UN Aviation Want Real-Time Tracking Of Aircraft

In recent years, we’ve had tragic incidents in which aircraft have gone missing, leaving many wondering what happened to the people on board. To prevent further loss, the UN’s international civil aviation organization (ICAO) want to create a system to enable real-time tracking of aircraft.

The three most significant tweaks to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention (the document outlining how aircraft, airports and anything operating in their airspace needs to work) are as follows:

  • Aircraft must carry “autonomous distress tracking devices” that can “transmit location information at least once every minute in distress circumstances.”
  • The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) must be able to store at least 25 hours of recording, “so that they cover all phases of flight for all types of operations.”
  • Aircraft must be “equipped with a means to have flight recorder data recovered and made available in a timely manner.”

These moves mean that even if you were unable to locate the plane immediately and recover the CVR or flight recorder, the information and details regarding the flight would still be accessible. ICAO’s president Olumyiwa Benard Aliu states that in the case of an accident “the location of the site will be known immediately to within six nautical miles”.

While this may be late for some, the new rules which airline operators have until 2021 to adopt, could prevent others from asking the question of where.

Google Self Driving Car May Have Caused its First Crash

Google have often flaunted the fact that none of its numerous self-driving cars have ever been responsible for a crash it has been in, instead always being put down to outside forces, usually humans. Now this flawless record could be in jeopardy as according to a filing with the Californian DMV discovered by Mark Harris, a self-driving Lexus SUV belonging to Google drove itself into the side of a bus, thankfully at low-speed.

The description of the incident from the report states the following:

The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15 mph at the time of contact.

What exactly caused the crash is currently uncertain, either the car made the same assumption as the test driver, that the bus would allow the car into traffic, or there was a blind spot in its sensors. The latter is extremely unlikely due to the large array of sensors packed into the vehicle that covers all 360 degrees around it.

It was only a matter of time until an autonomous car was involved in an accident that was the fault of the car, with the growing number of them on the road for testing. Even one accident doesn’t change the statistics that autonomous cars are far safer than human drivers, especially with the years of testing and improvement ahead of them. Whether this accident shakes confidence in the readiness of self-driving cars remains to be seen, but with Google’s monthly self-driving report due soon, more details of the incident and the future of the car’s development may come to light.

Man Left With Amnesia After Hoverboard Accident

A man was left hospitalised after testing out the ‘hoverboard’ he bought for his son as a Christmas present, and when he woke up he thought the year was 2010. Mark Tamlin of Surrey, UK, was disappointed to find that the ‘hoverboard’ – a misnomer adopted by the popular-yet-controversial style of lateral two-wheeled electric scooters – he gifted to his eldest son didn’t work.

His son left disappointed, Tamlin mounted the vehicle to try it on 27th December, but soon after was launched to the ground, his head colliding with the ground. When Tamlin awoke in a hospital bed, he was unable to remember Christmas Day, and told one of his doctors that he thought the year was 2010.

“When I was thrown off it, both my sons were apparently screaming and crying. They were terrified, Tamlin told the Daily Mail. “It’s lucky I was on it and not one of my sons – one of them could have been seriously hurt.”

“I tried to work out what was going on with it so jumped on and had a go myself. The next thing I knew I was in hospital,” Tamlin said. “I don’t know what happened, but my sons told me it started vibrating really fast. Then it threw me up in the air and I hit the back of my head on the ground.”

After an initial boom in popularity, following celebrity endorsements from the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Jessica Alba, and Kendall Jenner, many ‘hoverboards’ were withdrawn from sale after reports of exploding batteries.

“I remember none of the day it happened, parts of Boxing Day and some of Christmas Day are also a bit of a blur,” he added. “The doctor said when I first come in he asked me what year it was and I apparently said 2010.”

Following a recovery period, and despite recurrent headaches, Tamlin has now regained much of his memory.

Tesla Supercharger Catches Fire

Tesla cars are well-known sites all around the world now with the Model S being known as a rather amazing piece of technology. The electric sports car contains a ludicrous mode which can accelerate 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, a rather impressive sight. The S model, however, is getting some bad attention in Norway when it went to top up.

Tesla’s electric cars are known for being the first step into reliable and everyday usable cars, however, a particular owner got a surprise during a routine action in Norway. After pulling up the a supercharger station, and inserting its plug for the lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle caught fire. The owner was not at the car when the incident happens so no one was harmed, but as you can see from the image above, the car was not so lucky.

While people are quick to argue and debate over what could have caused this user one Reddit user, bjornnyland, was quick to point out that this was a temporary station which actually delivered 13kW more than a standard station, which typically deliver 105 kW. After stating that he had used the charging point several times and that it had stopped on more than one occasion, he was quick to state that it may or may not have had something to do with the fire.

Autonomous Car Accident Reports Finally Released

We love looking to the future of car technology, be it how the car is powered or how the car is controlled. We now have a pretty consistent means of powering the vehicles thanks to Tesla and the impressive battery system, but controlling the car is still under scrutiny. Companies such as Google are pioneering the push for autonomous vehicles (AV), but what about the safety of said vehicles?

Californian DMV has now released accident reports from the collisions that involved Google’s autonomous vehicles. I can safely say, on behalf of the human race, that we fail.

In all scenarios, the AV was either stationary or slowing to a stop due to traffic or pedestrian conditions and the accident occurred due to another driver not paying attention. There were three recorded accidents that happened when the vehicle was being controlled by the human driver, but that was due to bad judgement and taking control from the autonomous mode.

It has already been acknowledged that AV’s are too safe for public roads and this is just further proof that humans aren’t ready to share the road with perfect drivers just yet.

Personally I can’t see AV’s integrating in human driving society for a long time yet. They would likely work best in closed circuits or where safety is key, so airports or even densely populated city centre areas.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think we are ready to share the road with AV’s? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

12-Year-Old Boy Breaks Fall by Smashing Into Painting Worth $1.5 Million

A 12-year-old boy in Taiwan has suffered a rather unfortunate accident and already become a viral sensation. While visiting a museum, he suddenly tripped into the path of a $1.5 million painting. The damage caused was quite substantial because he pierced a hole in the painting to break his fall. Unluckily, the Paolo Porpora oil painting is 350 years old and provided to the museum on a loan basis. Additionally, the piece was part of “The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius” exhibition, with 50 beautifully compiled paintings by Italian Renaissance artists on display.

CCTV footage recorded the incident which is fairly difficult to watch. Organizers of the event had to close the public gallery and assess the situation. However, it was reopened a few hours later. Focus Taiwan reported that the exhibition’s curator, Andrea Rossi does not want the boy’s family to pay for restoration costs. Obviously, how could they afford it? Thankfully, the painting was insured by the organizers and will be repaired in Taiwan before going back to Italy.

Also, the museum probably should have imposed greater restrictions and improved security. As you can see from the video, the boy is carrying a drink. He could have easily dropped the beverage and stained the painting. Whatever the case, you have to feel some sympathy for him.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

‘Injured’ Crash Victim Starts Using his Phone

Do you use your mobile quite often? Are you obsessed with your mobile phone? So obsessed that you won’t even think to pull it out and start playing on it after you have met an accident. Well, that is what happened in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, China, last Tuesday. Reportedly, he was riding his motorbike when he met the accident. He had injuries, according to Chinese People’s Daily reports. The reason behind the accident and severity of the injuries, though he was conscious enough to operate his mobile phone while lying on the ground, is unclear at this moment.

Few photographs first published on Weibo show the man lying in the street, clutching his phone and seemingly playing a video game. The Daily Mail reports that the victim is subsequently been discharged from the hospital as reported by the police. The Mail also said that skeptics on social media suggested that the man stayed prostrate so that he could extract compensation from the driver. However, if that was the case, surely he might have acted a touch more, well, hurt, than the playing on his phone indicated.

Thank you CNET and People’s Daily for providing us with this information.

Google’s Self Driving Cars May Become ‘Too Safe’ for Urban Areas

Google has worked on improving the safety features of their self-driving cars for some time now. Despite that, the cars have seen their fair share of accidents, all of which the company claims it was not the fault of their cars.

Some accidents involved other cars hitting the rear of the self-driving vehicles, others hitting them sideways and there is word of a case where a self-driving car was hit by a driver who went through a red light. This means that Google has successfully achieved their goal of providing state of the art algorithms that are more attentive than a human. However, other consequences may arise from these ultra-safe rules.

Google and other manufacturers that activate in the autonomous vehicles market have managed to prove that self-driving cars are a lot safer than humans. But sometimes, a human’s recklessness may prove to come in handy in urban environments. For example, in crowded areas, a self-driving car’s algorithm may keep the car from ‘pushing forward’ as people continuously walk in front of it.

In the above situations, a human would get tired of waiting at some point and push forward. This does not mean that he will hit other people, rather than he knows that people would jump out-of-the-way and stop. Also, if a pedestrian is not looking and still heading in front of the car, a human can quickly react and stop the vehicle to prevent the accident.

This is just one of many situations a computer is not capable of understanding and coping with, marking it as the last milestone between the extremely safe and ‘shy’ cars that are just entering the market and the fully fledged autonomous vehicles we see in sci-fi movies. So having said all of the above, would you troll a self-driving vehicle on the streets?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Might Come with External Airbags

Airbags are the main protection feature inside a car, aiding in protecting the driver and passengers from serious harm in the event of a violent accident. However, we still don’t have anything to protect the car itself or the objects it might hit.

Google has been thinking about adding an extra protection feature to the exterior of its self-driving cars and came up with the idea of having external airbags. As shown in a patent filed by the company, it looks like its self-driving cars might come with a new revolutionary protection feature in the near future.

The external airbags are said to help protect the car, other cars or even people if an unfortunate accident occurs. However, the airbags might have an opposite effect on people, sending them flying and suffering more severe injuries. Google apparently thought about this problem and came up with a solution which involves a visco-elastic material that would have a bit of give to help prevent serious injury.

Though the idea might become a reality in Google’s hands, it’s worth pointing out that Volvo was the first to think about this solution. External airbags seem to have a lot of potential on paper, but do they really do the trick in real life situations? That would remain to be seen.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Man Critical After Insane Ice Bucket Challenge Stunt

The Ice Bucket Challenge has done a lot of great things this last few weeks, it has helped raise money for many charities around the world and inspired many people to do something good for others. Unfortunately for one man, things may not end so well, after an insane stunt was performed for his ice bucket challenge, leaving him in critical condition.

Belgian photographer Bruno Brokken thought it would be a good idea to have 396 gallons of water dumped on him from a firefighting plane. This meant he was hit with a thousand pounds of water from a height of 22 feet that was carrying significant momentum from the plane. The result of this will have been like having a car dropped on him.

The thing to take away from this is to think before you act. I hope that Bruno pulls through from his injuries, but I can’t help but wonder how the pilot or anyone else involved in this stunt didn’t realize the dangers of dropping such vast amounts of water on a person. Take the video below for example, makes it pretty clear how dangerous it would be to dump water on somone.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/FM9FeEgI0Eo[/youtube]

Thank you Flight Club for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Flight Club.

Google Street Car Crashes Going Backwards on One-Way Street

The Google Street View Car has been involved in an accident after it was travelling the wrong way down a one-way street, which is kind of ironic given that this car is supposed to be helping others to navigate roads, when its drivers seem at a loss for how to drive themselves.

the Google car suffered significant damage to its front end and the other car was totalled. The Google car, a 2010 Subaru Legacy was being driven by 28yr old Alexander Spurr, who said he attempted a U-turn, but accidentally came out onto an adjacent road. At this point they struck the side of the other vehicle, with the victims car also suggesting to local police that the Google Car must have run a red light for the collision to happen.

Police estimated that around $1500 in damages was done to the Google Car, while around $2000 in damages was done to the Mazda they hit.

The driver of the Mazda, a 22 year old construction worker received treatment at a local hospital for bruised ribs and whiplash after a catscan and X-Ray and I fully suspect he’ll be taking Google for everything he can.

Thank you TheSmokingGun for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TheSmokingGun.

Driver Of Stolen Model S Becomes First Person To Die In A Tesla

Since its launch in June 2012, the Tesla Model S has been one of Tesla’s top selling cars and with a price tag starting at around $70,000 (or £50,000 here in the UK), it is highly sought after, especially by thieves who want to get their hands on the all-electric car in ways which baffle the mind.

One such person who decided they wanted in on the technical marvel was 26-year-old Joshua Slot who broke into a Tesla service centre in Los Angeles and made off with the high-performance motor. Police were soon on the chase after spotting the vehicle soon after it was taken and gave chase, however their pursuit was short-lived after they themselves were involved in a collision taking them out of the chase. Due to lack of resources at the local police department, the chase was called off as they could not keep up with the vehicle which was reported to be travelling at speeds of nearly 100mph through the L.A. streets.

Slots getaway with his unlawful possession was also short-lived as he  eventually collided with three other vehicles, injuring five people in the process of whom fortunately have all walked away from the incident alive and were discharged from hospital on Monday. Not so fortunate was Slot who, after colliding with two poles and splitting the car in half, died on the way to hospital.

As for the car, the front half came to rest in the road, catching fire soon after, whilst the rear section became airborne and crashed into the side of a nearby Jewish community centre. The force was so great that the car ended up wedged in a doorway to the building.

In a statement to Park Labrea News of Beverly Hills, Congregation Kol Ami’s Executive Director Sadie Rose Stern said:

“We were incredibly lucky. Thankfully, we had a large metal gate that took the brunt of the energy. The car wedged itself in. There was a lot of debris, but thankfully, we did not have a car in our sanctuary. There is some exterior damage, and we are in the process of getting quotes [for repairs].”

LAPD are investigating the theft as we speak and no further reports on the incident have been made at this moment in time. With Slot being the first person to be killed in a Tesla, there may be questions made about the cars safety, but let’s be honest, this incident is no fault of Tesla or the Model S, whatever way you look at it. It was simply down to a thief and his horrendous driving.

Source: Park Labrea News of Beverly Hills

Image courtesy: Associated Press