Deadly collapse in Italy turns spotlight onto aging bridges around the world

“It is really sad. I knew that bridge, I passed across that bridge a few times. It was a famous bridge for Italian engineering,” says Matteo Pozzi, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

The bridge, Pozzi explains, was built by Riccardo Morandi, a civil engineer, whose designs in the 1960s were somewhat pioneering as they used reinforced concrete instead of the more expensive steel more commonly used at the time. Pozzi says that over the years people learned more about problems with the concrete of the bridge, and how it could deteriorate over time, “but it was still a landmark for Genoa.”
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Ivanka Trump tours Astrobotic, meets Girls of Steel robotics team during Pittsburgh visit

Presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump took in Pittsburgh’s robotics scene Tuesday.

The president’s daughter visited Astrobotic, a space delivery company in the Strip District, talked with the Girls of Steel robotics team and met with leaders from some of the city’s top tech companies, said Brian Kennedy, senior vice president for operations and government affairs at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, which helped organize the visit.

Kennedy said Trump talked about the need to educate students and train workers for jobs in the high-tech economy…

Edge Case Research, a company searching for bugs in self-driving car software, had its office in a former ice-making factory. Nearby, Carnegie Robotics sits on the site of the former Heppenstall Steel Company mill and RedZone Robotics, which sends robots into sewers, works out of the old Geoffrey Boehm Chocolates factory.

Many of the companies have spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville.
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Rolling robots could be coming to a Dallas sidewalk near you

On its website, Marble describes its autonomous delivery devices as “your friendly neighborhood robot.” The company is in discussions with retailers to transport customers’ purchases. It has not publicly announced any clients, said Jackie Erickson, Marble’s director of communications and government relations, but many suggested Dallas as a test market.

The startup, founded by three Carnegie Mellon University graduates, is testing its robots about an hour east of San Francisco in Concord, Calif. It’s discussing pilots with Arlington and with a city in Nevada, Erickson said. Last year, it ran a meal delivery pilot in San Francisco with Yelp 324, a food delivery business that the online review company acquired.

Erickson said Marble would like to have its robots in Dallas in the fall or winter. She said “robot ambassadors” would initially tag along with the deliveries. Customers open the robot by punching in a special code that they receive after their purchase.
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Tiny iEV X Electric Car Expands To Fit Passengers & Stuff

If you live in Bozeman, Montana, you might not feel the need of a 254-pound single seat micro car that is just 31 inches wide and 63 inches long. But if you live in a crowded European city like Amsterdam, the German engineered iEV X electric car may be just the ticket. It’s small enough that you might be able to slip it into an elevator and take it to work or park it in your apartment.

But what if you want to take someone with you on your journey around town? What if you need to carry a brief case or loaf of bread with you? What then? No worries, friends. The iEV X can expand to 75 inches so your passenger can make use of a tiny jump seat that stows behind the driver. Need even more room? Press a button and car stretches out even more to a whopping 87 inches. When extended, the sides of the vehicle are open to the elements, but in a world where doors are an option on the Renault Twizy, that should be no problem for space-conscious Europeans.
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Elon Musk says Tesla will open part of its self-driving software to the public as a safety measure

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a hacker conference in Las Vegas he plans to “open source” the software Tesla uses to secure autonomous-driving features from hacks or takeovers, eventually allowing other carmakers to use it.

It’s a bid to make autonomous vehicle software safer by opening the software to more scrutiny, he told a private audience of around 100 people on Friday at DEFCON, an annual cybersecurity defense conference held in Las Vegas.

“I think one of the biggest concerns for autonomous vehicles is somebody achieving a fleet-wide hack,” he said according to people who attended. Musk confirmed the decision in a tweet on Saturday, writing it was “extremely important to a safe self-driving future for all.”
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How smart cities will improve trucking and the supply chain

While pie-in-the-sky dreams of utopian smart cities fill the media waves, we wondered about what a smart city would mean for commercial transportation and the supply chain.

Gerry Mead, executive director of innovation for Phillips Industries, tells FreightWaves, “To me the first step and most important is cooperation. A smart city from a truck perspective really involves what solutions does it solve from a transportation perspective. In this case, ours would be trucking. The obvious would be driver retention. One could say more like driver utilization. As their utilization rises so does their paycheck. It’s also a win-win for the trucking companies as more utilization equals more revenue and less driver turnover, as one would believe they would stay as they earn a better living. How? Let’s look ahead at the possibilities if things were what we call ‘SMART,’ or as I just plainly call them, ‘connected.’”
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The Continued Transition to Electric Vehicles in U.S. Cities

The International Council on Clean Transportation has released a report that assesses the U.S. electric vehicle market. This report identifies current actions and practices in electric vehicle marketing, and examines links between various electric vehicle promotional actions and electric vehicle uptake.
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WHY EUROPE IS LAGGING BEHIND IN THE DRIVERLESS CAR RACE

During a recent event in Hannover, VW’s Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth expressed doubt about Europe’s place on the driverless map. Presenting the latest updates to the company’s self-driving car Sedric, he outlined plans to roll out autonomous vehicles in several U.S. cities, followed by China, Singapore and the Middle East. More local options seemed less likely: “And then comes Europe. We would love to [come earlier] since it’s our home market, but the legislation just isn’t there,” he said.

His words echo the actions of many European contemporaries. When considering where to carry out trials, many automakers currently favour alternatives such as California’s hot bed of innovation over the cold shoulder of regulations across the pond.

The main hurdle for Europe remains the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic – a treaty ratified by most of the continent. Dating back to 1968, it calls for a driver to be in control of a vehicle at all times.
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Scooter Startups Roll Into Trouble as Cities Slow Their Expansion

As shared-scooter companies Bird Rides Inc. and Lime, flush with investors’ cash, race into new cities around the U.S., they are finding city officials emboldened to enact regulations that limit the companies’ rapid growth. Urban authorities from Miami to Portland, Ore., are capping their numbers at a few hundred per company, or in some cases blocking the deployment altogether.

This could prove a big challenge for Bird and Lime, which have drawn nearly $900 million of investment between them with ambitions of launching thousands or tens of thousands of scooters on the streets of hundreds of U.S. cities. Sixteen-month-old Bird was recently valued by investors at $2 billion, and 20-month-old Lime at $1.1 billion—the two fastest U.S. startups to pass a $1 billion valuation, according to data tracker PitchBook. The closely held companies don’t disclose financial data.
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COULD THIS SOFTWARE REDUCE CRASHES ON JERSEY HIGHWAYS?

Law enforcement and transportation safety experts are utilizing a new tool to better understand what causes accidents so they can help prevent them in the future.

The Rutgers University Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation is using software called Numetric to better analyze crash data in a more holistic way. The information is shared with the state Department of Transportation, local police departments and nonprofit pedestrian and bicycle safety groups.

According to Numetric CEO Nate Bowler, the program allows safety experts to quickly look at large amounts of crash data and figure out where crashing are occurring, what some of the root causes are.
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