Tag Archives: transportation

CN develops technology that could make bitumen transportation safer – The Globe and Mail

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:06 am

Shipping oil by rail has earned a spotty reputation in recent years after a series of train derailments across North America resulted in high-profile explosions and environmentally damaging spills. Canadian National Railway Co. is hoping something the size of a bar of soap can help clean up some of those problems.

Canadas largest railway filed a patent for a new technology on Friday that turns bitumen the heavy crude produced at the oil sands into a mostly solid dry good, by mixing and wrapping it with polymer. In the event of an accident, the packets would not explode, leak, or sink in water, the railway believes.

The invention still has to go through more testing, but the concept could emerge as a niche alternative to current methods of shipping bitumen, which require diluent, a petroleum additive that allows the thick sludge to be pumped into pipelines or rail cars, but also increases the flammability of the product.

Its still early days, so theres a lot of work still to do. First and foremost, we want to perfect the pellet in terms of its shape, its size and the exact composition of polymer that we use in it, said Janet Drysdale, vice-president of corporate development at CN. The pellets, currently in round form, will eventually be produced as flat squares or rectangles, so that they are stackable as a dry good.

We want to do the studies that will prove that it will float in fresh water, salt water, how it behaves in cold and in heat. All of that will be validated with additional lab work.

The polymer-infused crude, which resembles thick jelly if the soap-sized tablets are cut open, is designed to be much less flammable. Its pretty thick stuff, said Ross Chow, vice-president of InnoTech Alberta, a provincially funded organization that worked with CN on the patent.

Success of the invention will depend on whether oil-sands producers and refiners are willing to adopt the technology at a cost that is roughly equivalent to shipping bitumen with diluent now, CN says.

The tablets wouldnt prevent accidents like the 2013 Lac-Mgantic rail disaster, which killed 47 people when an oil train exploded in the Quebec town, since that accident involved highly volatile light oil that resembled gasoline. The technology hasnt been developed for lighter forms of oil, but it could make shipping bitumen and other heavy oil products safer, CN believes.

Nor is the invention seen as a replacement for pipelines, which are the dominant arteries for shipping large quantities of crude. But the technology could give oil-sands producers who lack pipeline access a new way to reach refineries in North America, Asia and other overseas markets.

If spilled into the ocean, the buoyant pellets dubbed CanaPux can be retrieved by vacuuming them up. On land, they can be picked up by hand, or with machinery, CN said.

One potential hurdle to exporting petroleum products through CNs Port of Prince Rupert terminal is the tanker ban that covers the coast of Northern B.C. The ban, announced by Ottawa in the fall, formalizes a long-term moratorium on petroleum ships and is intended to protect the sensitive marine environment from the disastrous effects of large spills. Partially upgraded bitumen is included in the ban, but it isnt clear if CNs bitumen-polymer pellets would be exempt.

To the best of our knowledge, the tanker ban would be applied specifically to liquid hydrocarbons that are deemed to be relatively more risk if there is a spill in a marine environment, Ms. Drysdale said. In terms of the solid bitumen product, it floats, it doesnt leech, and it doesnt dissolve.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the technology must undergo testing before the tablets could be exempted as a dry good, but he called the innovation encouraging.

Were making a list of the products that fall within the moratorium ban, and wed have to make a decision on whether that would be excluded from it But theres a lot of homework to do before we establish that, Mr. Garneau said. If it lands in the water, does it remain in solid form, and how easily is it recoverable?

That analysis would be made in conjunction with Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, Mr. Garneau said.

Once the pellets reach a refinery, heating separates the bitumen and polymer mixture, along with their polymer casing. The tablets are also designed to absorb the weight of being stacked on each other. It has to handle a lot of different forces, said James Auld, senior manager of corporate development at CN.

Crude-oil shipments by rail rose sharply six years ago, driven by a lack of pipeline space in North America. The increase was spurred by rising petroleum production in new oil fields that lacked pipelines, particularly the Bakken Formation that touches parts of North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

But the fatal derailment in Lac-Mgantic, Que., awoke the world to the dangers of moving millions of barrels of oil on trains using thin-walled tank cars better suited to canola oil. Despite new rules requiring tank cars be built to better withstand derailments, there have been several fiery train derailments since then, involving a number of different railways.

In early 2015, a 100-car CN train carrying synthetic crude, which is a form of upgraded heavy oil, derailed on a broken track near Gogama, Ont., causing a fire that burned for five days. The Transportation Safety Board released its report on the accident Thursday, calling for better track maintenance, more stringent employee training and stricter rules from Transport Canada on how oil is transported. This accident occurred on an isolated stretch of rail in Northern Ontario, and thankfully no one was injured, TSB chairwoman Kathy Fox said.

The plunge in oil prices over the past two years has since reduced the amount of crude moving by rail, as producers and refiners balked at the cost of rail transport, which can be as high as $22 (U.S.) a barrel in some cases, almost twice that of a pipeline. However, the amount of crude moving by train has surged lately as oil-patch production picked up again, and pipelines fill up. In November, oil exports by rail rose to 120,000 barrels a day, up 20 per cent from the previous year, according to the National Energy Board.

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CN develops technology that could make bitumen transportation safer – The Globe and Mail

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Mild winter helping crews make significant progress on East End Connector – WRAL.com

Posted: at 4:06 am

Durham, N.C. As work continues on the East End Connector in Durham, a project decades in the making that will ultimately link Interstates 40 and 85, some in areas around the construction are worried it will make traffic worse.

When the connector opens to traffic in the summer of 2019, it will tie the Durham Freeway to I-85 with big, freeway-style interchanges. It’s designed to get traffic off secondary roads.

North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott says a mild winter is helping crews make progress.

“It’s a very big deal for Durham because, once it is finished, that’s going to get a direct connection to basically the East Coast,” Abbott said.

“A lot of the work right now is bridge work. This project is going to involve construction of about 16 bridges. We’re even building a detour bridge for a railroad.”

Engineers say that, once it happens, it should help relieve congestion on local roads.

Cheyne Burwell says he’s worried that might not be the case.

“People coming in from Granville County, from Wake Forest, are going to continue to use these secondary roads that are not built for this bandwidth of traffic,” he said.

“Sherron Road is really difficult. There are times I can barely get out of my home to get to work, and there have been days where I’ve had to turn around and just work from home.”

Burwell says he’s hopeful that the DOT will expand other roads on his side of town.

DOT officials said they believe the East End Connector will go a long way to solving many of the area’s traffic troubles.

As work continues over the spring and summer, crews will keep travel lanes open in the evening when the Durham Bulls play home games.

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Trucker Tools’ Load Track now integrated with MercuryGate TMS – Commercial Carrier Journal

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:28 am

Trucker Tools integration with MercuryGate TMS allows users to send locations of pickups and deliveries to Trucker Tools Load Track application for advanced geofencing capabilities.

Trucker Tools, provider of the popular smartphone app used byowner operators and small carrier drivers with a built-in Load Track connectivity platform, announced an integration with MercuryGates Transportation Management Software (TMS), a cloud-based solution.

The company says the integration brings end-to-end automation to the shipment lifecycle for the carriers, freight brokers, freight forwarders, third party logistics providers (3PLs) and shippers using MercuryGate TMS.

In addition to reporting GPS locations while shipments are in transit, the fully integrated Load Track solution adds instant driver messaging, arrival and departure notifications and near real-time ETA status to the native user interface and workflows of MercuryGate TMS.

The automation of check calls with drivers improves productivity and the accurate, timely shipment status information helps companies further increase customer service and satisfaction, said Prasad Gollapalli, chief executive officer of Trucker Tools.

More than 400,000 drivers, owner operators and small carriers have already downloaded the Trucker Tools app with the Load Track feature.

When load assignments are made in MercuryGate TMS, the automated shipment tracking process begins up to 24 hours in advance of the pickup appointment to ensure drivers are committed and on schedule. As part of the process, the assigned drivers are provided a text link on their phones to download the Trucker Tools app if they havent downloaded it previously.

Additionally, the MercuryGate TMS automatically sends locations of pickups and deliveries to Load Track to utilize its advanced geo-fencing capabilities that provide real-time arrival and departure notifications and shipment status updates.

Load Track continuously updates shipment locations in MercuryGate TMS every five minutes when installed on Android devices and up to 15 minutes with Apple devices through the final delivery.

Trucker Tools gives the most accurate and time-sensitive tracking that I have seen in the marketplace, and its customer support gives 100 percent to resolve any problems and grow the product, said John Back, senior logistics manager of Amstan Logistics, a Load Track and MercuryGate TMS user based in Hamilton, Ohio.

During planned stop events, customizable forms in Load Track can prompt drivers to enter BOL#, Weight, Lumper, Reefer Temp and other shipment details. Additionally, drivers can use Load Track to scan proof-of-delivery documents to capture images for fast billing and payment. The images are automatically sent by email and immediately available for download from Load Tracks website.

We are pleased to support Trucker Tool and its Load Track application. With the product integration of MercuryGate TMS, users will benefit from enhanced visibility, connectivity and functionality, said Monica B. Wooden, chief executive officer and co-founder of MercuryGate International.

The Load Track product in theMercuryGate TMS can be activated with a simple request to MercuryGate or Trucker Tools. Pricing starts as low as $1.05 per load with high volumes and with no limitations on the number of days or stop events for a load from pickup through final delivery.

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NASA approves first commercial airlock for space station science and SmallSat deployment – Phys.Org

Posted: February 11, 2017 at 7:53 am

February 10, 2017 by Ken Kremer, Universe Today Artists concept of first commercially funded airlock on the space station being developed by NanoRacks that will launch on a commercial resupply mission in 2019. It will be installed on the stations Tranquility module. Credit: NanoRacks

In a significant move towards further expansion of the International Space Station’s (ISS) burgeoning research and commercial space economy capabilities, NASA has approved the development of the first privately developed airlock and is targeting blastoff to the orbiting lab complex in two years.

Plans call for the commercial airlock to be launched on a commercial cargo vessel and installed on the U.S. segment of the ISS in 2019.

It enhances the US capability to place equipment and payloads outside and should triple the number of small satellites like CubeSats able to be deployed.

The privately funded commercial airlock is being developed by Nanoracks in partnership with Boeing, which is the prime contractor for the space station.

The airlock will be installed on an open port on the Tranquility module that already is home to the seven windowed domed Cupola observation deck and the commercial BEAM expandable module built by Bigelow Aerospace.

“We want to utilize the space station to expose the commercial sector to new and novel uses of space, ultimately creating a new economy in low-Earth orbit for scientific research, technology development and human and cargo transportation,” said Sam Scimemi, director, ISS Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, in a statement.

“We hope this new airlock will allow a diverse community to experiment and develop opportunities in space for the commercial sector.”

The airlock will launch aboard one of NASA’s commercial cargo suppliers in 2019. But the agency has not specified which contractor. The candidates include the SpaceX cargo Dragon, an enhanced ATK Cygnus or potentially the yet to fly SNC Dream Chaser.

Boeing will supply the airlock’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) hardware to connect it to the Tranquility module.

The airlock will beef up the capability of transferring equipment, payloads and deployable satellites from inside the ISS to outside, significantly increasing the utilization of ISS, says Boeing.

“The International Space Station allows NASA to conduct cutting-edge research and technology demonstrations for the next giant leap in human exploration and supports an emerging space economy in low-Earth orbit. Deployment of CubeSats and other small satellite payloads from the orbiting laboratory by commercial customers and NASA has increased in recent years. To support demand, NASA has accepted a proposal from NanoRacks to develop the first commercially funded airlock on the space station,” says NASA.

“The installation of NanoRacks’ commercial airlock will help us keep up with demand,” said Boeing International Space Station program manager Mark Mulqueen. “This is a big step in facilitating commercial business on the ISS.”

Right now the US uses the airlock on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) to place payloads on the stations exterior as well as for small satellite deployments. But the demand is outstripping the JEM’s availability.

The Nanoracks airlock will be larger and more robust to take up the slack.

NASA has stipulated that the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA’s manager of the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, will be responsible for coordinating all payload deployments from the commercial airlock NASA and non NASA.

“We are entering a new chapter in the space station program where the private sector is taking on more responsibilities. We see this as only the beginning and are delighted to team with our friends at Boeing,” said Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NanoRacks.

Explore further: Image: Small satellite deployed from the Space Station

A satellite is ejected from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Small Satellite Orbital Deployer on the International Space Station on Dec. 19, 2016. The satellite is actually two small satellites that, once at …

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams(shown here) and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASAsuccessfully installed the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs) Friday Aug. 19, 2016, during a five hour and 58-minute …

CubeSats fly free after leaving the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer on the International Space Station on May 17, 2016. Seen here are two Dove satellites.

NASA, Astrium Space Transportation and NanoRacks LLC are teaming up to expand the research capability of the International Space Station through delivery of a small commercial centrifuge facility that will conduct molecular …

Scheduled for launch in November, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is travelling the world preparing for his six-month adventure on the International Space Station. At NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in Houston, USA, Thomas is putting …

It used to be that building and launching a working satellite was an enormously expensive and complex undertaking, feasible only for governmental and military agencies. But the CubeSat revolution of the past decade has placed …

The Andromeda constellation is one of the 88 modern constellations and should not be confused with our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. The Andromeda constellation is home to the pictured galaxy known as NGC 7640.

A team of scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland recently completed a technology demonstration that could enable new scientific missions to the surface of Venus. The team demonstrated the first prolonged …

Many scientists believe the Earth was dry when it first formed, and that the building blocks for life on our planetcarbon, nitrogen and waterappeared only later as a result of collisions with other objects in our solar …

For years, their existence has been debated: elusive electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere that sport names such as red sprites, blue jets, pixies and elves. Reported by pilots, they are difficult to study as they …

For astronomers trying to understand which distant planets might have habitable conditions, the role of atmospheric haze has been hazy. To help sort it out, a team of researchers has been looking to Earth specifically …

On Feb. 9, 2017, NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, known as MMS, began a three-month long journey into a new orbit. MMS flies in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth and the new orbit will take MMS twice as far …

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NASA approves first commercial airlock for space station science and SmallSat deployment – Phys.Org

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Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposes surprisingly liberal budget – Chicago Tribune

Posted: February 9, 2017 at 6:42 am

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a conservative Republican, put forward a surprisingly liberal budget Wednesday that includes a huge boost in funding for schools, sizable tuition cuts for college students and increased tax breaks for the working poor.

The shift by the famously tightfisted governor designed to position him for a third term in 2018 also appeases his conservative base with more welfare reforms, elimination of the prevailing wage and nearly $600 million in tax cuts.

“This budget includes historic investments in our priorities,” Walker told the Republican-controlled Legislature as he released the plan Wednesday. “We’re putting more money into public education than ever before, making college even more affordable, caring for the truly needy, building a stronger infrastructure, rewarding work, and cutting taxes to the lowest point in decades.”

Democrats, and even some Republicans who control the Legislature, called his $76 billion budget that increases spending 4.2 percent over two years unrealistic and designed to boost his approval rating before another run for office.

“It’s a death-bed conversion because he’s going to be up for re-election in two years,” said Democratic Sen. Tim Carpenter, of Milwaukee.

Republican legislative leaders were slow to jump on board with seemingly popular increases in education spending, sharing the fear with Democrats that Walker wasn’t being realistic.

“We have to be cautious,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “We have to be sure that we’re not doing something we’re going to have to revisit two years from now, or god forbid, sooner than that.”

And Republican Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee, said the level of spending Walker proposed was an issue for her.

“We need to dig in and see how much is responsible and what is sustainable,” she said.

The budget would spend $649 million more on K-12 schools, but districts would have to show they are in compliance with a law requiring teachers to contribute a certain amount for health care and pension costs in order to get more money. He’s calling for extending a University of Wisconsin tuition freeze for a fifth year, then cutting tuition by 5 percent for all resident undergraduate students.

His budget would also increase pay for state workers 2 percent each of the next two years, cut the two lowest income tax brackets to save a median income family of four about $70 a year and eliminate the state portion of the property tax.

The budget is Walker’s first since his short-lived run for president and the final one before he would appear on the ballot for a third term in 2018. Walker is raising money and taking other steps to run again, but said he won’t officially announce until after the budget is done.

The budget comes after Walker previously cut funding for K-12 schools and UW, and froze tuition the past four years, while also giving them new ways to control costs. Walker credited an improved economy as allowing him to propose spending more money on education and other areas he had previously targeted for cuts.

“Of course we’re pleased that there is some reinvestment, rededication to our schools, our families, our roads,” said state Sen. Janet Bewley, of Ashland. “We are trying to make up for lost time and it’s going to be very, very difficult to catch up.”

Some Republicans have joined with Democrats in urging Walker to consider raising taxes and fees to pay for ongoing highway projects and plug a nearly $1 billion transportation budget gap. Walker relied on $500 million in borrowing and other budget moves to keep ongoing major road projects on track, while possibly leading to delays of other pending work.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, one of the leading advocates for considering transportation-related revenue increases, said he’d be willing to delay passage of the budget from late June into October if that’s what it takes to find a long-term transportation solution.

“I think it’s definitely possible that we are going to look at a gas tax,” Vos said. “We are going to look at registration increases. We’re going to look at tolling. It is not responsible for us to just continue to kick the can down the road and put more and more spending on the state’s credit card.”

Transportation, school funding and welfare reform will be the biggest areas where the Legislature works with Walker to find compromises, Fitzgerald said. At the same time, he said Republicans who have their largest majorities in the state Legislature in decades will be itching to make their own, unspecified “sweeping changes and more reforms.”

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Posted: at 6:20 am

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A Sneak Peak into the Future of the TMS Market :: Logistics Viewpoints – Logistics Viewpoints (blog)

Posted: at 6:20 am

Over the last 4 years, I have released an annual analysis of the global transportation management systems (TMS) market. The research combines the analysis of large amounts of information with interviews with executives from numerous TMS software companies. The end result is the publication of ARCs TMS Global Market Research Study, which analyzes the market shares across numerous categories of the leading TMS suppliers. I am in the process of kicking off that research once again, with a final report ready to go live in the late March / early April timeframe.

One of the key pieces of information that I look at, aside from the market shares of TMS suppliers and the industries that are driving the market, is the growth factors for the market as a whole. These growth drivers have certainly been written about here on Logistics Viewpoints before, However, one thing that I have not blogged about, but do keep a close eye on, is the factors that could inhibit the growth of the TMS market. So today, I wanted to quickly highlight a few growth inhibitors that could have a long term impact on the TMS market.

The Global Economy

The US economy has made steady gains, and the dollar has gotten stronger. However, the global economy and slowing global trade could slow the growth of TMS. With the United Kingdoms exit from the EU, many are left to wonder how this will affect trade, and whether other countries will follow the UKs lead. In the US, President Trump has pulled the country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, and stirred up a lot of emotions and fears about the future state of global trade. All of these factors could slow global trade and the TMS market in turn.

LSPs Technological Sophistication is Increasing

Many suppliers sell robust TMS solutions they have developed. However, their sales of transportation managed services far exceed their standalone TMS deals. Historically, one of the leading complaints about logistics service providers (LSPs) was that their technology was not good enough. As LSPs overcome that barrier, potential TMS customers may increasingly choose the managed services path.

There is also an argument that a shipper needs to get to a certain level of sophistication before they can effectively make use of a TMS. Beginning with managed services can be a good starting point for these companies. The companies can then defer the TMS decision until their internal skills improve and may end up never going down the TMS path.

The Rise of Transportation Execution Solutions

Transportation execution (TE) systems and marketplaces allow shippers to connect to multiple carriers and then tender, track, and pay using the software or marketplace. These solutions do not feature optimization, but can certainly allow smaller organizations to connect to the carriers they use. These solutions are generally less expensive than a traditional TMS, but for smaller companies, they provide all the functionality that is needed.

Free TMS Solutions

Some brokerage companies offer a free TMS. The route guide is populated with carriers the broker has a relationship with, and the broker makes their money based on the spread between what shippers pay for the shipment and what the broker pays the carrier. Currently, the free TMS solutions optimization capabilities are limited. Further, the objectivity of such solutions can be questioned. But for many shippers, especially small shippers, free is hard to beat.

Conclusion

As I get ready to kick off another TMS market study, I will certainly keep a keen eye on the factors outlined above. Each of these plays a unique role in determining just how big the TMS market can get. The changing nature of global trade, and potential regulatory changes, will have the biggest impact when it comes to cross-border trade and commerce. But the alternative solutions for a traditional TMS, including the use of LSPs, transportation execution systems, and the rise of the free TMS, will certainly play a big role as well. Once my research and analysis is done, I should have some more answers.

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In the Labs: Connected vehicles in Ohio, artificial intelligence in Illinois and Massachusetts – Network World

Posted: at 6:13 am

Your Alpha Doggs editor is Bob Brown, Network World Online Executive Editor, News.

Network World | Feb 8, 2017 2:03 PM PT

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Activity on the tech labs front is happening faster than we can get to it these days, so here are a few “in case you missed it” items…

The state of Ohio, JobsOhio and the Ohio State University are putting $45 million into an expansion of the Transportation Research Center’s (TRC) 540-acre Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test (SMART) Centerin the Columbus area. Research will focus both on connected and driverless vehicles within this section of the 4,500-acre TRC expanse.

This first phase of SMART expansion will include the industry’s largest high-speed intersection, an urban network of intersections (i.e., roundabouts, or what we in the Northeast call rotaries), a rural network that includes wooded roads and a neighborhood network for slower speeds.

MORE: 10 cool connected car features

TRC provides the largest independent vehicle testing facility in North America, according to TRC CEO Mark-Tami Hotta.

Research at TRC goes hand-in-hand with research elsewhere in Ohio, including along a Smart Mobility Corridor between the TRC and Columbus that has been primed with fiber-optic cabling and sensors that were enabled through previous funding. New tech can be tested in real-life traffic situations there, according to JobsOhio, which notes two additional smart highway projects are now being funded, too.

These labs are going to have quite the name to live up to. Lexalytics, a Boston-based text analytics software and services provider, has established what it’s calling Magic Machines AI Labs with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Data Science and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications.

At UMass (which counts Lexalytics CEO Jeff Catlin among its grads), Lexalytics will work with faculty and students in areas such as analyzing, visualizing and exploiting data, and overall, making the AI building process easier. Lexaytics has specialized in handling unstructured data, but is no slouch on the structured side either.

At Northwestern, Lexalytics will look to identify and test real-world applications for Magic Machines AI technologies. Perhaps frighteningly, they’ll be looking to advance ways marketers can use AI in their jobs.

Research at the labs will fall into categories such as swarm intelligence/emergent behavior, adaptive AI, transfer learning and meta-learning (see fuller explanations at the Magic Machines AI Labs website).

Speaking of UMass Amherst, the school is boasting of its new cluster of 400 graphics processing units (GPUs), which it says should attract a slew of Ph.D. students and researchers in areas such as AI, computer vision and natural language processing.

The cluster, which will process huge data sets via neural network algorithms, is housed at the Masachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, Mass., and was enabled by a five-year $5M grant from the state and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative last year. That grant represents a one-third match to $15M in funds from the MassMutual Foundation for data science and cybersecurity research.

The “Gypsum” cluster of GPUs is installed on 100 computer nodes, with storage and backup systems, and will be used for deep learning research on a variety of applications.

MORE: Open-source oriented RISELab emerges at UC Berkeley to make apps smarter & more secure

Bob Brown is a news editor for Network World, blogs about network research, and works most closely with our staff’s wireless/mobile reporters. Email me at bbrown@nww.com with story tips or comments on this post. No need to follow up on PR pitches via email or phone (I read my emails and will be in touch if interested, thanks)

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In the Labs: Connected vehicles in Ohio, artificial intelligence in Illinois and Massachusetts – Network World

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Speeders beware: Legislation would allow automation crackdown … – SFGate

Posted: at 6:07 am

By Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle

Photo: Tony Dejak, Associated Press

New legislationwould allow San Francisco and San Jose to install cameras that detect when someone is speeding and ensure that a ticket is issued.

New legislationwould allow San Francisco and San Jose to install cameras that detect when someone is speeding and ensure that a ticket is issued.

In addition to hours spent in traffic, NerdWallet considered days of precipitation, gas prices, insurance premiums, parking available and likelihood of getting into an accident.

The study indicates San Francisco is pretty hard on drivers. Check out where it lands among the top 10 and why. less

In addition to hours spent in traffic, NerdWallet considered days of precipitation, gas prices, insurance premiums, parking available … more

New Yorkers spend $1,614.71 per year on car insurance – $500 more than the national average. They also spend 59 hours a year in traffic delays. However, the city’s extensive rail system, bike sharing and other amenities help take the pressure off the already-jammed roads. less

New Yorkers spend $1,614.71 per year on car insurance – $500 more than the national average. They also spend 59 hours a year in traffic delays. However, the city’s extensive rail system, bike … more

Detroit has the least parking availability and highest car insurance prices in America, with .49 parking lots or garages per 1,000 commuters and an egregious $4,924.99 insurance premium – that’s 3 1/2 times more than the average American’s insurance costs. NerdWallet credits Detroit’s high car theft rate as part of the reason for the expensive insurance. less

Detroit has the least parking availability and highest car insurance prices in America, with .49 parking lots or garages per 1,000 commuters and an egregious $4,924.99 insurance premium – … more

NerdWallet blames Seattle’s bad traffic on the weather. But they back it up with stats: In 2012, Seattle saw 150 days of rain, which causes hazardous road conditions and poor visibility. That’s 40 more rainy days than the national average. We also spend 48 hours per year stuck in traffic, which is 46 percent more than the national average.

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NerdWallet blames Seattle’s bad traffic on the weather. But they back it up with stats: In 2012, Seattle saw 150 days of rain, which causes hazardous road conditions and poor visibility. That’s 40 … more

Here, drivers are 61.2 percent more likely to get into a traffic crash than the average American driver and the gas prices are 16 cents more per gallon than the national average.

Here, drivers are 61.2 percent more likely to get into a traffic crash than the average American driver and the gas prices are 16 cents more per gallon than the national average.

Chicago sees the most regularly torrential weather of the cities in the top 10 and its gas prices are the highest of the 25 worst cities for drivers with $4.16 per gallon.

Chicago sees the most regularly torrential weather of the cities in the top 10 and its gas prices are the highest of the 25 worst cities for drivers with $4.16 per gallon.

Miami drivers pay $1,750.10 per year in car insurance, which is 59 percent higher than the national average. There are also only .77 parking garages or lots per 1,000 commuters.

Miami drivers pay $1,750.10 per year in car insurance, which is 59 percent higher than the national average. There are also only .77 parking garages or lots per 1,000 commuters.

Los Angeles drivers suffer 61 hours of delays each year and 55.1 percent of the population travels during peak hours. Drivers also pay an average $4.01 per gallon for gas.

Los Angeles drivers suffer 61 hours of delays each year and 55.1 percent of the population travels during peak hours. Drivers also pay an average $4.01 per gallon for gas.

But, hey, at least they’re not in Washington, D.C., where drivers spend 67 hours per year stuck in traffic – the most in the United States. Drivers in the nation’s capital are also 97.3 percent more likely to get into a crash than the average driver. less

But, hey, at least they’re not in Washington, D.C., where drivers spend 67 hours per year stuck in traffic – the most in the United States. Drivers in the nation’s capital are also 97.3 … more

But that isn’t as bad as Boston, where drivers are 129.9 percent more likely than the average driver to wreck the car. Drivers here spend 53 hours per year in traffic. Good thing one-third of commuters use public transportation, but apparently that’s not enough. less

But that isn’t as bad as Boston, where drivers are 129.9 percent more likely than the average driver to wreck the car. Drivers here spend 53 hours per year in traffic. Good thing one-third of commuters … more

Speeders beware: Legislation would allow automation crackdown

Aiming to get drivers to hit the brakes, San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow San Francisco and San Jose to install cameras that detect when someone is speeding and ensure that a ticket is issued.

Chiu made the announcement at a news conference in the lobby of San Francisco General Hospital, where five victims of car collisions are treated daily.

Speeding is the leading cause of pedestrian fatalities in the two cities, supporters said, and slowing traffic saves lives. While cameras at controlled intersections that detect red-light runners are legal in California, cameras that nab speeders are not.

If San Francisco had automated speed enforcement, the driver might not have been going so fast and my mother might not have been so seriously injured, said Jenny Yu, whose mother, Judy Szeto Yuen Man Yu, was struck by a car in the Richmond District. She suffered broken bones as well as brain damage that left her with multiple personalities and in need of constant care.

This crash took away moms ability to live a normal life. said Jenny Yu, who attended Chius news conference.

Also attending were other families of people killed or severely injured when they were hit by cars, Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Sam Liccardo of San Jose, and transportation and health officials along with San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.

The legislation calls for a five-year trial. It would authorize the use of automated devices that measure speeds and trigger cameras that capture images of speeding cars and their license plates. Owners of cars found exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour would then be mailed citations of no more than $100, including court fees.

Cameras would be placed on posts along some of the cities deadliest streets, focusing on areas where speeding is common. In San Francisco, those streets include stretches of Market Street and Geary Boulevard, said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Traffic signs would be put in place warning drivers that speed cameras lurk ahead, and for the first 30 days after cameras are installed, drivers would be mailed warning tickets that do not include a fine.

Scott said the speed cameras are not an attempt to raise money, a complaint critics are sure to voice.

Lets be clear: Our goal is to save lives not write tickets, the police chief said.

But what will drivers think? Those interviewed at a South of Market gas station had a variety of thoughts.

Eeeeeew. I dont think thats good, said Jermaine Scott, 38, a San Francisco delivery driver who lives in Richmond. Thats real sneaky. But it could save lots of lives around here. This place has become a danger zone for pedestrians.

Proponents say automated speed enforcement has slowed drivers and deaths from traffic collisions by impressive amounts: a 53 percent reduction in deaths in Portland, Ore., a 31 percent decline in speeding in Chicago, and a 13.4 percent decrease in injury accidents near cameras in New York.

Some motorists, however, worried that cameras wont give drivers the benefit of the doubt and wont understand that they might have accelerated to avoid an erratic driver or a double-parked truck, or in advance of a hill.

Speed enforcement is a human job, Taj Turner, 36, a San Francisco salesman who lives in Oakland, said. I think its a horrible idea, especially in a city where a lot of people dont drive. Theyd be hurting Uber and Lyft and taxis, people who are just trying to make a living.

The legislation is sure to face opposition in Sacramento. Past efforts have stalled in the Legislature after criticism from the American Automobile Association and the trucking industry. Chiu said he hopes to persuade those groups to at least stay neutral.

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com

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Uber Taps NASA Expert to Make Flying Cars a Reality – Futurism

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Uber Elevate

Ubers ride sharing concept didnt just revolutionize the transportation industry it carved a totally new business model. Its no surprise then, that the company is consistently investing in technology that will once again prove to be game changing.

Last October, Uber announcedplans to develop vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to provide a cost-effective and efficient ride sharing service that can shuttle passengers around cities. Now, former NASA engineer Mark Moore will be joining the team to bring these flying, on-demand vehicles into reality.

Moore, who originally lent his engineering expertise for Ubers white paper on the VTOL craft, will now serve as the companys Director of Engineering for their new concept, dubbed Uber Elevate.

I cant think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real, the 30-year NASA veteran shared with Bloomberg.

While Moore is intent on taking Ubers vision to new heights (literally), hes pragmatic enough to recognize the technological and logistical challenges of this project.

On the technical side, the company has to contend with improving vehicle efficiency and limited battery life, while making sure to address potential issues, like noise pollution. On the logistical front, the company has to lobby regulators to reduce air-traffic restrictions, and certify aircrafts for use. But, given Ubers 55-million-strong market, its in a prime position to demonstrate the potential of this technology, and maybe even pave the way for other innovators who are working to bring vehicles to the skies.

AeroMobil has been working on a prototype that combines the characteristics of a traditional car with a small airplane. Airbus Project Vahana is working on a similar, helicopter-style autonomous vehicle that can ferry passengers in the air. And Jetpack Aviation, a company primarily focused on developing jetpacks, is dipping their toes in the flying car industry.

Uber, along with all these companies, will inevitably create a new frontier in transportation defined by convenience, sustainability, and innovation.

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Uber Taps NASA Expert to Make Flying Cars a Reality – Futurism

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