Leading the News
Second Accident Occurs Involving Tesla In Autopilot Mode.
The Detroit Free Press (7/5, Gardner) reports Michigan art gallery owner Albert Scaglione and his son-in-law, Tim Yanke, survived a Friday accident in which their 2016 Tesla Model X crashed into a guard rail and concrete median and rolled over while in Autopilot mode. The incident occurred just two days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it launched an investigation into a May collision involving a Model S in Autopilot that killed the passenger.
The Huffington Post (7/5, Mclaughlin) reports Tesla credited the May collision to “extremely rare circumstances” where neither the vehicle sensors nor the passenger applied breaks.
NACTO Guidelines On Self-Driving Vehicles Analyzed. Vox (7/5, Roberts) “Technology” reporter David Roberts writes that in light of human “untenable” driving behavior, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released last week a list of nine research and policy principles on the issue. Roberts says that human unpredictability will likely remain the biggest problem facing autonomous vehicle development and mass implementation, but agreed with the organization’s call to city planners to redevelop their cities and “incentivize shared, automated, electric vehicles.”
Studies Suggest Drivers Want To Retain Some Control In Autonomous Cars. TechCrunch (7/5, Hall-Geisler) reports Volvo released the results of its 50,000-respondent “Future of Driving Consumer Survey,” through which it suggested 72 percent of drivers want to “preserve the art of driving” despite the rapidly-advancing development of autonomous driving technology. Additionally, an AlixPartners survey of 1,517 people in June revealed that almost three-fourths of participants said they wanted driverless vehicles to take on all driving responsibilities, while 90 percent said they would let autonomous cars perform daily commutes if a human driver could still operate it sometimes.
Survey: California, New York Drivers Most Receptive To Autonomous-Driving Vehicles. ReadWrite (7/5) reports Volvo conducted a survey in the US through which it found that New York and California residents are the most receptive to autonomous vehicles. The survey suggested that Texas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois residents are the least receptive to self-driving cars
Mobileye Predicts Increase In Demand For ADAS Units In China. Bloomberg News (7/5, News) reports that in 2015, Mobileye NV sold about 10,000 advanced driver assistance systems units in China and expects the demand for such products to increase about a hundred times in three years, according to China’s company head Su Shuping. Proponents of the technology claimed that ADAS units may reduce human error and vehicular accidents, particularly because annual passenger car sales have within the last six years doubled.
Professors: Survey Indicates Students Want Greater Campus Diversity.
In a piece for the Washington Post (7/5) “Monkey Cage” blog, Dartmouth College professors John M. Carey and Yusaku Horiuchi write on the recent increase in the debate over diversity on college campuses, noting that despite organized protests, media reports “suggest that campuses are deeply divided” over the issue. The writers describe a complex survey they constructed to determine what students “really think about whether universities should make diversity a priority when recruiting students and faculty.” Their results indicate that “Dartmouth students agree that they want a diverse student body.”
More California Students Taking Part In Dual Enrollment Programs.
EdSource (7/4) reports on the “rising number of California high school students in dual enrollment programs, which allow students to take community college courses while still enrolled in high school.” The piece reports that the state has been promoting such programs in recent years “because of research that shows these students are more likely to earn both a high school diploma and a college degree.”
Democratic Platform Promotes College Affordability.
MarketWatch (7/5) reports that in the Democratic Party’s July 1 platform draft, the party indicated that “Americans who want a college education should be able to get one without cost standing in the way,” though the document stopped short of saying that college should be free. The draft “calls for making two years of community college free,” but “doesn’t go as far as saying that students should be able to attend a four-year college debt or tuition-free.”
Moody’s Downgrades Illinois University System.
The Washington Post (7/5, Douglas-Gabriel) reports that Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the University of Illinois system’s credit rating, “signaling that a stopgap spending bill to keep the schools afloat through the summer has done nothing to reverse the damage” from a state funding standoff. The impasse has resulted in layoffs and “threatened to shutter at least one school.”
Research and Development
Missouri Researchers Creating Bomb-Sniffing Locust Cyborgs.
Engadget (7/4) reports that Baranidharan Raman of Washington University in St. Louis has received a $750,000 Office for Naval Research grant to equip locusts “with several pieces of technology,” turning them “into cyborgs that can be sent anywhere to sniff out explosives.” Raman and his engineering team “found that locusts can identify particular scents, such as those they’re trained to detect, even in the presence of other odors.” KWMU-FM St. Louis (7/5) also covers this story.
New York Researchers Working On Full-Duplex Half-Duplex Network Hybrid.
Rethink Wireless (7/4) reports researchers at New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Trinity College, Dublin are “proposing a hybrid scheme” to overcome limitations of “full duplex technology – which allows radios to transmit and receive on the same frequency at the same time.” The technology is important for improving “spectral efficiency in emerging wireless networks,” but has “limited coverage” as compared with half-duplex technology.
New Boeing Lab Site To Be Latest In Oklahoma’s Growing Aviation Industry.
The Aviation International News (7/5, Epstein) reports that Boeing will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 15 at its Oklahoma City “engineering, research and development laboratory building,” which will be the new headquarters for the company’s “Global Services & Support Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment (AM&S) division.” Aviation International notes that Oklahoma has attracted other aerospace and defense companies in recent years, including Mitsubishi, Asco Industries, Rolls-Royce Engines, Lufthansa Technik, and Ferra Engineering, as well as “Northrop-Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Nordam and Spirit Aerosystems.” In addition, UAS “and components manufacturing are also well represented” in the state, which has seen the value of industry output increase “from $12 billion (€10.7 billion) in 2012 to $27 billion (€24.1 billion) in 2014.”
IARPA To Offer 3-D Satellite Mapping Solution Challenge.
The Federal Times (7/5, Boyd) reports that the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity “wants to be able to create reliable 3-D maps using satellite imagery and is issuing a challenge to the nation’s coders to develop a software package to do just that.” The Times explains that “the two-phase Multi-View Stereo 3-D Mapping Challenge will kick off July 11 with the ultimate goal of creating a 3-D mapping system, as well as a community citizen scientists interested in working on future crowdsourcing challenges.” The Times says there will be $14,000 in prizes during the initial Explorer phase and that “the full challenge has a prize pool of $100,000.”
ExecutiveGov (7/5, Edwards) also reports.
Moniz Promotes Research Collaboration.
The Albuquerque (NM) Journal (7/5, Robinson-Avila) reports, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz kicked off the day-long Southwest Regional Energy Forum on Tuesday at the University of New Mexico as part of a national Department of Energy effort “to promote collaboration around the country.” Moniz told participants, “President Obama’s administration…is looking to double down on energy innovation” and commercialization, adding that “LANL is a leading institution for fuel cell development” while, “Sandia is developing thin-film ceramic components for high-temperature electronics with greater functionality and resilience.” The Journal reports, the Obama Administration has proposed a 21 percent increase to $6.4 billion for research and development of clean energy technologies in FY 2017. The AP (7/5, Press) reports that Moniz and the others “discussed the importance of innovation for the research and development of energy technologies to ensure the nation is competitive in the global marketplace.”
Research Team Employs Electric Fields In Cancer Therapy Form.
Engadget (7/5) reports a Singapore-based MIT research center has developed a coin-sized device that employs electric fields to stop the spread of malignant cells, a creation that could introduce a new form of cancer therapy for personalized medicine particularly. Team member Andrea Pavesi explained that by tweaking the device’s intensity and frequency, the resulting effect may impact only “the cancer cells, leaving the other type of cells unaltered, without destroying them.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Ignatius Praises Navy For Switch To Alternative Fuels.
David Ignatius writes in his column in the Washington Post (7/5) in praise of the US Navy for being “an unlikely champion of saving energy and switching to alternative fuels.” He credits Navy Secretary Mabus for acting out of concern for the vulnerability of the US fleet “to foreign energy sources.” He set a target of 50% alternative fuel by 2020, and that target has already been exceeded “in its contracts for fuel ashore,” and “expects to meet the overall goal well before 2020.”
Environmentally-Friendly Oil Sands Extraction Method Could Transform Industry.
Oil Price (7/5, Burgess) reports on the alternative to current oil sands extraction methods developed by Canadian company MCW Energy. The water-free, solvent-based approach “can recover up to 99% of the hydrocarbon content of the oil sands,” and also “recycles the solvents it uses, leaving practically no waste.” The “environmentally friendly” extraction method is also cheap because the solvents used are also hydrocarbons and “the cost of the process depends on the prices of crude and oil products.” MCW was “smart to keep quiet about its research until it confirmed its economic viability.” MCW awarded its first license to Canadian TS Energy, “which will have the rights to use the technology in Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.” The next few weeks “will see further partnerships, solidifying MCW’s status as a pioneer in eco-friendly crude oil extraction.” The article concludes that the main obstacle the company faces is the “public distrust of oil sands exploitation.”
EPA’s McCabe To Defend EPA Rulemaking Before House Subcommittee.
The Hill (7/5, Henry) reports Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation acting assistant administrator Janet McCabe on Wednesday “will defend the agency at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on EPA rulemaking.” State officials are also expected to testify.
Utility-scale Solar Seen Cheaper Than Rooftop Solar.
Christian Science Monitor (7/5, Groom) reports utility-scale solar is “taking off even in states without policies promoting green power,” but rooftop solar is growing in state with favorable net-metering policies. The story emphasizes the differences between the cost per unit of energy from rooftop solar versus utility solar projects which favor centralized solar farms.
Wind Industry Aims To Continue Policy Support.
USA Today (7/5, Loveless) reports on the launch of American Wind Action, “a group that will promote the benefits of wind energy to the public as voters consider whom to elect for the White House, Congress, state legislatures.” Sam Enfield and Jeff Clark, members of AWA’s board of directors, said in a recent statement, “We will be working to identify and activate supporters of wind energy to encourage action from their elected officials, and we will educate the public about the actions and positions those officials take on wind energy.”
South Carolina Teachers Take Part In Robotics Workshop.
The Orangeburg (SC) Times And Democrat (7/5) reports that South Carolina’s Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College recently hosted a VEX Robotics Professional Development Workshop at which “teams of elementary, middle and high school teachers connected metal parts, programmed controllers and tinkered with wires, wheels, sensors and gears.” Teacher learned “about incorporating robotics into their curriculum” and “built robots to perform a variety of tasks, from grabbing soda cans and transporting them to a receptacle to picking up a ball and shooting it over a wall.”
Duval Schools Turn To Legos To Expand Interests In STEM.
The Florida Times-Union (7/5) reports Duval’s School Board is debating a proposed $187,700 expansion of a program “to set up Lego robotics teams” in schools as a way to teach students about math, computer coding, engineering, problem-solving and teamwork. The expansion would raise the number of schools with such clubs to 50 from 36 and be an “unprecedented” investment among large, urban schools. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti discussed the possibility of participating in a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League, which pits teams against each other in Lego robot building competitions.
Company’s STEM Summer Camp Prepares High Schoolers For Future.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (7/5, Garza) reports on Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s High School Summer Technology Mini-Camp that offers area high school students “interested in computer science a chance to work on projects that will help them apply the skills to real-life situations.” The article highlights the opportunities in “computer science and business skills” the program offers students, while Jessica Zolp, director of workforce staffing solutions “said the young people can provide fresh, new ideas for solutions for the company.”
Illinois Company Host STEM Career Awareness Day.
The Skokie (IL) Review (7/5, Isaacs) highlights health care company Fresenius Kabi Global’s first annual STEM Career Awareness Day at the Illinois Science + Technology Park, an event that gave students an opportunity to get “a day-long taste of the kind of STEM…jobs that could be part of their futures.” The article states the company believes “there needs to be more people doing the kind of work its engineers, scientists and specialists perform,” which prompted Kabi Global to host the event to help students “learn about new career paths.”
Tuesday’s Lead Stories
• NHTSA Investigating First Crash Of Tesla’s Model S While in Autopilot Mode.
• Los Angeles Mayor Calls For Colleges To Stop Asking Applicants About Criminal Histories.
• UT Austin Team Working On Very Precise GPS For Autonomous Cars.
• Auto Industry Courting Female Workers.
• LG Implements Restructuring Plan For Mobile Division.
• New Jersey Gov. Christie Suspends State-Funded Infrastructure Projects.
• Study Points To Gender Inequities In CTE.