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Daily Authority: Cruise takes SF

Cruise gets the green light in San Francisco, no Elon Musk to be seen...
By
June 3, 2022
cruise robotaxi SF 1
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

Good morning! Read on for optical fiber magic.

Cruising in SF

Robotaxis are really here! Cruise, the autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors, now has approval to offer a passenger service in San Francisco.

  • The deal is they can only do 30mph (48km), and operate between 10 PM and 6 AM, in an expanded zone of SF though thats only a rough map.
  • Cruise has been offering free driverless rides in its Chevrolet Bolts but now it can charge for the services: paying the robot to take you from A to B.
  • Theres a fleet of 30 cars allowed.
  • Cruise told TechCrunchit currently offers driverless rides for members of the public in about 70% of the city.
  • Cruise becomes the first and only autonomous vehicle company in the city to operate commercially.
  • MIT robotics professor Rodney Brooks wrote a blog post this week about his experience, basically saying good things but added: 如lease dont make the mistake of thinking that an MVP means that mass adoption is just around the corner. We have a ways to go yet, and mass adoption might not be in the form of one-for-one replacement of human driving that has driven this dream for the last decade or more.

So, Cruise marches ahead. Whats up with the rest of the industry? The competition:

  • Waymo has similar approvals in SF but still needs to have a human safety operator present, even if theyre not doing much, but has more freedom in Arizona, where it is operating like Cruise in a city near Phoenix.
  • Zoox, an Amazon subsidiary, is also fixated on San Francisco and has a custom-designed vehicle it showed off recently but isnt at this level yet.
  • Argo, backed by Ford and VW, is operating in Austin and Miami with a service limited to employees.
  • Tesla is beta testing its software on cars people own and still not using Lidar.
  • Elsewhere and less robotaxi, Mercedes-Benz is selling self-driving vehicles in Germany, though the real detail is conditionally automated driving, with it only able to be used in what essentially is low-speed points of highways, such as in traffic.
  • In Japan, Honda was granted approval by the government for its Honda Sensing Elite, self-driving tech back in March 2021, but is only leasing vehicles to customers. That is still mostly limited to traffic on highways as well.
  • And Intels Mobileye division, based in Israel, was at last check still set to IPO despite current stock market woes.

Roundup

Diablo Immortal launch stalls on Exynos chips: weird bugs that Blizzard is working on fixing (Android Authority).

These FCC docs show the Oppo rebranding process OnePlus refuses to talk about (Android Authority).

Amazon finally launches an invite system for buying a PS5 or Xbox Series X (Android Authority).

Googles new Wi-Fi service expands coverage, eats into your data cap (Android Authority).

Sonys latest State of Play: Street Fighter 6, Final Fantasy XVI, new PC ports, and teases of PlayStation VR2 (Ars Technica).

Netflix is finally taking a page from the rest of Hollywood: new plan to make bigger movies at a less gluttonous pace, and less vanity projects like The Irishman (The Verge).

Toyotas prototype cartridge is a way to make hydrogen portable (Engadget).

My buddy TechAltar has a good view on batteries in smartphones: Why batteries have improved, but why battery life isnt a lot different, and what the next battery breakthrough might be (YouTube).

NASA just bought the rest of the space station crew flights from SpaceX: five more makes 10 SpaceX crewed flights, plus six with Boeing, all the way through to 2030 (Ars Technica).

Dogs can smell COVID infections in patients, with as much accuracy as a PCR test. Whats stopping us from building a machine that smells the patients and detects it as well, if not better, than a dog? (r/askscience). (The short answer is that its really, really, really difficult.)

Friday Fun

hand plugging fiber cable into switch in

Giddy up! Gizmodo reports researchers in Japan just set a new fiber optic data transmission record:

  • Using a multi-core fiber optic cable, data was sent at a speed of 1.02 petabits per second over a distance of 51.7km.
  • Thats the equivalent of sending 127,500 GB of data every second.
  • Or: 10 million channels of 8K broadcasting per second. Crazy.
  • Even better: It is a technique thats compatible with existing cable infrastructure, meaning a real-world implementation is entirely possible, and not just limited to a laboratory setting.
  • The only catch is the fibers themselves are the limit: the transceivers can handle it, but new glass would need to be laid down, so its not quite plug-and-play, exactly. But still.

Now all of that is fun, but please, lets take a moment to enjoy this completely alien list of words from the study:

  • In this experiment, by broadening the Raman amplification bandwidth to the full S-band and using customized thulium-doped fiber amplifiers (TDFAs) for S-band and extended L-band erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs), we were able to use a record 20 THz optical spectrum with total of 801 x 25 GHz spaced wavelength channels, each with dual-polarization-256 QAM modulation for high spectral density in all wavelength bands.
  • Thulium! Raman amplification! Erbium! Great great stuff here.

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.