AutoX is deploying a fleet of 25 unmanned vehicles in downtown Shenzhen, marking the first time any autonomous driving car in China tests on public roads without safety drivers or remote operators. AutoX equips its vehicles with its proprietary vehicle control unit called XCU, which it claims has faster processing speed and more computational capability to handle the complex road scenarios in China’s cities. The decision to remove drivers from the front and operators from a remote center appears a bold move in one of China’s most populated cities. The company stressed the experience it learned from “millions of miles” driven in China’s densest city centers.
Google has announced that its latest Street View beta comes with a tool called connected photos. While Google has allowed the public to capture Street View images for years, it has always required a 360-degree camera. Opening it up to anyone will help Google to publish remote images that aren’t on Maps, or get updates in areas that change rapidly. You simply record a series of photos as you move down a street or path using ARCore, the same tech used by Google for Live View AR experiences. From there, Google’s app does the rest. Connected photos will appear on the map as dotted blue lines which you can find by dragging around the Pegman.
A new class of molecular materials has been discovered that can be used to make temporary adhesives that don’t require force for removal. The research focuses on molecular solids, a class of adhesive materials that exist as crystals. The molecules are sublimable, meaning that they shift directly from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase. The ability to bypass the liquid phase is the key to the new type of temporary adhesives. The adhesive sticks as a solid but turns to a vapor and releases once it is heated in a vacuum environment. These non-permanent glues could lead to new manufacturing techniques and pharmaceutical design.
In a new study neuroscientists show that observing peers making sound decisions may help young people play it safe. Some of the research findings weren’t a surprise. For example, the teens who had tried illicit substances were overall more likely to pick the riskier option, and their choices didn’t waver much when they saw what their peers picked. Yet teens who had never tried illicit substances were more likely to follow their safe peers’ choices. “Our results suggest that information from safer peers is processed in the brain like a reward. The reward signal might guide teens toward making the same choices as their safer social peers.”
T&T Inc’s Warner Bros studio announced that it will make all of its 2021 films available in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service starting on the same day, an unprecedented shift in response to the coronavirus pandemic that sank shares of movie theater operators. Studios have been pushing to make their movies available in living rooms sooner than the typical timeline of roughly 90 days after they debut in cinemas. Warner Bros executives said the strategy would be in place for one year and was a response to the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many theaters to remain closed.
Carmakers have sold more than 500,000 battery electric cars in Europe during 2020, a milestone in the automotive industry’s move away from fossil fuels. Sales of all plug-in cars, including hybrids, have surpassed 1m during the year in the UK and the largest 17 European markets. During the whole of last year only 354,000 battery electric sales were recorded across the region. Petrol and diesel engines are expected to be more profitable than battery cars until about 2024. However, carmakers are keen to sell more battery electric cars because they face steep fines if they do not lower the average carbon dioxide emissions of the cars they sell.
Melbourne Museum will become permanent home to the world’s most complete triceratops skeleton, with the “immense and unprecedented” $3m acquisition of a 67m-year-old dinosaur fossil. The skeleton is at least 87% complete, measures up to seven metres long from tip to tail, stands at more than 2m tall, and literally weighs a tonne. Its 261kg skull is also 99% intact. “T-rex now is almost a dime a dozen – a garden-variety dinosaur. It’s basic, a vanilla dinosaur … But there’s really just a handful, maybe four or five substantially complete triceratops skeletons on the entire planet.”
The U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from a category of the world’s most dangerous drugs. The agency voted to follow the World Health Organization’s recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The schedules weigh a drug’s medical utility versus the possible harm that it might cause. Experts say that taking cannabis off the strictest schedule could lead to the loosening of international controls on medical marijuana.