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First Self-Driving, 3D-Printed Smart Bus Hits the Streets of Washington, DC
Olli, created by Arizona-based Local Motors, officially hit the streets of the nation's capital Thursday. Using an app similar to Uber or Lyft, ride-seekers can order the bus to pick them up and drop them off at their destinations of choice.
Photo credit: Local Motors
“Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue," John B. Rogers Jr., Local Motors CEO and co-founder, said.
Local Motors teamed up with IBM Watson Internet of Things, making Olli the first vehicle to have the capability to analyze and learn from transportation data. The self-driving bus is equipped with 30 sensors that collect the data, allowing it to make quick decisions, according to Local Motors. Sensors will be added and adjusted to fit passengers' needs and local preferences.
“Olli with Watson acts as our entry into the world of self-driving vehicles, something we've been quietly working on with our co-creative community for the past year," Rogers said.
Using IBM Watson technology, the bus will be able to answer questions about how it works, where it is going and how it makes decisions, Local Motors said. Passengers will also be able to ask Olli about destinations, such as "Olli, can you take me downtown?"
Local Motors claims Olli can even answer questions about recommendations of local destinations and historical sites.
"Cognitive computing provides incredible opportunities to create unparalleled, customized experiences for customers, taking advantage of the massive amounts of streaming data from all devices connected to the Internet of Things, including an automobile's myriad sensors and systems," Harriet Green, general manager of commerce and education for IBM Watson Internet of Things, said.
Olli has a unique assembly process. Parts of the self-driving bus are created at local 3D printing shops, Inhabitat reported. The parts will be assembled at Local Motors sites.
“We hope to be able to print this vehicle in about 10 hours and assemble it in another hour," Rogers said.
Local Motor's long-term plan is to establish hundreds of micro-factories across the globe, which will produce Ollies designed for local needs. The company has micro-factories—which uses less space, energy and materials—in Berlin, Germany; Chandler, Arizona; Knoxville, Tennessee; and a new one in National Harbor, Maryland.
Despite being just officially introduced, Local Motors is working with dozens of cities in at least 50 countries who are interested in the technology, according to Inhabitat.
The original Olli will stay at Local Motors' Maryland facility for the summer. Interested members of the public can interact with the vehicle at select times throughout the season.
Additional Ollies will be built at the company's headquarters near Phoenix.
Watch Local Motors' video about Olli:
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By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.