Could An Ignition-Activated 'Car Mode' Keep Drivers From Texting?
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I've been reading a book called 'Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do' by Tom Vanderbilt, which resonates very well with me. Now I'm no petrol head, but I still like driving my car and it is still m...
Luigi Cappel's insight:
It only takes a little pain to have people hop in their cars. A wet day, having to stand on a bus, or having to stand on the side of the road and watch the bus go by. Driving is part of our culture. We are how we move. Even in cities where driving is impractical, like Tokyo, I have friends who still own a car, almost a status symbol because of the costs of even parking your car. They go driving in the weekend and enjoy the countryside.
The most popular and profitable radio time, even today when so many people are connected to their smartphones for entertainment, is drive-time. Of course this is also when we get our critical traffic reports.
We don't even want to get out of our cars. An estimated 22% of ALL restaurant meals in America are ordered through the window of a car.
I really like the footer, that a pedestrian is someone who has just parked their car.
Just last night I was reading in the news that sales of new passenger cars in New Zealand have gone up in the first months of this year by 3.6% breaking a 26 year record. Sales of commercial vehicles for the first four months in this country are up 14% on the same period last year.
Still think more people are ditching their cars?
Newsweek Washington, DC, Would Like to Remind You It's a 'No Drone Zone' Newsweek On this annual American holiday celebrating freedom in all its forms, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement reminding hill-toppers, aviation...
Luigi Cappel's insight:
This had to happen and expect to see it repeated in cities all over the world, especially around airports and helipads and high volume vehicular traffic areas. It's simply too dangerous.
I think the biggest problem is that anyone can buy or build these aircraft currently whether its a $100 toy that has a camera on it or can carry a can of beer, or something larger, how do you define what is OK and what isn't. Expect very small 'toys' to be able to carry reasonably large payloads.
The challenge now is for those organizations or businesses that do want to use them, such as real estate and event photography, DOT's and emergency services, agricultural research businesses, mapping companies and many more. Perhaps the proposed permitting and licensing of operators will come into play, but it will be a difficult subject because of the innate dangers of large numbers of devices intruding on airspace and at risk of crashing into each other, or simply falling out of the sky, let alone any nefarious use.
How do you feel about drones. I live under a frequent flightpath f helicopters and I can tell you that is very annoying. I'd hate to be having a relax on the beach disturbed by drones delivering pizzas, or simply lots of kids toys buzzing around. As a frequent flyer and traveler. the greater risk is that a drone gets sucked into an aircraft jet, or falls out of the sky onto a busy freeway.
Google is now publishing monthly status reports on its autonomous cars, and will alert the public when its vehicles get in accidents.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
This is a good move. While the debate goes on between autonomous cars vs cooperative cars, safety remains one of the biggest concerns, especially where Google proposes the concept of cars that have no controls. Imagine being in the front seat (no longer the driver's seat) facing an impending hazardous situation such as described in The Future Diaries http://thefuturediaries.com/2013/04/19/boy-racers-make-sport-with-driverless-cars/ and you don't have a steering wheel or brakes!
Whilst these cars may have a very good safety record and the latest (12th) Google car crash was rear ended at "1MPH", the implication was that the Google car was stationery at the time.
A lot of the research is based on the behavior of the intelligent car and not on the potentially poor driving skills or impaired condition of the driver of the other car/s.
Of course there are mitigations, for example we have long talked about 'platooning', even before the word was used with that meaning. We had concepts of small driverless public transport vehicles that started off picking up people on arterial routes and then would 'link-up' on a bus-way or special lane, forming a train on wheels, to take up less room, allow slip-streaming and other benefits.
I have blogged about the topic of V2V on many occasions and the conflict between wanting to have the best proprietary features for a competitive car brand (where Volvo only talk to certain other models of Volvo) vs agreed standards.
The autonomous car could in theory go on any road, whereas platooned cars might need to have a special lane or share a priority lane with public transport (which would only work if they were similarly automated). The alternative could work well on motorways, but with unpredictable humans in the non platooned cars there are risks as you will read in an upcoming blog of The Future Diaries.
Now that's not as silly as it sounds.
OPINION: You're stuck behind a car. You get to the passing lane. Then they speed up. Why?
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I hadn't heard of Hanlon's Law before, but it certainly gels with what I see and what we all experience regularly. We see a certain behavior on the road and interpret it, frequently incorrectly.
So, to quote this excellent article from Stuff, "that in the absence of proper understanding, human frailty often appears indistinguishable from malice."
When we drive, we are in a cocoon, our own little world where our key focus is our own journey to our own destination. That is important to us. We have a set of behaviors that we believe are appropriate and when people behave differently, particularly if you are in peak congestion, or perhaps traveling with time constraints, to get to meeting, to catch a plane, or perhaps to get to the hospital to deliver a baby, or to go to someone's aid who has just had an accident.
We have no idea what is going on inside the head of our fellow motorists or what their purpose is for being on the road, nor their behavior.
I have frequently been baffled why people don't drive in the same rational way that I do.
For example, I will drive on the highway using cruise control at 100kmph. I overtake a slower car at a passing lane and move back into the left lane (we drive on the left in New Zealand). A little farther up the road (and I haven't touched the cruise control and am still doing 100kmph) I arrive at another passing lane and the same person overtakes me doing about 120kph.
Just a mere km or two and I arrive at a couple of corners, and get stuck behind, yep, you got it, that same car which is now doing 90kmph.
Don't get me started on merge lanes. I'll leave that to another day and just be happy that Tom Vanderbilt in his excellent book TRAFFIC: Why We Drive The Way We Do, tells me that the same things happen around the world.
Some people merge early and sit in an orderly queue whilst others race up the now empty merge lane and when they get to the merge point, have to battle drivers who move across to stop them passing (frequently before the actual merge point), because they feel aggrieved that they queued nicely while the other guy pushed past.
The people who feel they are driving in an orderly manner, vacating the merge lane early feel very strongly about the people who take advantage of their good manners; and this frequently results in road rage, tailgating and other reactions.
In fact both parties (by New Zealand law, where you can legally stay in the 'fast lane' of the motorway and drive below the legal speed, whilst people who want to go faster can legally undertake) are obeying the law. In my humble opinion, if people merged correctly, like a zip, at the same speed as the people in the lane they are merging into, traffic would flow more smoothly and congestion would be slightly eased.
The problem occurs because the now empty lane which almost everyone has vacated is moving at three times the speed at which the polite motorists are. When they merge with the slower traffic who close the gap, it causes a concertina effect where a whole line of vehicles slows down to let them in and then slowly speeds up until the next merge lane.
So having identified that we still need more driver education, I'd also like to remind us all (including myself) that you do not know what is going on in the car next to you. They may be rushing off to a family emergency, it may be a learner driver, she may have just had a quarrel, they might be foreign tourists coming to grips with driving on the other side of the road. They might be happy, sad, sick, tired, under the influence of something, or they might just be bad drivers.
Chances are though, that whilst you are taking their behavior personally and want to let them know that you are not impressed, they probably don't even know you exist. They are not trying to get one up on you, not trying to annoy you, they are just going about their own way and would probably be totally astonished that you have an issue with their driving. I think Hanlon is mostly right.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
This is a really good detailed article, and if you want an in-depth understanding of the world of maps, think it's a good read. It highlights a number of key problems that we face today.
1. Data accuracy. Even if a map comes from a reputable source, that doesn't mean it is accurate. A company I used to have a management role in thought it could use the official Government maps to create a car navigation data set. It was a horrible fail that cost the company a lot of money having to sell a big chunk of the company to design a mapping car and map the whole country.
2. Currency. Having just driven through a large chunk of Europe with a map that was maybe a year out of date was really interesting. Even in a short time there were significant changes.
3. GIGO. Business analytics displayed on a map have the same distinction as many research surveys. The information is as good as the source data. If the data is strictly numeric and based on facts AND you know exactly what those facts are, the maps are very useful. In my book 'Buying a House Using Real Estate Apps, Maps and Location Based Services' I explored many places where you can get good factual data about many things, prices, population demographics, ethnicity, crime, education, school zones. There is a lot of good trustworthy information available.
4. Trustworthy Statistics. When it comes to research that can be skewed or slanted by the research questions, a map can suddenly become very misleading.
How do you work out which information is good quality and which isn't? It's not an easy answer because often the information is provided by credible sources. There are numerous papers like this one from the OECD http://www.oecd.org/std/50027008.pdf which is one of many. Statistics can be used and abused and perhaps one of the key questions is what is the purpose of the statistics displayed on the map. People can make incorrect assumptions with the best of intentions, but statistics are also frequently used for political reasons, to justify an argument and that information can be deliberately skewed with either misinformation, or incorrectly interpreted information in order to justify a thesis or argument. Disinformation is considered a legitimate tool in warfare and often truth gets stretched in politics.
5. In short, without writing another book, view everything with a grain of salt. Maps displaying statistics are as good as the quality and accuracy of the statistics. Maps are a wonderful and important way of displaying statistical geospatial information. A picture speaks a thousand words. If you don't take every word or statistic as gospel, then treat a map in the same way. Sometimes the outcome isn't too important, sometimes near enough is good enough, it comes down to purpose. If a map shows he house you are looking at buying will get your child into the best school and it's wrong, that could be a problem. If your car navigation map doesn't show you how to get out of a new industrial area when you need to catch a plane and you have 30 minutes to check into an international flight, you have a problem. On the other hand, maps can provide a very powerful tool to answer problems from statistics that you could look at for days, at a glance.
HERE, a Nokia company, today announced that it is expanding its real-time traffic service to 50 countries, from the current 44. For more.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I don't know whether its because Nokia has HERE for sale or whether I just haven't been paying attention but there are a few things in their latest story that caught my eye.
The most interesting to me is one that they are putting some emphasis on car parking. This is an area that research tells me is of major interest to motorists. As I outlined in a presentation to he NZ Parking Conference, car parking is a very important part of the journey. http://www.slideshare.net/BluesBro/nz-parking
Parking is not the destination, but it needs to be convenient to the destination. If you are driving to a concert, a show, anything that has a critical time attached to it, increases the importance of the location, but even more so, whether car-parks are available at all. The last thing you want is to get stuck in traffic and then find that the big car park building outside your destination is full and you have to find another one.
In fact a research report I read recently (I can't remember the name, but if you can, please share it with me and our readers) suggested that a large percentage of urban traffic is people driving around (slowly) looking for a suitable car park. Of course like real time traffic information RTTI itself, car park availability is fluid, which is why there are now many car-parking information services both as apps, Changeable Message Signs and systems inside the car parks, showing if there are available car parks and where they are. As you will see in the Slideshare presentation above, there is also now more focus on being able to find EV electric vehicle charging car parks as well.
It will be interesting to see where HERE goes next because obviously the ownership determines the board, which determines the direction of the product and there are a number of huge players, new and old in the travel information and car navigation, multi-modal routing, location Point of Interest and service related industries. The fact that this story originates in the NASDAQ and is building up the value profile is interesting. I've postulated in other blogs as to the future of Nokia. Obviously they don't see it being in navigation and travel information.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I guess it's better than the Volkswagen Golf that came with a socket for your iPhone 4. The story says with all you have to do is own an Android Smartphone running Lollipop 5.0 and I'm already starting to go off buying a new car from Audi, GM, Chevrolet (unless it's a Corvette), Honda, Hyundai, Ford and a whole pile of other great brands; and plug a cable into the in-car USB port.
Plug in a cable? Are you serious? So I have to switch from iOS to Android permanently AND have the Smartphone physically tethered to the dash?
My mobile has Cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth comms. It communicates wirelessly to everything from my beanie, shower speaker, smartwatch, TomTom and a host of other devices. The only time it gets plugged in is to charge it or to back it up and update the firmware.
I hope the aftermarket solutions include a default wireless option. Oh and like the Volkswagen, what happens when Android Lollipop 5.0 is obsolete like my iPhone 4? Do I have to upgrade the software on my OEM or aftermarket Android Auto? I almost missed my flight home from Amsterdam this month because Volvo hadn't been able to provide a map update disk that included the changes to the streets around Schiphol airport and I am still running 4 year old maps in my NZ Siemens VDO navigation system. What happens in 10 years time if Android doesn't even exist any more?
The first commercial Android phone was only launched in 2008 and it can't be upgraded to the latest versions of software, just as I've been advised by Apple that I should not attempt to upgrade my 3 year-old iPhone 4 to the latest OS.
This might be a very good move for people who get a new company car and a new company phone every 2-3 years. It is also a very good move to encourage people to keep buying recent model used cars because people won't want to buy cars with old school navigation and communications systems that aren't compatible with the latest technology.
Possibly a smart move for car manufacturers, but is it a smart move for the consumer? Anyone out there with the Volkswagen iPhone 4 socket? How's it working with your iPhone 6?
Seriously, if someone could feed back to my blog I'm keen to know.
Greyhound Launches New Tool to Help Travelers Track Real-Time Location of Their Bus
Luigi Cappel's insight:
Now we're talking! Getting from A-B is not just about arriving. It's a journey made up of experiences. The choice of bus vs other modes of transport has to be compelling. Timeliness is one of the first things people think about. Will the bus arrive on time, will I get to the stop on time to catch it? Do I have time to grab a paper or refreshments?
Will it arrive at it's destination on time?
When I have picked my kids up from a long haul bus trip, I had no way of knowing other than ringing their mobiles to find out if they were going to be on time, whereas obviously a plane has a flight schedule online and on apps.
I've been involved in a number of location based application development competitions based on location based services, which you will know about if you have followed my blogs in the past. The big winner of the NZ Location Innovation Awards was an app called 'Where's My Bus?' That was a few years ago now and it was developed by a student in his graduation year who shared a frustration with his fellow students about whether he could rely on bus arrival times.
In recent times bus companies around the world are developing apps with features like this on it, some like the Auckland Transport Bus Apps https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/more-services/mobile-services/ not only tell you when the next bus is, but how to get to the bus stop, travel from one bus route to another but also counts down to the stop where you want to get off. I doubt there is anyone who hasn't been on a bus or train route where there hasn't been some anxiety about how close they were to their stop and hoping they hadn't missed it and gone too far. Apps like these remove a lot of the stress from using public transport.
Two other features which Greyhound have included, that a lot of potential future bus passengers have been saying might help them make a shift to public transport are free WiFi and USB charging points. This is starting to become more commonplace on rail and bus in different parts of the world.
Next time you hop on a bus, make a note of how many people are engaged in the cocooning world of their mobile phone or tablet. My experience in Auckland is that the ratio is around 3:1 of passengers who are using their mobile device. That is something they can't do when driving, however many still don't have sufficient data in their mobile accounts because of price, or power in the mobiles so this solves th problem and increases the perceived value of the mode. I hope Greyhound provides figures of uptake of those services and particularly the BusTracker app, now that they have introduced them on over 1200 buses and researches whether it has influenced new patronage..
Arnold Schwarzenegger talks exclusively about bringing his 'Terminator Genisys' voice to the Waze navigation app, a function users can select starting Monday.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
TomTom started it several years ago with a huge range of voices from John Cleese http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/shop/voices/john-cleese/ "You have arrived, I'm not going to carry your luggage for you" to local voices in the accent of your own country. They even had a competition in New Zealand to find the most Kiwi voice and sayings. TomTom voices include Darth Vader, The Simpsons, KITT from Knight Rider, Billy Connolly and Snoop Dog to name a few.
Now Waze is in on the act with Arnie. If it has more people aware of where they are going and what the traffic conditions are, I'm all for it. I do hope it is free, because I have to tell you that like all old jokes, it is funny for about a week, or until all your friends have heard it. As a draw card for Waze, it is up to them to ensure that new users then have a good experience with the routing and the information, because if not, they will be creating more people who say that it was kind of funny, but not very useful.
There are also those who say it is a mobile phone distraction. I would have to say that IMHO, someone who is getting instructions about traffic incidents and is able to route around them, even if they are laughing while they do it, could help reduce secondary accidents and congestion. It certainly hasn't been shown to ever be a factor with the many dozens of voices TomTom offer to their navigation users.
Let me know what you think when you've tried it?
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a new, promising scenario in the Networked Society. Will LTE evolution and 5G be able to tackle the technical cha...
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I've been having discussions with people lately about what visionary company Ericson will do given they are no longer a global leader in mobile phone devices. I still have a videotape of some of their predictions about 20 years ago, which are only now starting to become possible, which is an interesting coincidence having just commented on one of David Brin's blogs about how 20 years is not atypical from the time great concepts are thought of to the time some technologies start climbing out of Gartner's trough of disillusionment.
The idea of trucks slip-streaming and thereby reducing fuel consumpton enabled by ITS is great, as long as they can also all stop in time if the lead vehicle, which is hogging the visibility of what is in front of them doesn't have to break suddenly. Of course the vehicles are not only relying on many computers working perfectly, as well as normal components such as brakes, tyres, and running gear, but also the state of the lead truck driver's wetware (brain alertness etc).
There are standards being discussed, but until that happens, we have examples like Scania's and Volvo's that talk to each other, but are not compatible with other truck ITS systems.
This always happens with new technology as one company wants to own patents, all want a sustainable point of difference to gain or keep market share. Standards will develop and be mandated, but in the meantime, this nirvana of fuel efficiency and safety will be a way off.
Having just driven through several countries where trucks stay in the slower lanes on freeways except when they overtake, this concept can be great, however, in New Zealand there are no official passing lanes on motorways. This means that rows of trucks slip-streaming each other could legally be in any or all lanes and other motorists could suffer due to lack of visibility and the inability to over or undertake because of the closer following distances of trucks.
Channel 9 will be in court Friday when a Seminole County judge decides whether the man accused of shooting at George Zimmerman while driving in Lake Mary earlier this month will have to wear a GPS monitor.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
One of the weaknesses of GPS tracking people such as parolees or those on home detention is that often those entrusted with this work are under resourced and proximity or tamper alarms are not noted.
In this case the alert goes to the person who is trying to remain a safe distance away from a person who presents a threat to them. They have a far greater motivation, i.e. their personal safety, to be aware when someone who is a risk to them is close by. This therefore has a higher likelihood of success, assuming there is also additional support including:
-A panic button that allows them to call for help, dispatching a message to authorities identifying who they are, what the circumstances are and where they are, with the ability to communicate through the device. Of course this again relies on emergency services having the resources to receive and respond in a timely fashion.
-The ability to record a history of the location of both the victim and the person they are being protected from.
-Sufficient battery power to ensure it is fully charged when needed and that alerts are sent to the appropriate people when the devices need recharging, because the 'offender' is not necessarily motivated to take responsibility to keep the device charged. Note there are not a lot of portable devices with the capacity to hold a charge for more than a couple of days.
-Tamper-proof systems. We still hear stories almost daily of people who have removed their anklets, made it appear that they are working normally, when the offender is not wearing them as required, or have disabled them.
It seems to me that one of the biggest problems in this area as in common in many new technologies, is that there is insufficient collaboration amongst the users of these types of technologies, thus lessons learned are not shared and the same problems repeat themselves across the globe while many vendors are looking for a quick buck, and not pushing or in some cases even aware of extenuating circumstances. Purchasing and installing the hardware and software is the easiest part. Now what.
Shannon Coates is on the Timex Team and she now can add smart detective to her resume. Meet the Florida native who now resides in Portland.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
GPS Tracks down the thieves once again, but with a twist. This time it wasn't 'find my phone', but 'find my watch'. The catch with this is that the watch does have to have its own communication capability. Now please note, some watches rely on a Bluetooth connection to your phone, meaning if they are more than about 10 yards away from your phone this isn't going to work.
Spend a little more and get a phone that comes with a SIM card and you can now track your watch anyone in the world where there is cellphone connectivity. Also great if you are on a run or a ride, need help but aren't sure where you are (great if you are touring or going for a run on a beach, track or country road). All you need to do is advise emergency services, or the friend or family member that you share the Internet account details with, like you do with Where's My Phone. You do don't you?
This is something that most smartwatch owners wouldn't be aware of and on that basis most crooks wouldn't know either. The latter being a good thing, although they might be less inclined to steal the watch in the first place if they knew and the same for receivers of stolen goods.
So lucky Shannon gets her watch and belongings back and we get another great lesson in how GPS protects your valuables and another criminal faces the consequences of their actions.
5m ago @CallahanMusic_ tweeted: "Just a shout out to the people affected .." - read what others are saying and join the conversation.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
One of the great things about communities is how they rally together in times of need. Yesterday there were serious floods on the approaches and throughout the Wellington region (as well as Taranaki which had a tornado last night to add to the excitement). Hashtags, such as #WellingtonFlood (follow the link above) have popped up sharing information on Twitter in real time and the same has happened on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellington-Floods-2015-LIVE/835468579878342?ref=ts&fref=ts.
Whilst the roads are open, rail services have been cancelled because of slips and flooding, they will not be replaced with buses for safety reasons and the NZ Transport Agency is asking people to reconsider travel today if it is not essential in both Taranaki and the Wellington region.
Sites quickly popped up on Twitter and Facebook last night with hundreds of people and organizations offering accommodation and shelter for people who were unable to get home. Even the Wellington public library opened last night for people who were stuck after all of the hotels in town reported to be full.
Traffic Operations Control Centers, Contractors and Emergency Services have been working throughout the night and there are a wide range of services available from the NZ Transport Agency. These include regional Twitter and Facebook accounts, FREE email route and area alerts, webcams, traffic times, Highway Info pages advising road closures and much more. You can find information and links to these at http://nzta.govt.nz/traffic/current-conditions/index.html.
The Agency welcomes engagement on the real time traffic social media sites, including pictures and information you would like to share. The NZ Transport Agency has 7 Twitter pages and 5 Facebook pages providing information for the regions of New Zealand. http://nzta.govt.nz/about/contact/social-media.html
Most heartwarming to me were the many offers of help, people inviting total strangers into their homes, offers of free food from cafes and restaurants and other assistance. They don't have a lot of disasters in Wellington, although it is on the earthquake fault zone, but when they do, it is great to see the resilience and support of the community.
I have frequently blogged about readiness for disaster, especially around earthquakes https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/?s=earthquake and having emergency kits https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/?s=emergency+kit. The thing is that most people don't think it will happen to them. Then of course it does and access to even simple things like fresh drinking water can be an issue. For those who have been through this latest incident, it would be great for them to share what they ran out of, or what they needed. You might not want to invest in sandbags, but food, water, gas, torches, battery powered radio are a few examples of essentials. Are you ready?
Transport Minister Simon Bridges will promote New Zealand as a test bed for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and new investments through a range of meetings in the USA and Japan this week.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
This is great news. New Zealand used to be a centre of Excellence for many companies including telecommunications giants. We are mass early adopters of new technology. We love problem solving and we sure have enough to solve. In a world of increasing micro specialists, you still need people that can see and comprehend the big picture.That isn't as common as you might think.
ITS is an example of how important that is. Last year I attended an ITS conference and was very impressed with presentations of the comprehensive micro research into tiny aspects of transport technology problems and immediately understood how they applied. I was amazed at how much time and effort went into tiny elements of a problem, yet wondered if so much time went on micro detail, how would they have time to solve the larger problems. I'm totally sold on ITS itself. I read a law in a Scientific American Magazine on a flight home from a conference in London about 30 years ago quoting a law that you can't build motorways quickly enough to meet the demand, they open, they fill and cities grow. Unfortunately you still have to build them. The return on investment on managing problems with technology is however significantly higher than the return on building the necessary pavement.
We have many smart companies, a lot of whom you would never have heard of, doing amazing things with location based data, especially in areas like fleet management, who are now racing to other parts of the world because while New Zealand is a great country to develop concepts, it is a relatively small market for those companies to grow and prosper in. So names like Blackhawk, Navman, eRoad, International Telematics use the Kiwi smarts and then introduce the technologies to other parts of the world. They often solve problems that they weren't designed to solve because the Kiwi's were able to quickly adapt the concepts of the problem and the solution together. I've been fortunate to be involved in a number of those as Past President of the New Zealand Wireless Forum, Auckland ICT CLuster and in the ITS industry, the company that developed the highly accurate map data-set that is required for quality ITS solutions.
We have a small population where a large mass live in one sprawling city which is growing at a rapid pace, impacting on urban congestion. Then we have a large land-base with a small population, with significant climate impacts, such as snow and ice in winter and many areas which are subject to flooding and slips.You're likely to find every form of condition here.
We love innovation and the story used to be, if you want a society to test something new, take it to New Zealand. They will pick it up, understand it and adopt it very quickly if it is a good idea.If it fails, no one will even know you tried.
EFTPOS was a great success example. As any busker or street collector will tell you, not many people carry cash in New Zealand any more. When EFTPOS was launched, our banks and grocers collaborated and we had and maintained the highest use per capita in the world for many years.
Not only did we get it, but we very quickly learned how to solve the issues of trust between consumers and business and between technology companies, banks and business.
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Luigi Cappel's insight:
I have a blog called The Future Diaries http://thefuturediaries.com/, which has been latent for some time due to other priorities. I had been planning to write a blog which was going to tell the story that Uber had replaced drivers in some markets with fully autonomous cars. It seems they are way ahead of me.
Around the world public transport authorities and providers are not in a hurry to introduce driverless public transport. It is certainly economical and reliable at this point in time. Note I'm not saying autonomous. I'm talking about systems like the driverless airport terminal trains they have had at Narita in Tokyo and other airports in some cases for decades. They don't have a driver, but they also don't face hazards such a unknown roads or other vehicles that are not part of the network they operate on.
I'm talking about concepts such as small passenger vans that link up to each other on dedicated bus lanes and form a rail-less train, platooning on the side of motorways or other major routes.
I suspect that for Government, their transport agents and their insurers, this is perceived as too risky at this stage, given that this technology is still in its early days.
However if a company like Uber did it and worked together with Government and the industry to manage safety concerns and with a technology leader like Tesla, there may well be a way forward.
The cons are of course, it jeopardizes the work of a huge number of taxi drivers as do many innovations of scale.
-Tesla's are of course electric. In countries where electricity is green, this is a great Eco-friendly solution.
-Cost reduction in many areas including councils and government do not have to supply the vehicles, which are effectively a form of public transport.
-A user pay solution that has to fund an run from it's own resources.
-These vehicles could provide 'the last mile' transport taking people to public transport hubs. Something of an issue in many cities around the world, which are dealing with rapid growth.
-Tesla have open sourced their technology. This means that universities, DOT's, road safety engineers and others can all participate in the development of improving the quality of this technology and it need not be confined to just Tesla branded vehicles.
The taxi industry will have a major problem with this because it is a major work provider supporting everyone from the self employed and small business owners through to people who drive a cab as their second or even third job. This has always been an issue with technology replacing other jobs. I'm sure this type of initiative would in fact create new jobs and this is something that we also need to keep considering, but that is a topic for a future blog.
TULARE - Three area residents were arrested after Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies attached a GPS tracking device to a motorcycle that was stolen and hidden in a walnut orchard near Tulare.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I read stories about recovered items and arrests made due to GPS tracking all the time. People hide GPS units in everything from bicycles to hay bales and and pretty much anything of value. This story has a slightly different slant.
Police found a stolen motorcycle which was part of a heist, but no sign of the crooks and the rest of the home burglary takings. Instead of expending lots of staff to lie in wait and potentially spook the crooks, they put a GPS unit on the stolen motorcycle and monitored.
Before too long, the motorcycle was found to be on the move, albeit on the back of a Chevrolet pickup and three arrests were made.
Congratulations to the Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies who had the foresight to use GPS to save time and resources through the smart use of technology which resulted in locating both the crooks and the property and the evidence they needed to link them.
http://tiny.cc/76idux Click the link and get the 15% discount that Highster Mobile is having for it's mobile spy app. Best Mobile Tracker – Powerful cell phone ...
Luigi Cappel's insight:
It's very clear by the way this advertisement has been put together, that their target market is NOT keeping your children safe, or people who have health conditions that put them at risk, such that you might need to locate them. For example someone who could go into a diabetic coma.
The tagline is "They will NEVER know!"
As far as I know this is highly illegal in most countries without the knowledge of both parties, certainly for citizens to track each other. There has been a market for this type of technology for years and for people at risk, this is a real worry, for example marital disputes, situations where people are at risk from someone who means them harm and even from unscrupulous employers.
If people are being tracked for their own safety, which I fully endorse, such as emergency services, health or security people who visit clients in their own homes, people who work in hazardous situations, people on call or at risk children are good examples. But not only should those people have this technology, they should know they have it and have functions such as a panic button.
It's disturbing to me that given the illegality and inherent risk of abuse of this technology without approval of both parties, advertisements like this are allowed to be shown.
If anyone can buy this software or software like it, what can you do to protect yourself? Have a strong password on your mobile and don't let anyone else know what it is. So often I see something as simple as someone having a stranger enter their phone number on their mobile, 'to make it easier for them than doing it themselves'.
Maybe it's that hot guy or girl you recently met, but don't know from a bar of soap. What if they turned out to be a stalker? You have just given them your mobile and depending on your security settings, you've given them time to install their software and chances are it doesn't have an icon (or it looks benign) so you wouldn't even see it to wonder what it was.
In today's world where every mobile phone has a GPS device, there are risks. As I said, this advertisement was clearly not targeted at someone with a legitimate reason for installing the software, in fact quite the opposite. That means people are buying the software for nefarious purposes and this is another thing you need to be weary of.
I note the advertisement also shows they sell keyloggers and other technology. The same rules apply on your PC. Do you pay bills from your credit card or banking software? This technology is a simple way for a stranger to be able to access all of your credit card details, so they can start spending your money.They don't need to borrow or see your credit card if you use it online. They just need to copy what you are entering when you are buying something or paying a bill.
Want that stranger's phone number? Enter it into your phone yourself.
LEGACY Way’s $1.5 billion price tag will be justified or crucified on whether it can ease the peak hour crush for Brisbane thoroughfares such as Milton Rd, when it is put to the test for the first time this morning.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
Hasn't this been a long time coming! Awesome to see it finally opening. It will be interesting to see the element of user pay coming in, which is now a common way of making things happen, using public private partnerships or PPP.
I've seen a number of initiatives where customer's have definitely needed a service and used it in droves when it is free, but quickly lose support when they have to pay. I guess it will come down to how important people's time is. It is obvious for business, traffic congestion has an immediate impact on the bottom line, especially as more and more retail, manufacturing and service businesses focus on Just In Time. Everyone from retailers to factories keep costs down and efficiency up by having high stock turn. That means when stocks are too low and then don't arrive in time, their business hits failures which can become critical in no time flat. Those are the types of businesses which will gain real value from infrastructure like Legacy Way.
For the consumer, there needs to be a fine balance between user pays (especially when there are other options) or everyone pays. One way or another you pay anyway because if retailers and manufacturers are forced to hold more inventory, prices go up. If the user doesn't pay as in tolls, 3rd parties won't invest and give you the infrastructure when you need it, or your rates and taxes go up.
Your other option is to go and live in the country. Chances are if you read my blogs you live in an urban environment. What would you prefer, remembering that ultimately we pay for everything, either in an improved lifestyle or a less pleasant lifestyle, but we still pay. Ultimately in order for these initiatives to work, the infrastructure needs to be used.
We still seem to have a lot of people thinking it's us and the system. It's not. We are the system. We have the power to own and improve our destiny and we have the power to lower the quality of our lifestyle. We have the power to optimize our networks by the travel decisions we make and the information systems we use to base those decisions on.
I've been seeing a lot of research lately about what customers want from their transport networks and one of them is to understand what the options are that are available to us and what they cost us each individually. I know that it costs me a lot more to drive when I have to stop and start frequently than if I can drive consistently, even if it isn't as fast as I would like. I was taught that when I first learned to drive and the principle hasn't changed, The thing is that it is IMHO up to us to understand what that means to each of us. Those that don't like the toll, should do a study themselves. Fill up the tank at the beginning of the week, pay the tolls and fill up at the end of the week. The next week, don't take the tunnel and therefore don't pay the toll and see what the cost difference was. Oh and don't forget what the time factors are. A few minutes don't necessarily sound like much, but 4 minutes saving a day times an average of 222 days a year worked adds up to a fair bit. Do the math. What's your time worth?
Joint news release from ETSI and CEN, CEN and ETSI deliver first set of standards for Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS)
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I don't know how close the European cooperatives and the rest of the world, i.e. Asia Pacific and North America are aligned to this, but the signal is great news that after the original call in 2008, we are now looking towards agreed standards between motor vehicle manufacturers and OEM suppliers.
It looks like we are on the right track with manufacturers looking to common communications instead of leading marques having sophisticated systems that only talk to other vehicles of the same brand. However even the jargon is still different. Shouldn't we all be talking about car 2 car, or all talking about V2V? Are they the same thing? Does everyone understand the same thing? Surely the whole planet should be talking the same acronyms and the concepts should be the same, transcending brands, languages and continents?
It is great to know that a test route will be operating from Rotterdam to Vienna and we will watch with interest how this develops.
The big shift I'm looking for is rather than every car (and trucks which have different focuses) brand seeing an opportunity to get people to buy their brand because it has unique V2V and other ITS features, the entire group of motor industry, insurance and Governments can encourage people to invest in new smarter cars.
Phasing out the majority of old cars will provide economic growth and improve safety of all road users. Of course there also need to be aftermarket solutions, because to turn over even half the stock of new vehicles in the developed world will take around 15 years. We can't wait that long if we want to reduce crashes and save lives more quickly than that.
All in all, great albeit slow progress.
It’s high-tech and certainly controversial, but with the two prisoners from the Clinton Correctional Facility still on the lam an upstate senator says one way to track future escapees is to microchip them.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
If you have followed my blogs you will be getting an understanding that GPS tracking is not easy. You will find many stories about the needs and difficulties in tracking people with dementia, those who become disorientated due to diabetes or other conditions. You can find many stories here https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/?s=tracking+people
If only it was so easy. But then perhaps just as well that is isn't. I don't think many of us would want to live in the Brave New World where all humans were micro-chipped.
Consider what happens when you use your TomTom or your favorite mapping app on your mobile phone. The battery will be flat in a few hours unless it is plugged in to a power supply.
Very smart GPS tracking collars used for pets depending on whether they use always-on technology or smarter tech that activates when the animal is moving can extend battery life by up to 9 times.
Effectively a GPS subnormal implant for humans would need to be charged externally at least every few days if it is very expensive technology. There are probably significant health risks in doing this and from a correctional facility perspective, what are you going to do, chip all patients that are a flight risk and then have them line up for a daily battery charge while they have their breakfasts? On top of that they could pretty easily shield an implant during the time it took for the battery to drain.
The only technologies that currently work are RFID chips, which are like a mini radio station. External chips can have a range o up to a mile in open ground without interference. As you can read in my other blogs above, finding people entails Search and Rescue people walking around with directional yagi aerials. If they are out of range or not pointing in the right direction, they won't work.
The most common chipping method is the one we know of for tracking pets. These work because they are passive systems activated at extremely close range by a chip reader. The reader almost has to touch the skin were the chip has been implanted.
There is a real human need in the health industry for a technology that solves these problems as per my previous blogs and for the successful company this would be a goldmine. If it was easy to crack they would have done it.
In the meantime GPS anklets that are charged daily are the only viable option and a good option (with its own limitations). Given the number of Police involved in tracking dangerous offenders, it may be cost effective, if not intrusive to use anklet type technology and whilst it might only be useful for the first couple of days of a search, that might be enough to recover a high percentage of criminals, because even if it is eventually tampered with or removed, it can provide breadcrumb tracking up to that point.
I understand the frustrations, but whilst our technologies are amazing and we can track migratory birds and foxes, we can't yet easily track people who do not want to be found with GPS tracking technology.
Those who are afraid of a Huxley or Philip K Dick world where each person can be instantly located against their will, is a long way off yet.
'New era of aviation' requires management systems for safety, privacy.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I think this is a good space to contain this problem. Drones are going to be a huge safety problem. Most of them are not that smart and there appear to be very few laws in place around them for individuals, military or business use.
Whilst other aerial devices like blimps have garnered very little interest outside of sport, real estate and specialist photography, drones are already everywhere.
At Guangzhou Airport last week, a salesgirl was demonstrating drone toys with cameras inside the terminal, quite an appropriate place to show off that they can be low cost and user friendly. Take that drone into the air at that busy airport with no comms between it and the air traffic control tower and you have electronic seagulls waiting to be sucked into the jet engines of a Dreamliner about to get speed wobbles.
Did you know that last year Google were doing test flights of drone based deliveries in Queensland, Australia? Amazon now has permission from the FAA to test deliveries by drone in Seattle.
NASA is looking at all the considerations that need to take place for commercial use of drones and is hosting a conference next month together with the Silicon Valley chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Sorry didn't know they existed either.
So here's my concern and its the same one I had imagining the world of the Jetsons's coming to life. Imagine if each home had 2.5 flying cars! We struggle to contain traffic safely on the ground, but if they started hitting each other at 100 meter altitude, we couldn't even control where the rubble would land.
It's good to know that we aren't waiting for serious crashes to happen before we start thinking about the implications, but obviously there need to be some significant rules about who can use them, how they can be controlled, how they communicate with each other and an Air Traffic Control authority. There need to be rules about limits on toys including factors such as individual privacy; a naturalist friend recently found a crash landed drone in their backyard, perhaps the pilot didn't have enough hands.
I can see some great uses for drones such as to provide images to emergency at serious accident sites that don't have fixed cameras. It could save lives and help open roads more quickly. But if Dominoes started delivering pizza by drone and Amazon started sending some of its more than 3 million deliveries a day by drone (that's only two companies) and remember we are now talking drones that don't have a pilot, i.e. those would be autonomous devices, there isn't a pilot making adjustments for unexpected weather conditions or a building that wasn't on a map, we have some serious risks.
Compare those to some of the incidents I have raised in previous blogs about people blaming poor quality of car navigation maps, causing them to drive to incorrect locations, or even into rivers or lakes, what do you think the state of 3D urban mapping is like in your city, such that an unmanned, low cost device can simply be told, go to this place downtown, go down to street level and drop your payload on the back entrance of the building, then return to base by the fastest route. Then lets have a few hundred, being deliberately conservative, fly back to the same base t the same time, in gusty winds, an unexpected rain or hail front. The toys are pretty light and designed to be flown within line of site, but add in GPS, camera, communications, proximity detection systems, a payload and a few more toys you have a very interesting situation.
Have no doubts that all of these things are being tested, for NASA, DARPA and Amazon, the motivations and missions are different, but if they can get it right, it can change our world. I suspect in the very near world it will , but the right thing to do is to regulate the industry in conjunction with industry partners, before it self destructs in a flaming heap of rotors, gyros and your favorite pizza sauce. Acceptable risk does vary depending on the theater. There is big money and power behind these developments and one way or another, the cost benefit ratio means they will be competing for airspace somewhere near you.
Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/405194,nasa-plans-air-traffic-control-system-for-drones.aspx#ixzz3dFmlGx6s
GPS devices built specifically for truckers are growing in popularity, and it’s no surprise. Truck drivers spend most of their working day driving so it makes sense if they make their job as easy a...
Luigi Cappel's insight:
The freight industry has different needs and as this article points out, they have quite different problems to other motorists. This means that car navigation devices made for use in cars (there's something in that name) don't fully meet their needs.
So what is unique about trucks?
First of all they need to be able to complete their journeys if at all possible because most of the industries they provide freight too run on a Just In Time basis. That means all sorts of other parts of the value chain they support also stop. That could be a factory making electric fry pans, or bananas set to ripen on the day they arrive on the shelf in the supermarket, planned in an intricate schedule from the day the crop was purchased (before it was picked) in Equador. It could be the lettuce to go on your next burger; you get the point.
What do truck drivers tell us? It's noisy in the cab of a truck. They need to be able to hear instructions over the noise of the engine and breaks, over the music they use to stay awake and the chatter on the two way radio or CB.
They are an aging market (varies between countries but typically 45-65), but even if they weren't they need to be able to glance at a screen very quickly, so they need a big screen.
The navigation routes need to take into consideration legal and safety issues on the roads. For example overweight or over dimension loaded trucks can't go over some bridges, through some tunnels or on certain roads. This becomes particularly important when a major route is closed for maintenance or due to a crash. The diversions that the GPS navigation system provides, needs to know what roads they can or can't go on.
Most Fleet Management systems don't cater for navigation at all, other than route planning which is usually not done in the vehicle, but in the office of the Fleet Manager. Most car navigation systems do not support any unique data for large vehicles, including mobile homes, weather related information such as when snow chains are required, or other unique information such as truck stops or rest areas catering for those vehicles.
This exposes opportunities for both the car navigation and the fleet management companies. The numbers of units they can sell may be smaller and therefore the cost for the truck operators is higher, but the cost of getting it wrong, to the freight industry and their insurers and recovery support business is high.
Once a new road opens, people switch back to cars and congestion increases back to a steady-state point of gridlock. For lasting effectiveness, policy needs to include congestion charges and better rail services.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
It is very important that discussions like this are taking place. I don't believe there are simple answers. We have a lot of very clever people in the industry and if the answers were simple, we would simply apply them.
An interesting thing to me is that we still point fingers at institutions and not at ourselves. If road tolls work for example, it is because they force commuters and other road users to change their behavior by making the journey more painful. At that point they will look for a less painful solution such as changing their travel times or routes. Wouldn't it be great if business took advantage of new technologies and enabled their staff work to work from home one day a week, or truly adopt flexi time for those who don't need to be at work at exactly the same time every day?
What about rewarding people or companies for not driving at certain times, for behaviour change rather than penalizing them in the same way that insurance companies reduce premiums or offer Pay As You Drive insurance which recognizes you for not only the distance you drive, but also things like harsh braking and acceleration. What if companies got tax concessions for staff members that commuted outside of peal travel times?
One of the things that really annoys me is rubberneckers. The number of times I see heavy congestion on motorways that should be flowing freely, where people slow down to see an accident on the opposite side of the safety barrier. That has nothing to do with speed zones, amount of highway capacity or any form of politics, it is simply a behavioral problem caused by human curiosity. Here's the thing, this annoys everyone else too, but it is almost irresistible. It is our human nature and the reason we have fire and build structures and strive to learn and create more. Maybe we should have Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) such as fleet management and Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) systems that monitor our driving patterns and behavior, providing rewards by way of tax rebates, insurance rebates and other means. Insurances companies are already doing this with PAYD because it reduces their economic risk. We could start with a system funded in part by insurance companies, motoring associations and government. It could be mandatory with all cars and the cost could be refunded by way of rebates to people who drove according to the needs of the network. It's not just about the carrot or the stick, but also about education. We all know that a lot of the problem is the road and transport users themselves, but it's always the other guy isn't it?
Domino’s Pizza plans to recruit 3000 new delivery staff in Australia and New Zealand over the next six months as it rolls out GPS tracking of its drivers.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I had an idea years ago, which I blogged about which basically works on the premise that as long as people pay and both the delivery person and the customer had GPS, items like Pizza could be delivered anywhere, such as on the beach, in a park or domain. Effectively anywhere that the customer happens to be, where it is legal for the delivery person to be (consider mode of transport) and of course safe.
The article doesn't say how the tracking operates, but the obvious method, as used by Uber, Frog Parking and other peer to peer type systems is mobile phone with an application that knows where both parties are. A system installed in a vehicle doesn't make much sense where some of the time the delivery person is not in or on a vehicle. A smartphone app is all you need.
The app itself can also provide means of payment and the ability to monitor the delivery performance of the driver (did the pizza get cold because of the time of the route chosen, did they take the fastest route as provided by the app (which considered the mode of transport), did the customer stay on one sport, or move around at the last minute, making the delivery person have to hunt for them?
Note also, these systems aren't perfect yet. After a little over 3 weeks travel, my Where's My Car Pro app didn't like being turned on inside the airport building and took about quarter of an hour to properly orient itself and allow me to find my car, which I had parked in a hurry, knowing the app would find it for me on my return.
I'm hoping the app for Domino's was specified by a location based services specialist so that the many things that can happen in the course of ordering and successful delivery are taken into consideration. I see many examples of the wrong people being involved in the development of an app which has so much impact on customer satisfaction and brand. Uber and Frog Parking can both attribute their successes to a large degree to the quality of the apps.
These outdoor and camping apps can help you find a stellar place to camp, explore US parks, find a place to fish or do some stargazing.
Luigi Cappel's insight:
I would have loved this list when we did our USA road trip 3 years ago. There was good information on the ranger stations, but to be able to point my phone at the Pharr Mounds on the Natchez Trace, or to be able to get the historic story of the Civil War reenactments that we passed driving through Tennessee would have been awesome.
Most of the information I could find was in the style of old school maps and charts, but when you are exploring a 444 mile route through 3 States, more info would have been awesome. I was thinking there should be an app, but this link gives you a list of useful apps for your outdoor experience, based on your interests. Feels like America is growing up. Check these out if you are going to do a road trip.
If you'd like to know what I learned about apps and finding your way around on a US road trip, check out this link for everything you need. https://luigicappel.wordpress.com/?s=road+trip&submit=Search
A troubling lawsuit coming out of California alleges that a woman was fired from her job after she uninstalled an app that her employer requested all employees had to download. The troubling aspect...
Luigi Cappel's insight:
This story is doing the rounds at the moment because of the pending lawsuit and because of the pending lawsuit don't want to get into detail about this specific case.
What I do want to have out in the open is that there are employers monitoring their staff. There are good reasons in many cases and there are situations where there should be more of it. For example field health personnel such as midwives or nurses who visit people in their homes, justice department employees who visit people in their homes, Police and other emergency services.
Applications where people opt in for their personal security, health and safety make a lot of sense, but people should have a choice in this. It is one thing to track a business vehicle, often these come with benefits and responsibility.
However tracking people without their permission when they are off duty is not appropriate. Tracking them without their knowledge also concerns me. In the past I met with high profile businesses who specifically wanted a solution because they did not trust their staff and were prepared to buy workforce automation software, not for tracking business, but to make sure their staff weren't taking unapproved time off. I had and have a problem with that.
It will be interesting to see what comes of this lawsuit, irrespective of the specific claim. When it is a system that tracks a company vehicle, that's fine with me. When it tracks a person based on the location of their mobile and they are tracking what that person does in their personal time AND they don't have the right to refuse it, that denies them of basic rights and as appears to be alleged in this case, creates a risk of abuse of that information.
What do you think?