the servers of the Moscow Ropeway (MKD), the organization that operates the infrastructure was infected with the ransomware and attackers requested the payment in Bitcoin.

The infection occurred on Wednesday, November 28, at around 14:00, local time, according to local news outlets,

“One day after opening to the general public, Moscow’s highly touted first-ever cable car was forced to shut down after a reported cyberattack.” reported The Moscow Times.

“However, a cyberattack forced all passengers to disembark the cable car only two hours after it opened, its operator said on Wednesday.”

A video on the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily’s website showed a police officer explaining people waiting in line that the cable car would not reopen “for technical reasons.”

On November 29, experts at MDK removed the malware from its systems and on November 30 the Cable car was resumed.

“Since November 30, 2018, the Moscow Ropeway (MKD) has been operating normally.

On November 29, 2018, the MKD officers diagnosed all the systems that ensure the safe operation of the cableway as part of test activities for the launch of the road.” states the announcement on the MKD website.

Russian police have identified the hacker who carried out the ransomware attack, a criminal case was launched into the hacker attack on the Moscow cable car server.

“The Nikulinsky inter-district prosecutor’s office recognized as lawful and justified the initiation of criminal proceedings by the investigative bodies of the Moscow police under Part 1 of Article 273 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (” Creation, use and distribution of malicious computer programs “) into the cyber attack on the Moscow cableway server,” said the metropolitan prosecutor’s office Lyudmila Nefedova.

In November 2016, another public transport system was infected with ransomware,

This is not the first time that public transportation has been affected by ransomware. In November 2016, hackers crashed the computer system of the San Francisco’s Municipal railway, took offline the ticket kiosks offline and gave riders a free ride for an entire day.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – ransomware, Moscow cable car)

The post Moscow’s New Cable Car closed due to a ransomware infection appeared first on Security Affairs.

A Sleeping Driver’s Tesla Led Police On A 7-Minute Chase

"When a pair of California Highway Patrol officers pulled alongside a car cruising down Highway 101 in Redwood City before dawn Friday, they reported a shocking sight: a man fast asleep behind the wheel," reports the San Francisco Chronicle: The car was a Tesla, the man was a Los Altos planning commissioner, and the ensuing freeway stop turned into a complex, seven-minute operation in which the officers had to outsmart the vehicle's autopilot system because the driver was unresponsive, according to the CHP... Officers observed Samek's gray Tesla Model S around 3:30 a.m. as it sped south at 70 mph on Highway 101 near Whipple Avenue, said Art Montiel, a CHP spokesman. When officers pulled up next to the car, they allegedly saw Samek asleep, but the car was moving straight, leading them to believe it was in autopilot mode. The officers slowed the car down after running a traffic break, with an officer behind Samek turning on emergency lights before driving across all lanes of the highway, in an S-shaped path, to slow traffic down behind the Tesla, Montiel said. He said another officer drove a patrol car directly in front of Samek before gradually slowing down, prompting the Tesla to slow down as well and eventually come to a stop in the middle of the highway, north of the Embarcadero exit in Palo Alto -- about 7 miles from where the stop was initiated. Tesla declined to comment on the incident, but John Simpson, privacy/technology project director for Consumer Watchdog, calls this proof that Tesla has wrongly convinced drivers their cars' "autopilot" function really could perform fully autonomous driving... "They've really unconscionably led people to believe, I think, that the car is far more capable of self-driving than actually is the case. That's a huge problem."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Cancels Los Angeles Tunnel Following Lawsuit

Elon Musk's Boring Company has settled a lawsuit preventing the company from building a tunnel beneath the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. "[T]he cancellation of the Westside tunnel project is a major blow to Musk's grand plan in the City of Angels," reports Gizmodo. From the report: The Los Angeles Times reports that the project's demise began shortly after the Boring Company obtained a preliminary exemption to skip California's environmental review process and start digging. The city's authorities have been friendly to Musk's plans, but a group of residents in the Westside area filed an environmental suit in May alleging that the tunnel violates state law. The crux of the group's argument was that the Westside tunnel is part of a larger project that the company outlined with a map late last year. According to the suit, California law forbids the approval of individual facets of a larger project, stating that a full environmental review can't "be evaded by chopping large projects into smaller pieces that taken individually appear to have no significant environmental impacts." The Westside group did not get a ruling on its lawsuit; instead, it seems the two parties settled. The Boring Company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo, but it sent a statement to NBC News that reads: "The parties (The Boring Company, Brentwood Residents Coalition, Sunset Coalition, and Wendy-Sue Rosen) have amicably settled the matter of Brentwood Residents Coalition et al. v. City of Los Angeles (TBC -- The Boring Company). The Boring Company is no longer seeking the development of the Sepulveda test tunnel and instead seeks to construct an operational tunnel at Dodger Stadium."

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GM To Idle Five Factories In North America, Cut More Than 14,000 Jobs As It Focuses On Autonomous, Electric Vehicles

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Chicago Tribune: General Motors will cut up to 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it abandons many of its car models and restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. The reduction includes about 8,000 white-collar employees, or 15 percent of GM's North American white-collar workforce. Some will take buyouts while others will be laid off. Four factories in the U.S. and one in Canada could be shuttered by the end of 2019 if the automaker and its unions don't come up with an agreement to allocate more work to those facilities, GM said in a statement Monday. Another two will close outside North America. The company has marked a sedan plant in Detroit, a compact car plant in Ohio, and another assembly plant outside Toronto for possible closure. Also at risk are two transmission plants, one outside Detroit and another in Baltimore. GM CEO Mary Barra said the company is "still hiring people with expertise in software and electric and autonomous vehicles, and many of those who will lose their jobs are now working on conventional cars with internal combustion engines," reports Dallas News. "Barra said the industry is changing rapidly and moving toward electric propulsion, autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, and GM must adjust with it." The restructuring comes as the U.S. and North American auto markets are shifting away from cars toward SUVs and trucks. "In October, almost 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were trucks or SUVs," reports Chicago Tribune. "It was about 50 percent cars just five years ago."

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NYC Subway, Bus Services Have Entered ‘Death Spiral,’ Experts Say

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) warned last week that without a major infusion of cash, [New York City's subway and bus services] will have to drastically cut service or increase fares on the system that carries millions of New Yorkers around the city. The system's financial straits have gotten worse in part because it has fewer riders, and is collecting less money in fares. Expected passenger revenue over a five-year period has dropped by $485 million since July. "They've entered this death spiral," said Benjamin Kabak, who runs the transit website Second Avenue Sagas. "The subway service and the bus service has become unreliable enough for people to stop using it. If people aren't using it, there's less money, and they have to keep raising fares without delivering better service." The authority is proposing a fare hike that would take effect in March. One option would raise the basic fare for a ride to $3 from the current $2.75. Another option would leave the base fare the same but increase the cost of monthly passes and eliminate bonuses for riders. They are also proposing $41 million a year in service cuts, mainly increasing the time between trains and buses on some routes. And, if approved, the plan would delay the launch of faster bus routes. The proposed cuts "will still leave the MTA with massive deficits, expected to hit nearly $1 billion a year by 2022," the report says. "To tackle those deficits, officials say they would have to cut service more drastically, or raise fares by an additional 15%."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ford Patents a Way To Remove ‘New Car Smell’

Ford has filed a patent for a method of eliminating the new car smell after a vehicle has been purchased. In the U.S., "new car smell" is beloved, but in China, customers find the odor disgusting. From a report: While the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hasn't issued a ruling on the "vehicle odor remediation" patent application, and Ford hasn't committed to moving forward with the project, the paperwork explains what creates the odor so many Americans like: That new car smell is caused by volatile organic compounds given off by leather, plastic and vinyl. Chemicals used to attach and seal car parts may also contribute to the odor. People notice odors when compounds are released, which occurs when a car sits in high temperatures. Ford scientists describe baking the car until the odor disappears, which happens after compounds are released. The process described in the patent involves parking the car in the sun, opening the windows slightly, and optionally turning the engine, heater and fan on.The system includes special software and various air quality sensors, and works only when fitted to a driverless or semi-autonomous vehicle. A lot of technology is involved in the patent application. The car would determine whether conditions are right to expel compounds, and the car would drive itself to a place in the sun and bake away the offensive odor.

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Maryland Test Confirms Drones Can Safely Deliver Human Organs

A kidney was flown thousands of meters by a drone without incurring any damage. Reader Wave723 shares a report: When a patient who needs an organ transplantation is finally matched with a donor, every second matters. A longer wait between when an organ is removed from a donor and when it is placed into a recipient is associated with poorer organ function following transplantation. To maximize the chances of success, organs must be shipped from A to B as quickly and safely as possible -- and a recent test run suggests that drones are up to the task. [...] Last March, they (Dr. Joseph Scalea of the University of Maryland Medical Center and his team) received news that a kidney -- which was not healthy enough to be used in a transplantation -- was available for research. Over the course of roughly 24 hours, the kidney was shipped more than 1,600 kilometers (km) to Baltimore and the drone was set up for its first delivery mission. The results were published in the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine on 6 November. In total, the little bean-shaped organ was airborne for a little more than an hour over the course of 14 flight missions. For the farthest mission, the kidney flew 2,415 meters, a distance similar to the length of potential shipment routes for donor organs between inner city hospitals. The researchers found that the temperature of the kidney remained stable, at a cool 2.5 degrees Celsius, throughout the test runs. Air pressure corresponded with altitude, and the drone-borne organ achieved a maximum speed of 67.6 km/h. In an interesting twist, the kidney was subjected to slightly fewer vibrations when transported in the drone compared to a control delivery mission in a fixed wing plane (a dual engine turboprop King Air). Biopsies of the kidney before and after drone transportation revealed no damage from the journey, suggesting that the experiment -- which the research team believes is the first ever use of a drone for organ delivery -- was a success.

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The Boring Company’s First Tunnel Is All Dug Up

Elon Musk has tweeted images of his tunnel-boring machine with the caption "Congratulations @BoringCompany on completing the LA/Hawthorne tunnel! Cutting edge technology!" The update comes a couple weeks after Musk showed off the Boring Company's LA tunnel and said it was "on track" for an opening party on December 10th. Ars Technica reports: The tunnel appears to end at what The Boring Company calls "O'Leary Station," which is located on a piece of commercial property that The Boring Company purchased in Hawthorne. This location is close to, but not the same as, the location for which The Boring Company recently received approval to build a tunnel entrance within a residential garage. "O'Leary Station" references a SpaceX/Boring Company employee who recently passed away. The Hawthorne tunnel is just a test tunnel for The Boring Company, which also plans to complete a second, 3.6-mile, one-way tunnel from Los Angeles Metro to Dodger Stadium. Eventually, the company wants to dig a tunnel in Chicago between O'Hare International Airport and the city's downtown.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US government accuses Chinese hackers of stealing jet engine IP

The Justice Department has charged ten Chinese nationals -- two of which are intelligence officers -- of hacking into and stealing intellectual property from a pair of unnamed US and French companies between January 2015 to at least May of 2015. The hackers were after a type of turbofan (portmanteau of turbine and fan), a large commercial airline engine, to either circumvent its own development costs or avoid having to buy it. According to the complaint by the Department of Justice, a Chinese aerospace manufacturer was simultaneously working on making a comparable engine. The hack afflicted unnamed aerospace companies located in Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon.

Via: ZD Net

Source: US Department of Justice

Cathay Pacific data breach affects up to 9.4 million customers

Cathay Pacific, the primary airline of Hong Kong known for its high-speed WiFi, was hit with a major data breach that affects up to 9.4 million passengers. The company said that personal information including passport numbers, identity card numbers, credit card numbers, frequent flyer membership program numbers, customer service comments and travel history had been compromised. No passwords were compromised, which may not be any consolation.

Via: The Guardian

Source: Cathay Pacific

Uber will pay $148 million for 2016 data breach coverup

Last year, reports surfaced that Uber had been hit with a data breach, but instead of reporting it to the government or to those affected, it chose to cover it up. Now, the company will pay $148 million as part of a settlement, and the money will be disbursed between each US state and Washington, DC. After the hack and Uber's response to it became public, a number of states launched investigations into the incident while others filed lawsuits.

Via: CNBC

Source: New York Attorney General