The autonomous road

Let’s begin with today and see how full autonomy in vehicles might progress.  Today there are some auto-driving cars, but we know they are still just safety features that help you avoid collision more than anything else.  Soon, however, these features will be able to take full control of the car and you can sit back and be just a passenger.   Once this point is reached there will be rapid changes in where and how driving is done.

Freeways will be split – not like HOV lanes are today, no.  Imagine all the Northbound lanes closed to all cars where a driver is in control.  The southbound lanes will be split down the middle and drivers will be using this as their new north-south lanes.  Those northbound lanes will be only for fully autonomous cars.

But there won’t be any lanes.  Traffic will run swiftly in both directions on any side of the road that works for the flow of traffic.  You may be heading South at a full clip when the car needs to move over to the left (into oncoming traffic) and the cars will make a path – the car will float over to the left and exit as needed.  A bit like the video here but the water is northbound and the car is the swing.

https://youtu.be/p1uwQVtHHOQ

Traffic signs will no longer be needed and perhaps digital markers will replace them.  Easier for the car to know what’s up ahead if there are sudden changes beyond its ability.

Once the freeway is 100% autonomous then all old lanes in both directions will be used (again in any direction) and the median will be removed.  There probably won’t be any lines painted (waste of paint by now).

Autonomy also brings a freedom from congestion.  Your car could pick you up – drop your kids off at school, drop you off at work, go backhome and be available for your spouse all day until it needs to grab you or the kids or both.  Schedule conflict? Uber-like services or your friend’s car will fill in the gap.  With cars always doing work or being there for the person that needs it – you have fewer cars, less need for parking in a city.  If these cars are gas or electric they can go fill themselves up without wasting your time or more importantly encouraging the (now mythical) range anxiety.

Sure there’s trucks and buses and other large vehicles that will need to be developed too.

Old cars will still have a life – where you can use it on country roads and enjoy the top down or whatever.  Not forever, but don’t worry most of us will outlive our nonautonomous car and the nostalgia we have for them.

This is not tomorrow – this is the final destination. Well until these things can fly of course.

Enjoy the future.

— Range anxiety:  I don’t have it.  When all-electric cars have a 200+ mile range and (a big and) people charge their car @ home when they sleep, the anxiety effect will be gone.  Even better the fully autonomous car will always know its limits and will be sure to charge when necessary and keep that in mind for longer trips.  Also lastly; battery swap we know is possible and fully automatic and autonomous battery swap is clearly within reach.

Stop with all the unnecessary lights!

Constellations Everything is turned off but… My fridge glows, my Stove glows, my TV glows, my hard drive glows, my bathroom outlet glows.  Everything glows.  This bombardment of light, from all the different things in my house, I’ve started to call it a constellation – my personal constellation.  It is light pollution people!  These products suck.  When they are OFF they should be invisible and silent in every way.  Sony thank you but a red led light on my TV or PS3 does nothing for me when your devices are supposed to be OFF.  The only godsend I’ve encountered is Tivo’s ability to select how annoying or not you want the LEDs to be (and very much OFF is an option).  All off THANK YOU!  The basic hard drive green flashing light is ill-conceived when you can’t turn it OFF!  Who cares if the hard drive on a computer is doing stuff.  Really.  YOU don’t.

Yes I have a significant investment in BLACK tape to cover these things up.  I question this however from the simple perspective of perfection.  WWSJD!  What Would Steve Jobs Do!

Do you GET IT NOW!  We are subjected to these ever-increasing constellations of light and they are all 100% unnecessary in our lives.  Unless I install a night light in a room – when the lights are off and the Sun is down – it should be DARK.

Do something like post this on FaceBook and ask all your friends to re-post it.  Personal constellations are not the where we need to be headed.

ConstallationsMr. McYork.

Engineering Roundtable – Audio Spectrum Analysis and Fire!

In today’s edition of “Engineering Roundtable,” SparkFun Engineer Chris Taylor guides you through the use of a microcontroller to perform audio spectrum analysis. He explains the basics of working with the audio spectrum and ultimately links up his project with a propane torch. Why? Well…why not? Check it out:

You can find the Vimeo version here

Feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer them! Thanks for watching and we’ll see you again soon with another edition of “Engineering Roundtable!”

via [SparkFun Electronics – Recent News Posts](http://www.sparkfun.com/news/1051)

Now learn that fun math

Not much to say here.  Just DO IT! http://www.khanacademy.org/ is a wonderful site. If you have a passion for learning or re-learning you will want to bookmark the site. I reconfirmed my ability to add and subtract 🙂 I am going to do every math lesson until I top out (maybe at division).

Free learning – if you have kids – create accounts now. This will help every kid and you’ll be sorry if you don’t also sign up like I have and sharpen your skills.

http://www.khanacademy.org/

Math is fun, yes indeed.

I love to listen to these guys chat, Leo and Steve.  Recently I needed to get a friend up to speed on a secure key exchange. Not the simplest topic on the roster.  Just how do we share a secret over the Internet?  While we know others are watching and intercepting our communications.  We do it with math.  Math, when used like this, forces you to want to learn even more math.  Really, math is fun and you will be smart if you learn math.

The first 15 minutes of this podcast prove to me that the more math you can take in the better off you will be in life.

http://media.grc.com/sn/SN-034.mp3 100% relevant regardless of when it was recorded.

Who did not see thing one comming? Verified by…

Visa and others.  The first time the page came up “verified by Visa” you said “cool this is a very good thing Visa is making the web safer”.  If you thought that you can now go to the back of the class.  You should have been thinking what sort of phishing scam is this?  Where is the URL bar for this popup and why would I sign up for this service from this little dialog on some site?  Does Visa even have a website?  Does my bank know about this?

Now for those of you at the back of the class, the zbot botnet has been augmented to shoot phish in a barrel.  You are the phish, unfortunately.  Thank you, Visa for the swimming lessons (NOT).

Click to read more news on the zbot botnet and how it is mimicking the Verified by screens.

http://www.sans.org/newsletters/newsbites/newsbites.php?vol=12&issue=56#sID301

One reason some will like the new iPad

I am a big fan of Cisco coming down to earth where we can all interact with the technology they produce.  One very powerful tool they have bought and extended is WebEx.  There are not too many in the remote desktop space with the breadth of WebEx.

I see that one of the new iPad applications is a WebEx client.  That’s a perfect personal format to watch a presentation.  On the iPhone the technology was only cool – as the screen was honestly too small.

iPad will rock this application.

McYork is inspired every time we come across one of these “fit to form” applications.

Questions your new phone should be smart enough to to answer

These are practical questions, right?

  • Where was I @ 3:00 PM yesterday?
    • And on Tuesday?
    • How far apart are those?

My calendar is not the source of this information, augmenting it perhaps but the answer really should be an historical GPS location log converted to an address – looked up in contacts and calendar for additional context at the minimum.  Additional follow on questions should be default behaviour, does your phone follow along with the context and answers of your prior questions. That’d be nice.

  • How many miles did I drive last week?
    • And the week before?

C’mon you know when I am in a car (accelerometer data), you gotta!  Was I the driver – perhaps a difficult question to answer.

  • Did I take the Bus in February?
    • What Bus?

Right.  Maybe I take the bus infrequently and only once I recall in February. It went 6 stops and only 2 busses take that route.  I had googled bus routes and found the #314.  Perhaps the #314 was the bus I took as it is one of the 2 busses that have those stops.

  • When I last rode my bike how far did I go?
    • How many stops did I make?
    • Did I stop for lunch?