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Crime

Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company 4 4

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-directly-to-jail dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Two Uber executives were arrested by French authorities for running an illegal taxi company and concealing illegal documents. This is not the first time Uber has run into trouble in France. Recently, taxi drivers started a nation-wide protest, blocking access to Roissy airport and the nation's interior minister issued a ban on UberPop. A statement from an Uber spokesperson to TechCrunch reads: "Our CEO for France and General Manager for Western Europe were invited to a police hearing this afternoon; following this interview, they were taken into custody. We are always available to answer all the questions on our service, and available to the authorities to solve any problem that could come up. Talks are in progress. In the meantime, we keep working in order to make sure that both our customers and drivers are safe following last week’s turmoils."
Transportation

Airplane Coatings Help Recoup Fuel Efficiency Lost To Bug Splatter 34 34

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-stay-off dept.
MTorrice writes: When bugs hit the wings of oncoming airplanes, they create a problem. Their blood, called hemolymph, sticks to an airplane's wings, disrupting the smooth airflow over them and reducing the aircraft's fuel efficiency. To fight the problem, NASA is working on developing a coating that could help aircraft repel bug remains during flight. After experimenting with almost 200 different formulations, researchers recently flight-tested a few promising candidates. Results showed that they could reduce the amount of stuck bug guts on the wings by up to 40%. With further optimization, NASA says such coatings could allow planes to use 5% less fuel.
Transportation

Solar Impulse, Continuing World-Spanning Trip, Attempts To Cross The Pacific 37 37

Posted by timothy
from the can't-find-your-bags-at-all-sir dept.
The BBC reports that Solar Impulse has resumed its 'round-the-world attempt, having taken off today from Nagoya, Japan for what is intended to be a 120-hour voyage to Hawaii. [If pilot Andre Borschberg] succeeds, it will be the longest-duration solo flight in aviation history, as well as the furthest distance flown by a craft that is powered only by the Sun. The Pacific crossing is the eighth leg of Solar Impulse's journey around the world. But this stage has proven to be the most difficult, and has been hit by weeks of delays." The circumnavigation attempt began earlier this year.
ISS

A Failure For SpaceX: Falcon 9 Explodes During Ascension 286 286

Posted by timothy
from the harsh-news dept.
MouseR writes with bad news about this morning's SpaceX launch: About 2:19 into its flight, Falcon 9 exploded along stage 2 and the Dragon capsule, before even the stage 1 separation. Telemetry and videos are inconclusive, without further analysis as to what went wrong. Everything was green lights. This is a catastrophe for SpaceX, which enjoyed, until now, a perfect launch record. TechCrunch has coverage of the failure, which of course also means that today's planned stage one return attempt has failed before it could start; watch this space for more links. Update: 06/28 15:06 GMT by T : See also stories at NBC News, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press (via ABC News). According to the Washington Post, what was a catastrophe for this morning's launch is only a setback for the ISS and its crew, rather than a disaster: A NASA slide from an April presentation said that with current food levels, the space station would reach what NASA calls “reserve level” on July 24 and run out by Sept. 5, according to SpaceNews. [NASA spokeswoman Stephanie] Schierholz said, however, that the supplies would last until the fall, although she could not provide a precise date. Even if something were to go wrong with the SpaceX flight, she said, there are eight more scheduled this year, including several this summer, “so there are plenty of ways to ensure the station continues to be well-supplied.” Of note: One bit of cargo that was aboard the SpaceX craft was a Microsoft Hololens; hopefully another will make it onto one of the upcoming supply runs instead.

Elon Musk has posted a note on the company's Twitter channel: "Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data."
Earth

Weather Promising for Sunday Morning SpaceX Launch 49 49

Posted by timothy
from the ask-the-north-koreans dept.
USA Today reports that the weather looks good for Sunday morning's planned launch at 10:21, Florida time (14:21 GMT) of SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule, loaded with a docking adapter intended for future manned-crew access to the International Space Station. An excerpt: "The forecast calls for a 90% chance of weather good enough to permit SpaceX's 208-foot Falcon 9 rocket to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during an instantaneous launch window. ... "This is actually pretty cool, because it does play right into our next Crew Dragon program," [Hans] Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president for mission assurance, said of the docking adapter in a separate news briefing. "It's something that we bring up for our own future, and so we're really motivated to bring this up." Related: astroengine points out that as part of this launch, SpaceX will make another attempt at landing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform off the coast of Florida after sending the Dragon cargo vehicle to the International Space Station. Although SpaceX is hoping to achieve something the rocket industry has never done before (true usability of rocket engines, cutting costs), it's not the only game in town — Blue Origin, ULA and Airbus all have rocket return desires.
Transportation

Aiming To Beat Tesla's "3", Chevy Tests and Teases a Cheaper 200-Mile Electric Car 235 235

Posted by timothy
from the zipping-around dept.
PC Magazine is one of many to note Chevrolet's upcoming effort to beat Tesla's Model 3 to market with a car that is "affordable" (a lot more affordable than the Model S) but which tops the 200-mile range that right now only Tesla beats in a widely available pure electric car. The Model 3 is expected to feature many of the features of the currently Tesla S variants, but in a smaller package and with a much lower price tag. The linked article features GM-supplied video of Chevy's all-elecric bolt, about which it says The car maker doesn't reveal much beyond what we already know: 200-plus-mile range and a starting price tag of $30,000. The video shows various Chevy engineers putting the camouflage-wrapped Bolt EV through its paces—climbing hills, accelerating, and coming to a stop, as well as enduring extreme heat and charging.
Transportation

World's First Commercial Jetpack Arrives Next Year 116 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-chase-down-some-drones dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The good news is that soon, you'll finally be able to buy that jetpack you've always wanted. The bad news is that it'll run you about $150,000. The Martin Jetpack will use fans, rather than rockets, to lift humans weighing up to 120kg (~256 lbs). Its makers say it can reach altitudes of up to 1 kilometer, and fly for up to 30 minutes at a time. The jetpack will be sold commercially to emergency services next year, and then a smaller, personal version will hit the market in 2017.
Transportation

After Protest, France Cracks Down On Uber 176 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the apparently-there's-not-an-app-for-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Just a day after taxi drivers began a high-profile protest of Uber in France, the nation's interior minister has issued a ban on the car-sharing service UberPop. The minister stated that the service was illegal, and ordered police to begin seizing vehicles defying the order. French president Francois Hollande agrees that UberPOP "should be dismantled," but says the state isn't legally permitted to seize cars itself without court authorization. "UberPOP is a car-sharing service offered by Uber, which brings together customers and private drivers at prices lower than those charged by both traditional taxi firms and even other Uber services. UberPOP differs because it allows non-professional drivers to register their car and transport other passengers. It has been illegal in France since January, but the law has proved difficult to enforce and the service continues to operate, AFP news agency reports."
Transportation

University Students Made a Working Model Hyperloop 149 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the hyperloop-me-that-pencil,-would-you dept.
derekmead writes: Elon Musk's Hyperloop gets people excited. Promise the ability to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than an hour, and you're going to get people salivating. But for as much as we've heard about it, we've had scarcely little to see—until a team of students at the University of Illinois decided to build their very own miniature hyperloop.

Mechanical engineering students at the university built a functioning 1:24 scale model of the Hyperloop, a "fourth mode of transportation" that sends pods through a partially pressurized tube at very high speeds, as part of a senior design project. It was designed to test some of the key components of Musk's design, which was outlined in a much-read, open source whitepaper (PDF) published in August of 2013. That said, there are several key differences, which keep this from truly being a proof-of-concept as to whether or not the Hyperloop will ultimately work.
Security

My United Airlines Website Hack Gets Snubbed 185 185

Posted by timothy
from the no-seat-back-recline-for-you! dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: United Airlines announced that they will offer up to 1 million air miles to users who can find security holes in their website. I demonstrated a way to brute-force a user's 4-digit PIN number and submitted it to them for review, emailing their Bugs Bounty contact address on three occasions, but I never heard back from them. Read on for the rest. If you've had a different experience with the program, please chime in below.
Transportation

How Etak Built a Car Navigation System In 1985 29 29

Posted by timothy
from the this-way-to-the-time-machine dept.
harrymcc writes: Thirty years ago, a startup called Etak released the Navigator, an in-car navigation system. It provided turn-by-turn driving directions despite the fact that GPS did not exist, and stored its maps--which Etak had to create itself--on cassette tapes. And some of its data and technologies are still in use in today's navigation apps. Over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards tells this amazing story. I remember reading about (and lusting over) this system back then, in the much-missed DAK catalog.
Transportation

Anti-Uber Taxi Protest Blocks Access To Airports In France 333 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the meters-are-running dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Taxi drivers in France have been complaining that a recently passed law against unlicensed commercial drivers is being flouted by Uber, and going relatively unenforced by authorities. They claim to have lost 30% of their income to Uber over the past two years, and they've become fed-up with the situation. The taxi drivers have now started an indefinite, nation-wide strike in protest. Part of that strike involves blocking access to Paris's Roissy airport as well as the main road encircling the city. Protesters have also blocked access to train stations in Merseille and Aix. "The drivers — who have to pay thousands of euros for a license — say they are being unfairly undercut by Uber, which is not licensed by the authorities. Prosecutors have cracked down on Uber, filing almost 500 legal cases involving complaints about UberPOP. About 100 attacks on Uber drivers and passengers have been reported in recent weeks."
Transportation

Lexus Creates a Hoverboard 102 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the marty-mcfly-approved dept.
walterbyrd writes: Lexus has built a functional prototype of a hoverboard that hovers several centimeters off the ground. The "Slide" is for demonstration purposes only and works through magnetic levitation created by superconductors, a spokesperson says. USA Today reports: "As cool as that sounds, there are some major limitations. Since it operates magnetically, it only can hover over a steel surface. And it also only works as long as the liquid nitrogen holds out."
Transportation

3D Printed Supercar Chassis Unveiled 131 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-and-drive dept.
ErnieKey writes: Divergent Microfactories is unveiling a revolutionary approach to car manufacturing, as evidenced by their supercar, the Blade. Using 3D printed aluminum 'nodes' in strategic manufacturing, they've created an automobile that weighs in at just 1,400 pounds, and can go from 0-60 MPH in only 2.2 seconds. DM will be producing 10,000 cars per year and also making technology available to any other companies interested. Note: Look out in the near future for video interviews with Divergent founder Kevin Czinger and Blade project lead Brad Balzer.
Transportation

Car Hacking is 'Distressingly Easy' 165 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-mr-bond-i-expect-you-to-die dept.
Bruce66423 points out a piece from the Economist trying to rally support for pressuring legislators and auto manufacturers to step up security efforts on modern, computer-controlled cars. They say, Taking control remotely of modern cars, for instance, has become distressingly easy for hackers, given the proliferation of wireless-connected processors now used to run everything from keyless entry and engine ignition to brakes, steering, tyre pressure, throttle setting, transmission and anti-collision systems. Today's vehicles have anything from 20 to 100 electronic control units (ECUs) managing their various electro-mechanical systems. ... The problem confronting carmakers everywhere is that, as they add ever more ECUs to their vehicles, to provide more features and convenience for motorists, they unwittingly expand the "attack surface" of their on-board systems. In security terms, this attack surface—the exposure a system presents in terms of its reachable and exploitable vulnerabilities—determines the ease, or otherwise, with which hackers can take control of a system. ... There is no such thing as absolute security. [E]ven firms like Microsoft and Google have been unable to make a web browser that cannot go a few months without needing some critical security patch. Cars are no different.
Transportation

"Vision Zero" Aims To Eliminate Traffic Fatalities In San Diego 203 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the be-safe dept.
An anonymous reader writes: San Diego city officials Monday expressed support for a plan called "Vision Zero" to make San Diego's roadways safer for pedestrians and bicyclists over the next 10 years. Vision Zero aims to eliminate traffic deaths in the city by 2025 by improving crosswalks, raising medians, creating buffers between vehicle and bicycle lanes, and improving sidewalks. NBC 7 in San Diego reports: "Allison Street next to La Mesa City Hall provides a blueprint of sorts. Diagonal parking lines reduce the size of the street. Jim Stone, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego, says studies show smaller streets help slow traffic. Then there's the crosswalk with lights on the ground and signs that alert drivers when someone crosses. The curb extension also provides better visibility. 'They can see cars coming but more importantly the cars can see them coming,' Stone said about the curb extensions. 'So it's a great way to improve pedestrian safety.'"
Transportation

Allstate Patents Physiological Data Collection 142 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-measured-hands dept.
TigerPlish writes: Allstate has been granted patent no. US 20140080100 A1 for a "driving-behavior database that it said might be useful for health insurers, lenders, credit-rating agencies, marketers and potential employers." The program is just in the patent stage for now, but the company says: "the invention has the potential to evaluate drivers' physiological data, including heart rate, blood pressure and electrocardiogram signals, which could be recorded from steering wheel sensors." Imagine a world where you are denied employment or credit based on the information obtained from your car and sold by your insurer. What could possibly go wrong?
Transportation

(Your Job) Is a Video Game 36 36

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-get-not-extra-lives dept.
arctother writes: UberDRIVE—Uber's simulation/video game/recruiting tool—is, at best, just a poor copy of a much more interesting video game – driving for Uber. The main innovation of Uber, and other smartphone-enabled "e-hailing" car services, is the insertion of a new interface into the human-to-human, on-the-street interactions between drivers and passengers. Uber attempts to transform the cab-driving and -riding experience through the deployment of an allegorithm: the productive joining of a framing narrative (or "allegory") and software-mediated control (or "algorithm"). Understanding how allegorithms shape experience will become more and more important as they are increasingly deployed with mobile interfaces to reshape and "augment" social interactions. "Ingress," you are already thinking; but you should really think of "Uber."
Transportation

Privately Owned Armored Trucks Raise Eyebrows After Dallas Attack 609 609

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-must-have-toy dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Manny Fernandez writes in the NY Times that the scores of military and police-style vans, trucks and cars offered for sale on Craigslist and eBay have raised concerns for some law enforcement officials, particularly after the Dallas attack on a police headquarters. Officials say the vehicles appear to be legal for the most part, so there is little they can do. Jeff Funicello, for example, is selling his black 1975 GMC armored truck on Craigslist. The body is armored, and the windows are bulletproof. It has sliding portholes to point rifles from and a sprinkler system inside. Long ago, it transported money, and it was once the target of a shootout in the 1980s. Of course, people have been driving reinforced cars long before the Dallas attack on a police headquarters. But the celebrities and executives who install bulletproof windows and other types of armor on their vehicles often do not want it noticed. Celebrity clients generally demand that the exteriors of their luxury armored vehicles look normal so they blend in. However those who buy and sell armored vans want people to look. And the popularity of apocalyptic movies and television shows has put a new twist and added a macabre cachet to such vehicles "This is America," says Funicello. "I should be able to have a howitzer or a bazooka if I want one. If I wanted to buy a fire truck, I could."
Transportation

US Airlines Say Smaller Carry-Ons Are Not In the Cards 273 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
New submitter callgen writes: Airlines for America, a trade group for U.S. carriers, has rejected proposed international standards for carry-on bags. Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an initiative to "optimize" airlines' accommodation of carry-on bags by suggesting a new standard luggage size. It suggested a standard of 55cm x 35cm x 19cm, 58% of the size that Southwest allows. Most standard carry-ons are larger than IATA's recommendations, meaning travelers would have to purchase new luggage if the smaller size was adopted.