|Good morning || October 3, 2019|
Leading the News
NHTSA Says It Is Aware Of Near Accidents Involving Self-Driving Teslas In New “Smart Summon” Mode
Reuters (10/2, Shepardson, Sharma) reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday it is aware of and investigating reports of Tesla vehicles being involved in collisions or near collisions following the introduction of the so-called “Smart Summon” feature in the latest software update, which allows users to “use a phone app to summon the vehicle in a parking lot” less than 200 feet away. In a statement, NHTSA said it “is aware of reports related to Tesla’s Summon feature” and is “in ongoing contact with the company and we continue to gather information.” CNBC (10/2, Kolodny) reports “other Tesla Autopilot features were engaged during at least three fatal U.S. crashes.” Two of those “remain under investigation by the NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”
Roadshow (10/2, Szymkowski) reports to Tesla’s credit, “the automaker did explicitly note where and when the beta feature should be used.” In the V10 software release notes, Tesla writes, “Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways.” According to Roadshow, “Numerous videos posted to social media show owners using the feature in crowded parking lots with other cars and pedestrians.”
Bloomberg (10/2, Hull) reports that under NHTSA’s safety rules, “companies don’t need permission from the agency to introduce new systems on vehicles that otherwise comply with federal auto safety standards.” This also applies to “newer systems that automate part of the driving task.” In Tesla’s home state of California, the Department of Motor Vehicles “concluded that Summon doesn’t meet its definition of autonomous technology, meaning it isn’t subject to the agency’s self-driving regulations.”
The story was reported similarly by Gizmodo (10/2, McKay), Jalopnik (10/2, Torchinsky), Inside EVs (10/2, Ruffo), the San Jose (CA) Mercury News (10/2, Sumagaysay), Forbes (10/2, Ohnsman), and Wired (10/2, Marshall).
University Of Oregon To Get NSF Grant To Research Earthquake Effects On Electrical Grid
The Columbia Press (10/3) reports the National Science Foundation has awarded a $433,792 grant to Oregon State University “to research how large earthquakes, like those that could strike the Cascadia Subduction Zone, would affect the western electrical grid.” The project is titled, “Earthquake Resilience of the Western Power Grid.”
Editor-in-Chief Search for Advances in Engineering Education
ASEE is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Editor‐in‐Chief for the journal Advances in Engineering Education. The anticipated start date for this volunteer position is July 1, 2020, with applications due this fall. Learn more here.
Engineering Technology Leaders Institute
“Engineering Technology: Connecting, Building & Maintaining Relationships” is the theme of this year's meeting, October 10-11, in Alexandria, VA. The meeting convenes engineering technology educators, industry leaders, and government officials. Learn more.
Research and Development
Project Seeking To Reduce MR Scan Times To 15 Minutes Or Less
Nan-kuei Chen, associate professor of biomedical engineering and member of the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona, writes at DOT Med News (10/1), “Using more than $2.1 million in funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, I’m leading a team of University of Arizona researchers in developing faster MR technologies to accommodate challenging patient populations,” with a goal of reducing scan times “to around 15 minutes or shorter, depending on a patient’s condition.”
New Jersey STEM Scholars Program Seeks To Immerse STEM Talent In State’s STEM Economy
NJBIZ (NJ) (10/2, Hutter) reports, “The Governor’s STEM Scholars Program held its first symposium of the academic year on Sept. 28 hosted by Rutgers University-New Brunswick.” The program “is designed to immerse the top STEM talent in grades 10 through the doctoral level in New Jersey’s vast STEM economy and bolster the state’s education and career pipeline.”
NSF Grant To Help Business-Higher Education Forum Develop Partnerships For STEM Professionals Skills
Education Dive (10/2, O'Donnell, Tornone and Busta) reports the National Science Foundation has awarded a $1 million Convergence Accelerator grant to the “Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) – along with Business Roundtable and the Greater Washington Partnership’s Capital CoLAB...to develop partnerships for reskilling and upskilling STEM professionals.”
West Virginia County Career Center To Receive Robotic Arm For Training
The Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch (10/3, Nash) reports the Cabell County Career Technology Center will receive a $109,425 robotic arm, to be “paid for by the state through the West Virginia Department of Education’s Robotic Arm Grant.” With the arm, “both high schoolers and adults” can “become certified on the device, which is an exact model of those used at the Toyota Manufacturing Plant in Buffalo, West Virginia.”
Boeing Engineer Filed Internal Complaint Over Max Jet Development
The New York Times (10/2, Kitroeff, Gelles, Nicas) reports senior Boeing engineer Curtis Ewbank “filed an internal ethics complaint this year saying that during the development of the 737 Max jet the company had rejected a safety system to minimize costs.” Ewbank said in the complaint, given to the Justice Department as part of a criminal investigation into the design of the jet, that he felt the equipment “could have reduced risks that contributed to two fatal crashes.”
IBM Develops UAV Technology For Natural Disasters
Popular Mechanics (10/2, Linder) reports that IBM Developer Advocate Pedro Cruz has created a “drone-based tech to save lives in natural disasters” after living through Hurricane Maria. Dubbed DroneAID, the open source tool utilizes “visual feeds from drones to mark areas where people immediately require emergency services.” DroneAID detects and counts “SOS messages on the ground, fed by data from live drone feeds overhead.” The technology is “powered by IBM’s AI powerhouse, Watson,” which assisted Cruz in training “his machine learning models, which took a few iterations to get just right.” The system is “now ready to use, and any time a drone detects...UN humanitarian symbols, it creates a digitally generated map with icons showing where victims need help, as well as the severity of each situation.”
Arizona Professor Urges New York City To Encourage Vertical Farming
Joel Cuello, vice chair of the Association for Vertical Farming and professor of biosystems engineering at the University of Arizona, writes in the New York Daily News (10/1) that “a significant portion of New York City’s fresh vegetables are sourced from California and Arizona,” contending that the distance “leads to considerably diminished food freshness, food waste through spoilage, significant long-distance transport energy expenditure and substantial greenhouse gas emissions.” He recommends “vertical farming...as a potent antidote to the city’s notably burgeoning food miles by growing and offering fresh produce locally.” He also says that because of controlled lighting, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration, “the growth, yield and quality of crops in vertical farms are consistently much higher than in open-field cultivation.” He cites a number of vertical farms already in the city, but adds, “we need many more.” He concludes by stating that in “big cities around the world, the future of food is decidely vertical and circular. Let’s seize it.”
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Advertiser Supplied Content
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Survey Finds Voters Say Top Goal Of K-12 Is Reading And Writing
The Washington Times (10/2, Vondracek) reports a RealClear Opinion Research survey of 2,014 likely voters conducted September 20 to 24 found, “More than 80% of Americans say the top goal of K-12 students should be learning to read and write.” Other high priorities participants identified were “American history,” “the workforce.” and safety.
Kentucky Group awards STEM Grants To Schools
The Paducah (KY) Sun (10/3) reports, “The Calvert City Community Advisory Team awarded $5,582 in science, technology, engineering and math mini-grants to five schools in Marshall and Livingston counties.” The grants will be used “to purchase STEM-related educational equipment to enhance their regular educational curriculum.”
New Jersey High School Receives $5,000 Gift For Engineering/Construction Technology Lab
Tap Into New Jersey (10/3, Ballantine) reports Lodi High School in Lodi, New Jersey “was awarded $5k for its new Technology Lab” after “Great Clips, Inc. donated $5,000...as part of the company’s nationwide Back-to-School campaign.” The money will be used to “help augment the new Engineering/Construction Technology Lab, offering the students multiple opportunities and resources to prepare them to pursue advanced degrees in the engineering field as well as the hands-on skills to pursue careers in the construction industry.”
Also in the News
Survey: UK Motorists Don’t Trust Self-driving Cars
The Daily Mail (UK) (9/30) reports “motorists in the UK are not trusting enough to surrender control to self-driving cars, a survey has revealed.” The AA survey “found fewer than a quarter of drivers would be willing to take their hands off the wheel in a vehicle designed to control itself.” Meanwhile, “two thirds of people said they still enjoy driving and the president of the AA said drivers should be made to feel a part of advances in the industry.” The AA “found that while many people see the benefits, such as improved mobility for the elderly and disabled, the cultural attachment to cars is stronger than technology and the issue of trust in autonomous vehicles remains a concern.” Specifically, “only a quarter of drivers (23 per cent) in a poll of 21,039 people indicated they would trust a vehicle to drive itself while they were in it.”
Wednesday's Lead Stories
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