Light Start – Ford’s eyesight, Tesla easter egg, the Flyboard, and Kepler’s recovery

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Ford’s LIDAR vehicles have pretty effective night vision

Ford NightvisionIf you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed that motor vehicles are getting smarter. A lot smarter, verging on the point where they’re going to be driving themselves. But there are still challenges to create a retail-ready self-driving car and eyesight is one of those things. Several of the test vehicles at present use optical sensors. Which is fine and great, as long as road markings are prominent and visibility is clear – which is why California is such a popular test destination. But Ford are taking things to the next level, saying in the release of their night-testing results that their LIDAR-equipped vehicles perform just as well as in daylight. There are still caveats to be had though – the LIDAR needs to be combined with excellent area mapping. So… don’t expect this in SA any time soon.

Source: via Ars Technica

The Tesla was already a smooth drive, now it’s time for Rainbow Road

So you’re  lucky enough to own a Tesla, are you? First: We hate you. Second: Elon Musk has some instructions for you. If Tesla drivers activate Autopilot four times “in quick succession” they will access something he calls “psychedelic cowbell road”. Which bears a striking resemblance to Nintendo’s Rainbow Road from Mario Kart. Not that we’re complaining. Or, and it actually plays the cowbell noise. And there will be more cowbell coming later. Gee, we wonder what it could be…?

Source: Richard Middleton (YouTube)

Please be real, please be real, please be real…

FlyBoard is a jetski-powered aquatic hoverboard, capable of some mighty impressive stunts. Plus, it basically flies. But then there’s FlyBoard Air, which we severely hope is the real thing. Since the board is being ridden by Franky Zapata, we’re fairly certain that the FlyBoard Air is a thing. As far as hoverboards go, it looks like the real deal. Zapata looks to be wearing a backpack for fuel and the board is powered by turbine, with a fuel line running up his leg. It’s got a theoretical top speed of 150km/h and a ceiling of 10,000 feet – but we’re pretty sure that you need a pilot’s license for that. It hasn’t been tested to those extremes either – low and safe for now, it seems.

Source: FlyBoard (YouTube)

NASA resurrects Kepler Space Telescope after emergency mode problem

keplertelescopeThe world’s hunt for Earth-like replacements almost came to an untimely end when the Kepler Space Telescope switching itself into ’emergency mode’, for a reason that hasn’t been identified yet. Our money’s on an alien poking around where they shouldn’t have been. Over the weekend NASA were able to recover the craft, switching it back into operation. That’s quite the feat when they’re communicating with a piece of hardware that is 75 million miles away. Fixing grandad’s PC over the phone doesn’t seem so hard any more. NASA have downloaded the data from Kepler and are looking for the emergency mode cause. The space agency are still considering whether to set Kepler back to ‘science’ but they have until 1 July to do that. Space deadlines, you know?

Source: via The Verge

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