safety

UK authorities seize over 15,000 unsafe, knock-off hoverboards

UK authorities seize over 15,000 unsafe, knock-off hoverboards

The UK is currently in the midst of a boom in popularity of the self-balancing scooter-type of "hoverboards," and with the holidays here, that means cheaper variants appealing to shoppers. However, the nation's authorities are warning consumers to stay away from cheap, knock-offs, as an alarming number of the hoverboards are being seized because they don't meet safety standards. The National Trading Standards says that out of 17,000 hoverboards imported in recent weeks, 15,000 have failed inspections.

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Google self-driving cars aim to talk to pedestrians, patent reveals

Google self-driving cars aim to talk to pedestrians, patent reveals

There have already been a number of examples of Google's self-driving cars being overly cautious in the name of safety, such as confrontations with a cyclist at an intersection, or just driving so slowly that they get pulled over. However, there are times when a vehicle needs to be a bit aggressive in order for other drivers to accommodate and make room. A four-way stop could be one example. Fortunately, Google has received a patent that would allow the vehicles to communicate their intentions to others.

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Toyota to recall 1.6 million cars with Takata inflators

Toyota to recall 1.6 million cars with Takata inflators

Toyota will recall 1.6 million vehicles located in Japan to replace potentially faulty inflators from Takata Corp. These inflators had previously been recalled and determined to be safe; the reason for Toyota’s change of mind isn’t clear, but is perhaps a wise move given the potentially fatal results when the airbags are faulty. Toyota isn’t the first automaker to backtrack on a recall decision; earlier this month, Nissan also re-issued recalls in Japan over Takata inflators.

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Ford’s ‘Drugged Driving Suit’ encourages sober youth driving

Ford’s ‘Drugged Driving Suit’ encourages sober youth driving

Driving while intoxicated is reckless and, unfortunately, too common, especially among young drivers. Various organizations and auto makers have come up with ways to tackle the problem, the latest of which is Ford. The company recently unveiled its 'Drugged Driving Suit,' a suit of sorts that simulates what it is like to drive while under the influence of various illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

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Rules requiring ‘quiet cars’ to have audio alerts delayed (again)

Rules requiring ‘quiet cars’ to have audio alerts delayed (again)

In January 2013, the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a minimum sound requirement for electric and hybrid vehicles, a move to protect pedestrians who may fail to notice a silent car driving past. “This proposal,” the agency had said, “will help keep everyone using our nation’s street and roadways safe.” The plan to implement such sounds has been ongoing since despite auto maker objections, but it recently hit a snag that has stalled the finalization until early next year.

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DJI’s GEO to add live no-fly zones to drones

DJI’s GEO to add live no-fly zones to drones

Your DJI drone might automatically decide you're in a no-fly zone with a new update, intended to curtail incursions into unfriendly airspace. GEO, or Geospatial Environment Online, will see the DJI Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 drone apps updated with real-time flight restriction data, effectively preventing only authorized users from getting too close to prisons, power stations, and other facilities.

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Self-driving cars may need to be bad drivers to succeed

Self-driving cars may need to be bad drivers to succeed

A self-driving car getting pulled over by traffic police sounds like the subject of an xkcd comic, but Google's autonomous run-in with the law shows the robots have a lot to learn. Getting stopped for driving too slowly amid other traffic might only be the tip of the iceberg, in fact, and it's entirely possible that autonomous vehicles will need to learn to be worse on the road in order to fit in.

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Drone crashes into Seattle’s giant ferris wheel

Drone crashes into Seattle’s giant ferris wheel

If you’ve visited Seattle, you’re likely familiar with the giant ferris wheel situated on its waterfront. The wheel is beautiful to look at, and is a prime tourist attraction, giving visitors a sky-high look at one of the finer sides of the city. Fortunately, none of those tourists (or others) were injured when a drone crashed into the ferris wheel yesterday evening, the latest in a growing number of incidents involving drones used in improper places.

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Tesla to limit Autopilot activation to stop crazy stunts

Tesla to limit Autopilot activation to stop crazy stunts

Autopilot features are being implemented not just for the sake of hi-tech fanciness but for safety reasons. In theory, taking humans and their error-prone judgment out of the equation would lead to safer roads and less accidents. As if proving how poor humans are at applying common sense, some videos have surfaced on the Internet using the Tesla Model S' new Autopilot features in ways it wasn't intended to handle just yet. As a consequence, CEO Elon Musk announced that they will be putting some restrictions to the feature soon.

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Testing Honda’s tech for its 2020 self-driving car

Testing Honda’s tech for its 2020 self-driving car

The ultimate goal, Honda says, is a car you have the choice to drive, or to be driven in. That's the end game in the Japanese firm's ambitious autonomous vehicle plan, which by 2020 includes a milestone of a car "that can drive you to your chosen destination" according to the engineers working on the project. Several things have to come together for that to happen, mind, and I tried some of them out during my visit to Honda's R&D center in Japan this week.

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Mitsubishi concept projects turn signal indicators onto the road

Mitsubishi concept projects turn signal indicators onto the road

Mitsubishi Electric has unveiled a new kind of turning indicator concept for cars that aims to make signals much clearer for pedestrians and cyclists nearby, rather than just the other vehicles in front or behind. The system projects LED lighting onto the ground around the car, indicating its path and direction, making it safer and more obvious for anyone nearby.

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Give your bike a real headlight & turn signals with these LEDs

Give your bike a real headlight & turn signals with these LEDs

Products that attach LED lights to bicycle wheels for improved visibility are nothing new, but the latest version from Revolights drastically improves on previous designs, not only with turn signals and better battery usage, but integration with a mobile app. Revolights has just launched an Indiegogo campaign for their newest set, called Eclipse and Eclipse+, which still work by creating two arcs of light as the LEDs pass through specific positions during wheel rotations.

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